By Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson
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Additional resources for A Race So Different: Performance and Law in Asian America
Art brings it closer. ”77 Felman acknowledges a need for the law but figures the law as that which “encloses” a traumatic event in the past. She suggests that art’s function is to provide a closer proximity to such events, arguing that it is in the “slippage between law and art” that traumatic memory is negotiated. On this latter point, we are in agreement—it is in the slippage between law and aesthetics that real cultural work can be done to rectify past injustices. But to accept a definition of introduction / 23 the law as “a discipline of limits and of consciousness” is to displace the slippery, “situational,” and performative nature of the law.
M. 14 The play’s literary merits are less impressive than its historical and cultural significance, and it was a success primarily because of Belasco’s trademark technological innovation. The production received rave reviews and wowed audiences with its incorporation of emergent visual technologies made possible by the shift from gas to electric lighting. Belasco fused novel design elements with extreme naturalist conventions to produce an air of authenticity, convincing audiences that they were seeing an accurate representation of Japan and Japanese femininity.
In some ways, constitutional and statutory law, as well as administrative policy, is not unlike a dramatic text. Just as Lidless does not become a performance until the script is given a production, the executive memo “straight from the top” only becomes law in its fullest sense when an agent of the law (Alice) enacts it. ”68 The law should thus be properly understood as the union of performance and performativity. 20 / introduction The law has become no less theatrical in the transition from monarchial sovereignty to popular democracy.