CFP: Performing Excess: Women and Performance (10/15/04; journal issue)

full name / name of organization: 
Kathleen LeBesco
contact email:


Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory Special Issue

Performing Excess<?xml:namespace prefix =3D o ns =3D
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

TOO MUCH: eating, drinking, fucking, drugging, talking, erotic dancing,
protesting, shopping, yelling, swearing, gorging, binging, purging,
confessing, gambling, plastic surgery, working out, botoxing, tv
watching, marrying, puking, piercing/tattooing, limping, raving,
ranting, writing, dieting, trendy bariatric surgery, makeup, energy,

MAKES ONE: too fat, too skinny, too plain, too freaky, too girlie, too
mannish, too light, too dark, too ugly, too perfect, too plastic, too
promiscuous, too outspoken, too visible, too poor, too rude, too hairy,
too old, too gossipy=E2=80=A6

 =E2=80=9CConventionally identified with the feminine,=E2=80=9D Della =
Pollock writes, =E2=80=9C
=E2=80=98too much=E2=80=99 ostensibly describes both intrinsic =
characteristics of
unacceptable =E2=80=98others=E2=80=99 and their proper place on the =
gridwork of everyday social life: they are excessive, excluded,
superfluous, at best marginal.=E2=80=9D Nonetheless, excessiveness also
functions as a resistant practice, what Pollock describes as =
determinant gridworks with excluded and as yet unimagined
possibilities.=E2=80=9D We thus propose in this special issue of Women =
Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory to address performances in and
beyond theatre (mostly beyond) that assert excessiveness as a radical
alternative to overdetermined structures of social, cultural, and
political meaning. We also invite papers that examine how performative
excessive behaviors (perhaps especially, though not necessarily,
dieting, shopping, and plastic surgery) affirm the status quo and
reinforce false notions of =E2=80=9Cnormalcy,=E2=80=9D rather than =
subvert or disrupt
the concept of the =E2=80=9Cnormal.=E2=80=9D=20

While earlier theoretical treatments of excess by literary theorist
Mikhail Bakhtin, sociologist Alfonso Lingis, Georges Batailles, Luce
Irigaray and other French feminists, queer theorists such as Judith
Butler, and phenomenologists including Merleau-Ponty offered treatments
of excess as culturally subversive, these theorizations also obscured
actual embodied and performed acts of excess. And while Bakhtin himself
often focused on actual cultural traditions of performed excess--notably
during Carnival--the theoretical deployments of Bakhtinian concepts
often remained overwhelmingly abstract. In order to move beyond
earlier, abstract theoretical treatments of excess, as well as to
redress media excoriations of excess and the people who perform it, this
issue of Women and Performance will explicitly address actual performed
instantiations of bodily excess, such as eating, drinking, fucking,
drugging, aging, talking, as well as how fat, disabled, queer, or aged
bodies themselves mark out a kind of cultural excess or social terrain
of =E2=80=9Ctoo much.=E2=80=9D Just as Leo Bersani urges graphic =
discussions of sex
acts as a means of redressing overly theoretical approaches to queer
identities, we also hope to highlight both these theoretical approaches,
and also insist on actual performed embodiments of excess; in other
words, treatments of excess that do not remain purely theoretical.
Seeking to document and historicize performance practices that
constitute excess, we invite papers that probe excess within a range of
embodied moments and behaviors. We also, of course, welcome papers on
well-known excessive types such as Tammy Faye Baker, Coco Fusco, Nao
Bustamante, Courtney Love, Anna Nicole Smith, Bessie Smith, Camille
Paglia, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Tracey Ullman, Janis Joplin,
Roseanne Barr, Queen Latifah, Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Pamela
Anderson, Liz Taylor, JLo, Marilyn Kroker, Kathy Acker, Pat Califia, and
Annie Lennox.

We encourage contributions from a variety of fields, including (but not
limited to) Anthropology, Communication, Comparative Literature,
Disability Studies, English, Film or Cinema Studies, History, Media
Studies, Musicology, Sociology, Theater, and Women=E2=80=99s Studies. =
should be approximately 5000-6000 words in length and should adhere to
the Chicago Manual of Style. Please send completed essays as MSWord
attachment to both of the editors at and by <?xml:namespace prefix =3D st1 ns =3D
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />October 15, 2004.
Expressions of interest prior to the deadline are encouraged.=20

Kathleen LeBesco is Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Chair
of the Humanities Division at Marymount Manhattan College. She is
author of Revolting Bodies? The Struggle to Redefine Fat Identity, and
co-editor of The Drag King Anthology (published simultaneously as a
special double issue of Journal of Homosexuality). Jana Evans Braziel
is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Cincinnati. She
is co-editor of Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. LeBesco and Braziel
have previously collaborated on the editing of Bodies Out of Bounds:
Fatness and Transgression.=20

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Received on Tue Jul 06 2004 - 01:10:11 EDT

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