ATHE Theatre History Focus Group 2010 Call for Proposals

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Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Theatre History Focus Group
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ATHE Theatre History Focus Group Call for Proposals

The Theatre History Focus Group of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education invites proposals for next year's conference, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Century City in Los Angeles, August 3-6, 2010. The overall conference theme, "Theatre Alive: Theatre, Media, and Survival," advocates forging alliances with our colleagues in media studies. Thinking broadly about how we define "media," we invite proposals for panels and roundtables about histories of theatre that might engage the following questions:

What is the history of theatre and media in the longue durée? How has theatre "survived" media developments in earlier periods? Examples might include the relationship between theatre and the rise of the novel or the advent of film, radio, and television. How have changing media historically been incorporated within theatre practice, and how has theatre practice spurred changes in media? Such proposals might address the history of theatrical design, particularly the relationship between theatre and the visual arts, technological changes in lighting and sound design, or the connection between costume design and the fashion industry. How has the actor's body as medium been perceived in different historical periods?

What are the implications of new media for research in theatre history and historiography? How has the arrival of digital media changed the archive? How are digital media changing the way we publish theatre history? Given the rise of social networking websites and 24-hour cable news networks, can we consider theatre as a historical site of social networking and/or dissemination of news? Might we be interested in "tweeting" theatre history?

We encourage proposals invested in pedagogy, particularly those that might employ a roundtable format. How do available media influence theatre history pedagogies? What are the stakes of teaching filmed versions of plays, or clips housed at YouTube? As digitization changes the market for textbooks, how does this affect what we teach and how we teach it?

Tips for submitting proposals:

1. Complete proposals for sessions (with all presenters assembled) should be submitted directly to ATHE through the website at The deadline for all proposals is November 1, 2009. Please forward a copy of your proposal to THFG Chair and Conference Planner, Daniel Smith at

2. Submissions may be either discipline specific or multidisciplinary. In general, we are interested in panel topics that address the history of theatrical practice, historiography, or the relation of theatre to history in a larger sense. We encourage proposals that include both senior and junior scholars, as well as graduate students. A senior scholar could well serve as a respondent. We also encourage collaborations with other Focus Groups and Committees of ATHE to develop dynamic multidisciplinary sessions. Please see below for specific rules and guidelines for multidisciplinary proposals.

3. For Theatre History-Specific Proposals:
If your session addresses primarily theatre history, then choose "Single Focus Group" in the first selection box of the online proposal form. For Session Sponsor, select number 18, "(TH) Theatre History." When the selection process begins, all THFG-targeted proposals will be sent to the THFG conference planner. The THFG Executive Committee will rank the proposals, and the conference committee will use those rankings to make final programming decisions. It is not necessary to contact the conference planner before submitting a THFG proposal, but please do forward a copy of your proposal to the conference planner once you have submitted it (see above, Also feel free to contact the conference planner if you have any problems or concerns or if you are curious as to whether or not your proposal is appropriate for THFG.

4. For Multi-Disciplinary (MD) Proposals
If your session addresses theatre history but is also appropriate for another Focus Group or Committee, consider THFG as one of your target focus groups. You must select 3 targeted Focus Groups or Committees for an MD panel to be considered. To make an MD proposal you must contact the conference planners for each of the targeted Focus Groups/Committees by email before submitting online in order to receive feedback and to make sure the proposals are appropriate for each FG /Committee. If one of your targeted focus groups is not enthusiastic, better to know before submission and perhaps find another FG or committee. See for contact information for Focus Group conference planners and Committee chairs. As with the THFG-specific proposals, we receive a list from ATHE of all MD sessions, and we rank those that target TH and return that ranking for consideration by the program committee.

5. Special notes for the 2010 Conference:
A. Double-sessions will not be included as part of the 2010 conference program. Please make sure your proposal fits well within the traditional 90 minute session format.
B. The 2010 conference will begin on a Tuesday and run through Friday evening. This choice of days/dates maximizes conference affordability and availability of space in the Hyatt Regency Century City.
C. It will not be possible to request specific days for presentations. If selected, your session could be scheduled on any day of the conference. Session Coordinators should ensure that all participants know that they should be available for all days of the conference.
D. Unlike the 2009 conference in New York, there will be a charge for AV equipment. Costs will be listed on the online session proposal form. Participants requesting AV equipment may apply for grants from ATHE to cover the charge for this equipment.
E. Participants will be limited to a maximum of two presentations. "Presentation" refers to the act of delivering a paper, serving on a roundtable, or serving in an equivalent role in a different type of session. There is no limit to the number of sessions that a person can Chair or serve as Session Organizer.

6. Individual papers and assistance in forming panels: We encourage you to use our listserv to network proposals, paper topics, and do other brainstorming. If you are not already signed up for the THFG ATHE listserv, you can sign up at and following the directions found on that page. Contact everyone on the listserv by e-mailing to We have a facebook group called "ATHE Theatre History Focus Group," which might also facilitate this kind of networking. While we prefer to receive full session proposals, you may request assistance from the conference planner in developing a session from your idea for an individual paper. The earlier you ask for help, the more likely you are to receive it.

7. You should expect to hear whether or not your proposal has been accepted or rejected by mid-March, 2010.

8. Questions? Contact THFG Chair/Conference Planner Dan Smith: