"Somebody or Something Else": EGSS 7th graduate conference on Performance and Performativity (March 12-13 2010)
The seventh annual Université de Montréal English graduate conference seeks to examine the constructed nature of human life and thus invites 250-300 words abstract for papers dealing with the notions of performance and performativity in literature and the arts. Although performance was traditionally associated with theatre and the interpretation of a written text by actors, the idea of performance also applies to everyday life, to the behaviour individuals are obligated to adopt in order to function in society. Every face-to-face encounter becomes a performance especially if we think of performativity as the internalization of a script. Once internalized, this script can be repeated in a way that recalls Judith Butler's notion of performativity, where gender is understood as marked on the body through socially prescribed acts and practices, which challenges essentialist theories on gender and sexuality. Notions of performativity can also be applied to all forms of state or social coercions, because it is in the interest of nations and states to inculcate certain attitudes or behaviours upon populations for the sake of social "order" or "cohesion." Meanwhile, ethnic peoples are expected to perform their ethnicity according to the norms elaborated by the West. But if everything is a performance, then what is "real life?"
Since notions of performance and performativity transcend genres, periods, and media, they can be interpreted as inherent to all literary expressions. This conference is then concerned with some of the most provocative notions of performance and performativity, from the highly theoretical fields of gender, postcolonialism and postmodernism, to the contemporary phenomena in popular culture, visual arts, and experimental poetry. The deadline for submissions is January 1st 2010, while the conference itself will be held on March 12-13 2010. Possible topics for papers include:
Postcolonialism/ ethnic identities
Citizenship/ the city
Theatre/ Film Studies/ visual performance
Classes (as in upper, middle, and lower)
Coercion/ subject formation
We will also be accepting submissions for creative work (maximum 5 minutes) for an event that will be held on Saturday night.