CFP: Reassessing Theatrical Paradigms and Imagining Global Rights (ASTR, Puerto Rico, Nov 11-15, 2009; Abstr. due May 15, 2009)

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WORKING SESSION: Reassessing Theatrical Paradigms and Imagining Global Rights (San Juan, Puerto Rico, Nov. 11-15, 2009)

Deadline for Abstracts: Friday, May 15, 2009

Conveners: Brenda Werth, American University; Paola Hern√°ndez,
University of Wisconsin-Madison; Kerry Bystrom, University of
Connecticut; Florian Becker, Bard College

In this session, we will revisit key twentieth-century theatrical
paradigms traditionally associated with the promotion of critical
consciousness and strategies for social, cultural, and political
intervention. Our objective is to explore and reassess paradigms such as Bertolt Brecht's Verfremdung, Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed, and anthropologist Victor Turner's social dramas in an emerging global framework. Our inquiry focuses on the creative tensions and paradoxes these paradigms pose in a transnational context defined by the adoption of multilateral cultural and social networks configured through and in response to neoliberal global capitalism, the establishment of international recognition and jurisdiction of human rights, the revision of physical and virtual borders, and changing notions of citizenship. Within this framework we seek to re-evaluate the relationship between the stage and the world by addressing the following key questions and issues:

*How might the destabilization of national sovereignty, together with the growing presence of an international human rights network, necessitate a reassessment of key terms such as theatre of revolution, theatre of the oppressed, theatre of resistance, theatre of disintegration, and borderland theatre?

*In what ways does theatre imagine performative frameworks, embody new spaces and subjectivities, highlight tension between competing paradigms, and promote critical dialogue on cultural rights?

*How have these paradigms been adapted and revised historically in concrete cultural contexts, and what are the specific political
implications of this adaptation? In what ways are these
twentieth-century paradigms compatible with new modes and ways of framing activism and political intervention?

ASTR Working Sessions are not traditional panels but rather workshops for group collaboration; participants will be asked to pre-circulate their papers (10-15pp) and to read a short selection of theoretical essays before the conference. A longer explanation of the working sessions and all working session CFPs are on ASTR's web site at

Interested participants should send an abstract (200 words) and a bio by May 15 to all four conveners. All selected participants must become members of ASTR.