Liminal Women: Diamanda Galás' Plague Mass as a work of Death Midwifery
Abstract: The United States AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s was a complex space for activism due to its dual nature as a politicized social justice movement and a bona fide public health crisis. To be effective, activist work needed to address the political discrimination that led to the disease's spread, while also acknowledging the ubiquitous nature of the illness. Composer and performer Diam... read moreanda Galás, known for her involvement in the AIDS activist movement, successfully carries out this work by creating a musical persona that resists definition and continually occupies liminal spaces of being. Her 1990 protest piece Plague Mass performs effectively as an activist work because of the ways in which it embraces the liminal. This thesis analyzes the indefinable, in-between aspects of Plague Mass through a gendered lens; in particular, it traces Galás's legacy back through historical moments in which women, through their association with the liminal, have been tasked with caring for the dead and dying.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2017.
Submitted to the Dept. of Music.
Advisor: Stephan Pennington.
Committee: Joseph Auner, and Peggy Hutaff.
Keyword: Music.read less