In Memoriam: John T. Warren (1974-2011)

In 2006, I was talking with John T. Warren, who had suggested putting together a special issue on Performance & Pedagogy for an upcoming issue of Liminalities. As the conversation progressed, John’s enthusiasm for issues of pedagogy in relationship to performance studies made clear that such concerns were so permanent and pressing that something more than a special issue would be appropriate. Thus was hatched the idea of a recurring series of essays and performance projects to be published in every issue of Liminalities for which completed material was available. Not one to leave the work to others, John embraced the challenge of taking on the editorship of all pedagogy submissions.

As he would write in March 2007 in his editor’s introduction to the “Performance & Pedagogy” area of the journal,
We in performance can find great hope in the theories and enactments of our pedagogy, not only to make clear what happens in classrooms, but also to show how our work makes education better for those who encounter it. This is not the time to be silent about education; it is the time to make education richly textured and socially relevant.
Under John’s care for the five years that followed, he saw scores of submissions through peer review and accepted around a dozen projects for publication. These projects have helped set the tone of Liminalities as a space for experimentation, creation, and activism as modes of research (or, as John liked to put the relationship between performance and education: as performative modes of analysis, engagement, and critique).

John’s care and passion for performance and pedagogy was unflagging. Three weeks before his untimely and unexpected death at age 36 from complications related to advanced esophageal cancer, John contacted me to request (reluctantly) a leave of absence from his editorial duties. With his characteristic commitment and élan, he forwarded all projects in various stages of peer review or revision, supplying his recommendations as well as his thoughts on ways to strengthen the most promising projects. His last request was to make sure that the “Performance & Pedagogy” series would continue. As he put it, “the area is so rich that I'd hate to have it vanish.” Indeed it is. And no it won’t.

Nor will our commitment to honor the memory, passion, humor, persistence, and pedagogy of John T. Warren in the pages and screens of Liminalities in the issues to come. Thank you, John. You are deeply missed.

      — Michael LeVan

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