»The Puppet Metaphor

This group is rooted in the idea of performance as embodiment of human nature and experience, exploring how cultures elaborate philosophical, political, and spiritual perspectives through visual culture, performative and liturgical arts and folk traditions. The group studies objects and the processes through which specific cultures make them vessels for identity and how these vessels in turn influence cultures. The puppet is among the research topics for this group, but as the symbol of the practice of human representation, the puppet functions as a theoretical motif embracing the group’s scholarly activities. As the group continues to elaborate its application across disciplinary and theoretical borders – including fields such as cognitive sciences, cybernetics, and animation design – the pursuit of new humanistic perspectives on the phenomenon of representation remains its mission.

  • Members
  • Research projects
  • Grants/funding
  • Student research
  • Federico Pacchioni (Chapman University, Italian)
    Polly Hodge (Chapman University, Spanish)
    Stephanie Takaragawa
    (Chapman University, Sociology)
    Wendy Salmond
    (Chapman University, Art)
    Martin Valle
    (PhD candidate, University of California at Irvine, Spanish and Portuguese)
    Pia Banzhaf (PhD candidate, Queen’s University Kingston, Cultural Studies)
    Georgia Panteli (PhD candidate, University College London, Comparative Literature)


  • Titles of the group's meetings.


    1. Polly Hodge, “Photography and Theatre: Masquerade and Spain’s Running of the Bulls.”

    2. Wendy Salmond, “Icons and Ancestors: The Cult of the 17th Century in the Fedorovsky Cathedral at Tsarskoe Selo.”

    3. Martin Valle, “The Gay Subject in Latin-American Nationalism." 

    4. Pia Banzhaf, "On the challenges of creating a ‘multidisciplinary’ dissertation: The Neuroaesthtics of Storytelling with Puppets.”

    5. Federico Pacchioni, "The Contamination Between Puppet Theatre and Film in Pasolini's Cosa sono le nuvole?“

    6. Georgia Panteli, "Posthuman Pinocchio."

    7. Richard Turner, "The Wayang Shadow Puppet Theatre in The Year of Living Dangerously." 

    8. Pia Banzhaf, "A Cognitive Approach to the Poetics of Puppetry."

    9. Federico Pacchioni, "Ideology and Nostalgia of the Hand-Held Puppet: The Case of Bertolucci's 1900.”

    10. Polly Hodge, "Unmasking Pandora’s Historical Ghosts: the Interplay of Hispanic Culture, Theater and Literature in Two Contemporary Cinematic Productions."

    11. Jake Liang, "Avatars/puppets" an interdisciplinary conversation. 

    12. Federico Pacchioni, "Puppets and Silent Cinema in Italy"

    13. Katia Pizzi, "Pinocchio, Puppets and Modernity: The Mechanical Body"

    14. Georgia Panteli, "Pinocchio's Nose"

  • Planning to apply to:

    • Italian Cultural Institute
    • Spain Ministry of Culture
    • Puppet Association of America
    • Orange County Arts Council
    • Annenberg Foundation
  • Dissertations

    1.  Valle, Martin. “Nación y el sujeto gay en la narrativa mexicana” (University of California at Irvine, Spanish and Portuguese.)

    2.  Banzhaf, Pia. “The Neuroaesthetics of Storytelling with Puppets” (Queen’s University Kingston, Cultural Studies)

    3. Panteli, Georgia. "From Puppet to Cyborg: Deconstructing the Myth of Pinocchio" (University College London, Comparative Literature)


    Pia Banzhaf’s Blog: Puppetry and Perception.

    Pia Banzhaf’s Creative work: The Brain Puppet.