Dear friends, dear colleagues,
I’m so glad to share with you that my new book Eco Soma: Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounters is out and available as a free, economically just, open access book – no registration needed.
I’m so grateful to the many people who have been part of this book’s journey.
In my recent reading engagements, I’ve been honoring beloved Neil Marcus, who became a disability country ancestor before this book was published. I wish I could present the two chapters based on our work together side by side with him, as we did so many times in the past.
I also want to honor Yulia Arakelyan, who is on the cover of the book, and whose work with Wobbly Dance I discuss. She shared with me her excitement about the cover and I hold her and her beloveds close as they navigate recent disability precarity.

We live in such complicated times. I hope the invitations and openings in this book can be gestures of care to you all.
Please feel free to share widely with people who might be interested.

Petra Kuppers: Eco Soma: Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounters. Art After Nature Series, University of Minnesota Press.

Modeling a disability culture perspective on performance practice toward socially just futures
Open Access Link: Manifold Open Access edition:

Buy the paperback here (40% discount code: MN88670 till April 1st), or at your local bookstore!

In Eco Soma, Petra Kuppers asks readers to be alert to their own embodied responses to art practice and to pay attention to themselves as active participants in a shared sociocultural world. Reading contemporary performance encounters and artful engagements, this book models a disability culture sensitivity to living in a shared world, oriented toward more socially just futures.

Eco soma methods mix and merge realities on the edges of lived experience and site-specific performance. Kuppers invites us to become moths, sprout gills, listen to our heart’s drum, and take starships into crip time. And fantasy is central to these engagements: feeling/sensing monsters, catastrophes, golden lines, heartbeats, injured sharks, dotted salamanders, kissing mammoths, and more. Kuppers illuminates ecopoetic disability culture perspectives, contending that disabled people and their co-conspirators make art to live in a changing world, in contact with feminist, queer, trans, racialized, and Indigenous art projects. By offering new ways to think, frame, and feel “environments,” Kuppers focuses on art-based methods of envisioning change and argues that disability can offer imaginative ways toward living well and with agency in change, unrest, and challenge.

Traditional somatics teach us how to fine-tune our introspective senses and to open up the world of our own bodies, while eco soma methods extend that attention toward the creative possibilities of the reach between self, others, and the land. Eco Soma proposes an art/life method of sensory tuning to the inside and the outside simultaneously, a method that allows for a wider opening toward ethical cohabitation with human and more-than-human others.


Petra Kuppers breathes us through connections between embodiment and the earth, weaving queer studies and disability studies into self-guided explorations. Her imagistic text evokes dancing—the pull of gravity and the shifting perspectives of bodies in flow. She moves, she writes, we respond to her autobiographical narratives of environmental spaces and social places.
— Anita Gonzalez, cofounder, Racial Justice Institute, Georgetown University

There is absolutely nothing like Eco Soma in any field. Petra Kuppers provides a much-needed model for what interdisciplinary arts-based research can be, and her work is always put into the context of the lived reality of minoritized communities. She shows us how to write about bodies as she does—unflinchingly, while maintaining respect and dignity.
— Carrie Sandahl, director, Program on Disability Art, Culture, and Humanities, University of Illinois at Chicago

Petra Kuppers’s grounded and reflective investigation encourages generative dialogue within and beyond disability performance studies. Sharing many vivid examples drawn from diverse community scales and sites, her eco soma method both illuminates and prompts creative reimaginings of relations between self, land, other humans, and more-than-humans. Answering the urgent call for multidisciplinary work to address climate catastrophe, she reveals the profound power of art-based methods to engage the body, forge connection, and enact change.
— Kirsty Johnston, University of British Columbia (located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) people)

Table of Contents:

Preface: From Ecosomatics to Eco Soma
(Arundhati Roy, Tracy Veck, Fernando Pessoa)

1. Social Somatics: Tentacular Methods on the Horizon
(taisha paggett in Detroit’s Light Box, somatic histories, Rollercoaster Theatre in Melbourne, Dandelion Dancetheatre in Oakland, Gerard Vizenor (Anishinaabe): Bearheart, The Olimpias’s Journey to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin (with Neil Marcus), Moluks Historisch Museum, Utrecht; Laban and Germany; plants in the Berlin-Birkenau” exhibit by Łukasz Surowiec, Berlin Biennale)

2. Edges of Water and Land: Indigenous/Settler Eco Soma Collaborations
(Land Acknowledgments, Margaret Noodin (Anishinaabe), unsettling deleuzoguattarian words, Native Women Language Keepers: Madweziibing—Music Rivering video, Rebecca Belmore (Anishinaabe): Fountain installation, Ghost Nets Australia Project; Moa/Torres Strait Islands and Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria)

3. Un/Bounding: Writing Water Worlds
(bree gant, Eliza Howell Park, Detroit; Lucy Kirkwood’s The Children; Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s Dirty River Girl; The Olimpias’s Salamander Project, with writing by Sharon Siskin, Andy Jackson, Neil Marcus, Chia-Yi Seetoo, Nor ’Ain Muhamad Nor, Jasmine Pawlicki, (Anishinaabe), Denise Leto, Susan Nordmark, Chris Smit, Stephanie Heit, Xavier Duacastilla Soler, Beth Currans)

4. Crip Time, Rhythms, and Slow Rays: Speculative Embodiment
(object theatre in Turtle Disco; Dreamland Theater, Ypsilanti, with Cthulhu mental health show; Anne McDonald and crip time, Waking the Green Sound: A Dancefilm for the Trees, by Wobbly Dance: Yulia Arakelyan, Erik Ferguson, and Grant Miller; Sueyeun Juliette Lee’s Solar Maximum; Black Lives Matter protests, remembering Eric and Erica Garner, Make Me Wanna Holler dancevideo, Erica Eng (director), Dawn James (choreographer), Antoine Hunter (dancer).

Coda: Oracles
(Tiffany King’s Black Shoals, Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s M Archive, Alternative Knowledge tour performance at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology)

Spring/Summer 2022 Book Tour
(full for this season – but I am glad to book an engagement with you for the Fall, just be in touch)

July 28-31: ATHE: Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Detroit (in person)

July 6: Eco-Soma Lecture as part of Disability – Culture – Knowledge. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Dis/Ability Cultures, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (virtual)

June 26-30: talk and workshop as part of Sentient Performativities conference (UK, virtual)

June 20-25: IFTR: International Federation for Theatre Research, Iceland (in person)

June 21: NPR radio interview, part of Traverse Talks with Sueann Ramella

May 16: guest visit at UC San Diego, Theatre and Dance Department, “Moving (in) the World: Performing and Theorizing Social Change.” Speaker Series (virtual)

May 6-8th: present/breath, anchored at 22 North Gallery, Ypsilanti, with mini-symposium, and an Eco Soma book reading (in person)

April 21/22: guest visit: UC Davis English Department: Eco Soma talk and workshop (in person)

April 17: guest on Today Must be a (Easter) Sunday/Four Queens conversation series, with Gut Botany and Eco Soma. Hosts: Shameka Cunningham and Teresa Carmody.

April 14: guest visit: The Environment and the Bodymind: Disability, Race, and Gender in the Anthropocene, Stanford University, Performance Studies (virtual)

April 13: guest visit Bowling Green State University, Ohio, Theatre Studies: Eva Marie Saint Theatre in the Wolfe Center, 12:00 to 3:00 EST (in person)

April 5: guest visit at Eco-Arts class at Laney College, California (virtual)

March 31: University of Iowa (in person), Eco Soma Reading at The Tuesday Agency, 6pm, with Performance Studies workshop the next day, April 1st

March 29: Keynote, Disability Arts Cymru/Ni Chawn Ein Dileu (#WeShallNotBeRemoved, pan-European Disability Connector)

March 23-27: AWP Philadelphia, Contemporary Feminisms Panel (in person), with Megan Kaminski, Vidhu Aggarwal, Stephanie Heit, and Theresa Carmody

March 16-20: Invited Creative at the 43rd International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, Orlando, Florida: discussing eco soma methods in creative writing and teaching

March 18, 1-2pm EST: ASLE Spotlight: “Public Engagement and Performance.” (virtual) Co-hosts: Brandon Galm and Josh Calhoun, with Spencer Robins, UCLA Lens Podcast, Janisse Ray, Wild Spectacle: Seeking Wonder in a World Beyond Humans, Odile Cisneros, and Petra Kuppers, Eco Soma

February 28-March 1: Eco Soma Plenary Presentation at 37th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity (virtual)

February 25-27: Moon Botany Workshop, 2022 Authors and Artists Festival: Writing the Land (virtual)

February 22: Podcast: Eco Soma with Petra Kuppers – Conversation with the Art After Nature editors Caroline Picard and Giovanni Aloi

February 21: Body Language: Poets Wheel, Sing, Fly; with Sarah Rosenthal, Julie Patton, Christina Vega-Westhoff, 6pm EST

January 27: Eco Soma presentation, Goddard College (virtual)

January 21/22: Eco Soma Presentation, Practicing the Social: Entanglements of Art and Justice, Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice, University of Guelph (virtual)

Image Description of Book Cover:
A dancer, Yulia Arakelyan from Wobbly Dance, covered in white clay and with a bound chest, emerges from rich vegetation, lips parted, sun-dappled, a hand open toward a purple frond. The plants twine in and out of the book title. Cover design by Frances Baca Design. Cover photograph by Kamala Dolphin-Kingsley.