CFP: The World and the Stage: Reassessing Theatrical Paradigms, Envisioning Global Rights (ACLA 1-4 April 2010; 13 Nov 2009)

full name / name of organization: 
Florian Becker, Bard College
contact email: 

CFP for papers to be given as part a linked set of three panels at the American Comparative Literature Association Annual Conference, April 1-4, 2010, New Orleans, USA

"The World and the Stage: Re-assessing Theatrical Paradigms,
Envisioning Global Rights"

Seminar leaders: Florian Becker (Bard College) and Brenda Werth
(American University)

In this session, we will revisit key twentieth-century theatrical
paradigms ordinarily 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, 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 human 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?

This seminar is part of an on-going collaborative research project
that will culminate in an edited volume.

Please submit 250-word abstracts through the ACLA website
( by Nov. 13, 2009

Inquiries can be directed to Florian Becker ( or
Brenda Werth (