Janne Risum (1947, Denmark) is Emeritus Associate Professor of Dramaturgy at the School of Communication and Culture at Aarhus University, Denmark. She was co-editor and author of the Danish standard work, Dansk teaterhistorie (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 2 vols, 1992-1993). She is a long-standing member of the International Federation for Theatre Research. She has moreover followed the work of the International School of Theatre Anthropology for many years. She has published widely in English and other languages on past and present theatre and acting in Europe and in Asia, including on Meyerhold and on gender issues. From 2002 to 2006 she directed the CTLS (Centre for Theatre Laboratory Studies) created by Aarhus University at Odin Teatret’s venues in Holstebro. Her PhD dissertation in English on the Soviet tour of the Chinese male performer of female roles Mei Lanfang and his Beijing opera troupe in 1935 and its effects, The Mei Lanfang Effect (2010), was based on extensive archive studies in Russia and elsewhere, as are her subsequent follow-up articles exploring complementary aspects of this seminal event.
In dialogue with contributions by the Italian scholars Nando Taviani and Franco Ruffini, Janne Risum discusses the historical and methodological features of theatre anthropology and questions some of its key arguments. In this context, notions such as the cultural, sociological and anthropological aspects of the actor can be analysed in a unique concept of “cultural savannah”, where the phenomena are all observable phenomenologically. For the original Danish version of this article in French translation: see Janne Risum, “Skuespilleren på savannen - og på scenen. Et besøg i ISTA’s begrebsverden” in At synliggøre det usynlige: En antologi, ed. E. E. Christoffersen (Århus: Institut for Dramaturgi, 1987), 35-56 (texts by K. D. Kjeldsen, E. Christoffersen, E. Barba, J. Risum, R. Schechner, E. Thomsen).
Barba, Eugenio, and Nicola Savarese. 1985. Anatomie de l’acteur. Un dictionnaire d’anthropologie théâtrale. Cazilhac: Bouffonneries Contrastes.
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Cole, Toby, and Helen Krich Chinoy, eds. 1964. Actors on Acting. New York: Crown Publishers.
Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1962. La pensée sauvage. Paris: Plon.
Marx, Karl. (1867) 1963. Le Capital. In Oeuvres. Economie I, préface de F. Perroux, Edition établie par M. Rubel. Paris: Gallimard.
Münz, Rudolf. 1979. Das “andere” Theater. Studien über ein deutschsprachiges teatro dell’arte der Lessingzeit. Berlin: Henschelverlag Kunst und Gesellschaft.
Ruffini, Franco. 1986. “Antropologia teatrale.” Teatro e Storia 1: 3-23.