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Department News - Fall 2013

Tufts alum, Joel Perez, performs in "Fun Home"
Tufts alum, Joel Perez, performs in "Fun Home" at the Public Theater (New York, NY). Show extended through December 1, 2013.
The New York Times says Fun Home is "a beautiful heartbreaker of a musical."
Read more >

The New England Theatre Conference, Inc. (NETC)
The New England Theatre Conference, Inc. (NETC) is holding its 62nd Annual Convention, "Beyond First Impressions: Diversity and Multiculturalism in the Performing Arts" on October 25 and 26, 2013 at the Hampton Inn Executive Conference Center in Natick, MA. Hank Zappala, 2013 Convention Chair, has announced a sample of the scheduled programming for Saturday, October 26. Please note the Tufts presenters highlighted below. Learn more >

3rd Annual Tufts Graduate Humanities Conference was on October 18, 2013
Learn more >

Tom Baer, A'57
Film producer Tom Baer
(A57), whose credits include All of Me (1984) and Deep Cover (1992), visited the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies on October 3 to speak with faculty and students in our annual "Meet the Producer" event.

RENT twenty years later: Talking about diversity
As RENT celebrates its 20th anniversary, it remains a show that invites audiences to re-think their understanding of what constitutes "diversity." When RENT debuted as a staged reading in 1993 and on Broadway in 1996, audiences and critics seized on the most visible kinds of diversity represented in that New York production: the racial diversity of the original cast and the transgender diversity represented in the character of Angel. Indeed, "diversity" is a term that has historically been associated with the most visible kinds of differences -- those of race or gender. But to consider diversity only in those terms overlooks the critical kinds of "invisible" diversity that enrich our community, whether in a university setting or beyond. RENT addresses this too through the issues of AIDS and homelessness. As healthy bodies appear alongside those infected with HIV, and as homeless bodies appear alongside those well-fed and safely sheltered, they challenge the spectators to discern among a seeminglysimilar population of New Yorkers which ones face the discrimination that all too often attaches to individuals struggling with disease, addiction, or poverty.

The challenge of defining diversity extends across the Tufts community as well. For example, looking across a roomful of students clad in jeans and t-shirts, who can immediately pinpoint an individual's sexual orientation, religious faith, economic background, or family situation?

When we impose our assumptions on other members of our community, we not only reveal our own inherent biases, we undermine the root meaning of the word diversity, which encompasses the notion of turning -- as in turning from the one to the many, turning from the familiar to the strange. "Googling" a definition of diversity on the internet yields over fifty-three million hits. We hope that our production of RENT, re-considered twenty years after its original presentation, will invite audiences to turn their attention to the millions of definitions and possibilities inherent in the word "diversity."

Additional Resources:

The Tufts community engages consistently with definitions of diversity and its meaning in higher education and the campus experience. What follows below is by no means a complete list, but offers some useful links for those interested in learning more about current campus initiatives, alumni activities, campus discussions, and upcoming events: