We tell ourselves stories in order to live…We live entirely…by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the "ideas" with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience. — Joan Didion
My scholarship and creative work most often stems from a curiosity about the stories that we humans tell ourselves—through fiction, drama, performance, film, politics, and even the practices of history and scholarship. Exploring how these stories reveal patterns about our relationships to the world is both an engaging and rewarding experience for me. Additionally, I see those patterns and relationships as both cultural and material. Cultural in that language, cognition, and even one’s sense of self are never beyond human social institutions. Material in that the cultural is always rooted in bodies, objects, and physical phenomena like sound and vision, gravity, and neuronal activity. This is the foundation that provides the connection between my seemingly disparate research interests. From tracing topological similarities between Butoh and live zombie performances to studying the Fell's Point Ghost Tour, writing on feminism in musical theatre or film, studying the ways cognitive science can illuminate aspects of avant-garde reception, or doing archival research on the Living Theatre, I continually return to the ways in which our stories and our performances define our very selves.
I have presented papers at the ACA/PCA National Conference, the Mid-America Theatre Conference, and the Comparative Drama Conference. My publications include “Back(lash) Into the Woods: Putting Women Back in Their Place” in Text & Presentation, “Behind the Bars: Performance Review of the Living Theatre’s The Brig,” in PAJ, and “Redressing Ripley: Disrobing the Female Hero,” in Meanings of Ripley: The Alien Quadrilogy & Gender.
I am also the audio producer for PodCastle, a weekly fantasy fiction podcast. In addition to this website, I have also designed several other sites and you can see more of my design work at design.petercwood.com.