CFP: [Theatre] Asian American Theatre––Unsettling the Boundaries, ASTR 2008

full name / name of organization: 
Ron West
contact email: 

Asian American Theatre Group

Esther Kim Lee, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (
Ron West, Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, NE (

Asian American theatre, as an investigatory category, offers a
particularly appropriate opportunity to explore the implications of
migration across and within geopolitical borders and cultural
boundaries. Though “migration” generally implies a willing movement of
people among geographic areas, it also provides a convenient euphemism
for the manipulative consequences of globalization. Thus, “migrant”
populations may be compelled or encouraged to move among geographic
regions but remain excluded from full membership in “settled” social and
political territories such as the Americas. The borders are economically
fluid, but culturally unyielding. In particular, Asian populations
historically have been excluded by convention and statute from full
membership in the “American” imagination, even while they have been
exploited as economic necessities and defined as the Other. Asian
American theatre likewise struggles with the relegation to contingency
status, signaled by its persistent depiction as a component of the mid-
twentieth century’s countercultural movement, a sidebar to the main
event. Still, Asian American theatre broadly defined remains one of the
most promising sites for challenging the false dichotomy of “Asian”
and “American” that continues to define the constructed representation of
the Asian diaspora in the Americas. Our group invites participants to
address the ways in which the migration, map, and memory of Asian
American theatre unsettles “American” theatre by re-settling the
territory between the illusory poles of Asia and the Americas. As the
first ASTR session to focus on Asian American theatre, the meeting will
allow participants to explore the potential of Asian American theatre as
a web of links rather than a series of discrete “ethnic” discourses and
thereby to examine a range of interstitial relationships that avoid
isolating Asian American, yet retain a productive distinction. In part
because of our hope to draw upon a broad community of perspectives, we
especially encourage submissions that extend Asian American beyond the
American subdivision of the United States.

Session format:

The process and implementation of the session will resemble the ASTR
seminar’s 2-hour structure. Participants must commit to submitting
preliminary drafts of their papers by August 1st and actively participate
in an online pre-conference discussion by means of a fully secure
website. The final conference drafts (8-10 pages) are due by October

By June 6, 2008 please submit an abstract (MAX 500 words) and brief
biography (150 words) via email to:

Esther Kim Lee, Associate Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-
Champaign (


Ron West, Instructor, Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, NE

 From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
             more information at
Received on Tue May 20 2008 - 16:32:55 EDT