The first is an ethnographic book manuscript based on her doctoral research. It investigates activism at the intersection of public health, biomedical, and arts sectors. In particular, it highlights burgeoning relationships between social justice, health, and creative forms of violence in contemporary South Africa.
In it, she analyzes how performance practices are used by artists and their audiences to challenge normative ideologies, which pervade historical and contemporary South African HIV/AIDS policy. She argues that such ideologies constitute a socially harmful form of state power that actively discourages imaginative engagement with diversity in human experience.
To explore this assertion, Jessica develops a theoretical framework that attends specifically to global and national processes undermining people’s imaginative capacities through social, structural, and political means.
Speaking to emerging debates around cultural production, she illustrates how artists use performance as a form of health activism to bolster audience members’ reflective, imaginative, and empathic capacities within national disruptions in social justice. A book prospectus has been completed for this project.