introduction: the PerFormAtive commonS
And the AeSthetic AtlAntic
1. January 1649, Journals of the house of Commons, vol. 6: 1648–1651 (1802): 125–26.
2. Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of political Economy, trans. Ben Fowkes, vol. 1
(London: Penguin, 1990), 885.
3. William Edward Tate, English village Community and the Enclosure Movements
(London: Gollancz, 1967), 88. Although enclosure had been going on for centuries,
Parliament became actively involved in the business of enclosure in the eighteenth
century; see Leigh Shaw- Taylor, “Parliamentary Enclosure and the Emergence of an
English Agricultural Proletariat,” Journal of Economic history 61, no. 3 (September
4. On representing the “people” in the early U.S., see Jason A. Frank, Constituent
Moments: Enacting the people in postrevolutionary America (Durham, NC: Duke Uni-
versity Press, 2010).
5. Lewis Hyde, Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership (New York: Farrar,
Straus and Giroux, 2010), 31.
6. The concept of commons as a set of practices involving people, resources, culture,
and social relations is elaborated by Dana D. Nelson in her forthcoming book, Commons
Democracy: my account is indebted to this work. On “assemblage,” see Bruno Latour,
Reassembling the Social: An introduction to Actor- Network- theory (Oxford: Oxford Uni-
versity Press, 2005).
7. “Theatrical,” Columbian Centinel [Boston], November 17, 1804, 2.
8. Of eighteenth- and early nineteenth- century audiences in the United States,
Richard Butsch writes, “Fitting the revolutionary rhetoric of egalitarianism, the audi-
ence was conceived as a body of equal citizens, all of whom held rights. These were
ﬁercely asserted as rights of a free citizen, linking rights in theatre to larger politi-
cal rights. Thus the theatre was deﬁned as a public space in which the body politic
deliberated” (the Making of American Audiences: From Stage to television, 1750–1990
[Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000], 14).
N o t e s