Crucibles of Crisis gathers together critical essays that consider the potential of theater and dance to encourage and participate in social and political change. The authors address a variety of questions about the relationship between politics and culture, and examine the impact of the performing arts, as both catalyst and respondent, on twentieth-century society. International in scope, yet at the same time sensitively grounded in the specific histories and geographies of their subjects, the collection discusses theater and performance in Northern Ireland, Mexico, East Germany, South Africa, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the United States during the periods of the Harlem Renaissance and the 1960s. The book confronts fundamental questions about the relevance of the performing arts to issues of gender, race, and colonialism by examining specific examples from 1930s New York to the 1960s South, from Berlin to Johannesburg to Buenos Aires. Crucibles of Crisis documents a wide variety of instances when the performing arts participated vigorously in social struggle, contributing to new social formations and leaving rich legacies for future artists and scholars. It argues for the renewed viability and vitality of performance as a tool for social transformation. At the same time, it reveals the limits on the claim of the performing arts to any privileged role in the production of culture--the boundaries of their potential to effect meaningful change. Crucibles of Crisis should interest not only performance specialists but also historians, social theorists, and those engaged in seeking patterns of meaning in the production of culture. The contributors are Lynne Conner, GreggDion, Harry Elam Jr., Loren Kruger, Anthony O'Brien, Patricia R. Schroeder, Katrin Sieg, Diana Taylor, Mary Trotter, Adam Versenyi, and W. B. Worthen. Janelle Reinelt is Chair of the Department of Dramatic Art and Dance, University of California-Davis, and has been coeditor of Theatre Journal. She is the author of After Brecht and coeditor of Critical Theory and Performance (with Joseph Roach) and The Performance of Power (with Sue-Ellen Case).