From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

Disattivare le trappole del tempo: Traps di Caryl Churchill; o, cosa è rimasto del femminismo nelle temporalità queer



This contribution aims at investigating the short circuits between the legacy of Euro-American feminism and contemporary queer (and postcolonial) disruptions of modern, “universal” temporalities. To do so, it will start from an arguably marginal locus of interpellation: Traps (1977), a minor play by Caryl Churchill, one of the most acclaimed British playwrights of the second half of the twentieth century. While Churchill’s signature anti-naturalism features time manipulation as a constant of her work, Traps addresses hegemonic institutions such as family relations and procreation to unravel the network of “traps” that takes hold of a human being from birth to death. Arguably an “impossible” play, Traps also embodies the impossible but recognizable legacy of the political movements of the time that are traceable in contemporary theories on chronocentrism and queer temporalities. From Elizabeth Freeman’s “chronopolitics of development” to Elizabeth Grosz’s “nicks of time” and Jack Halberstam’s “queer time and space”, many insights of queer theories on the relationship between power and the management of time – on both a material and symbolic level – resonate in Traps, especially in the way characters embody different stories in the same bodies as the play unfolds. The performing body, with its ability to incarnate history but also to manipulate it through its metamorphoses on stage, by being at the same time one and many, present and absent, activates the disruption of the traps created by linear time, and offers a utopian space for the dialogue of the many strands of the contemporary debate.


Second-wave feminism, queer temporalities, Caryl Churchill, feminist theater, linear time



Vai ad inizio pagina keyboard_arrow_up