Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way: Mapping Embodied Indigenous Performance

Monique Mojica, Brenda Farnell

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


This volume documents the creation of Chocolate Woman Dreams the Milky Way, a play written and performed by Monique Mojica with collaborators from diverse disciplines. Inspired by the pictographic writing and mola textiles of the Guna, an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia, the book explores Mojica’s unique approach to the performance process. Her method activates an Indigenous theatrical process that privileges the body in contrast to Western theater’s privileging of the written text, and rethinks the role of land, body, and movement, as well as dramatic story-structure and performance style. Co-authored with anthropologist Brenda Farnell, the book challenges the divide between artist and scholar, and addresses the many levels of cultural, disciplinary, and linguistic translations required to achieve this. Placing the complex intellect inherent to Indigenous Knowledges at its center, the book engages Indigenous performance theory, and concepts that link body, land, and story, such as terra nullius/corpus nullius, mapping, pattern literacy, land literacy, and movement literacy. Enhanced by contributions from other artists and scholars, the book challenges Eurocentric ideologies about what counts as “performance” and what is required from an “audience,” as well as long-standing body-mind dualisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherUniversity of Michigan Press
Number of pages144
ISBN (Electronic)9780472221165
ISBN (Print)9780472076215
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • First Nations Theater
  • Guna aesthetics
  • Guna molas
  • Guna pictographic texts
  • Indigenous Knowledges
  • Indigenous theater
  • Land-based embodied research
  • Native American Theater
  • collaborative creation
  • collaborative research
  • corpus nullius
  • cultural reclamation and healing
  • embodied performance
  • embodiment
  • land literacy
  • movement literacy
  • movement score
  • pattern literacy
  • terra nullius

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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