Charles Batson

Charles R. Batson, Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Union College in Schenectady, NY, holds a PhD from the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana.  He teaches courses in performance studies, theater, dance, Québec studies, and contemporary French and Francophone literatures and cultures.  He has won the College’s Stillman Award for Excellence in Teaching and collaborates regularly with the Theatre and Dance Department in its courses and performances. Batson’s interest in circus grows from his earlier work on the multi-disciplinary performances in Paris in the 1910s and 1920s.  That work has been published in several venues, including his book Dance, Desire, and Anxiety in Early Twentieth-Century French Theater (Ashgate, 2005), and it includes traces Jean Cocteau’s celebration of the category-shifting aesthetics of the Parisian arts, including the circus.  Batson is currently exploring the multi-arts scene of contemporary Montreal as a site where theater, dance, and circus have come to inform and influence each other.  His specific interests lie in the boundary-crossing foundational moments of the 1980s and also in what might be called the second generation of Québécois circus, particularly the 7 Doigts de la main.


Circus research related academic papers

  • “'Bêtes de scène':  Robert Lepage’s Totem, Circus, and the Freakish Human Animal.”  20th- 21st Century French and Francophone Studies International Colloquium.  San Francisco.  30 April – 2 May 2011.
  • “Cirque is not just Cirque du Soleil:  The Sept Doigts de la Main and Québécois Contemporary Performance.” American Council for Québec Studies.  Burlington, VT.  4-7 Nov 2010.
  • “From Street to Stage and Back:  Québec’s Performance Culture and the Cirque Nouveau.”  Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association.  New Orleans, LA.  8-11 April 2009.

Circus research related talks

  • “Les 7 Doigts de la Main and their Cirque:  Origins and Resistances.” Meeting of Circus Research Group (sponsored by Concordia U), held at National Circus School, Montreal, 13 June 2011.
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cirque circus group


Members of the group are regular collaborators engaged in an ongoing conversation. They regularly attend Working Group meetings in Montreal or elsewhere and are expected to give at least one talk a year or to act as respondents to colleagues' papers.


Graduate Students

Regular participants, working with Working Group members or working on circus-related scholarly topics:

  • Dr. Tracy Zhang
    post-doctoral fellow, Concordia University; supervisor Norma Rantisi
  • Joanna Donehower
    doctoral candidate, PhD in Humanities, Concordia; supervisor: Louis Patrick Leroux
  • Lyn Charland
    doctoral candidate, PhD in Humanities, Concordia; supervisor: Louis Patrick Leroux
  • Sue Proctor
    MA in SIP, Concordia; supervisor: Louis Patrick Leroux
  • Johanna Tzountouris
    MA, Laval University
  • Katie Lavers
    PhD Candidate through WAAPA (Edith Cowan University, Australia)


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