PERFORMANCE STUDIES Call for Proposals - ATHE 2013

full name / name of organization: 
Association for Theatre in Higher Education - Performance Studies Focus Group
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Performance Studies Focus Group
Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Conference
1-4 August 2013, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, Orlando, FL

Deadline (for complete session proposals, submitted online directly to ATHE at
1 November 2012

The Performance Studies Focus Group (PSFG) of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) invites session proposals for ATHE's 2013 conference in Orlando, Florida. Proposals will be welcomed in many formats—e.g., scholarly panels, seminars, roundtables, performance-based presentations, working groups, and alternative session structures—and on all theater- and performance-related themes, particularly those that address the 2013 ATHE conference theme of "P[L]AY: Performance, Pleasure, and Pedagogy." Coming together in a luxury resort just minutes away from the marvels, attractions, and distractions of the Magic Kingdom, we will stage an ongoing discussion on the ways performance continues to intersect meaningfully with questions of play, pleasure, and payment in contemporary research. More than forty years after Jacques Derrida articulated a concept of performativity predicated on an idea of play, and thirty years after Victor Turner foundationally asserted "the human seriousness of play" in From Ritual to Theatre, what new avenues of performance inquiry can ludic activity open up? And how do economic considerations provide a set of contours against which performance can approach this activity?

PSFG encourages papers and proposals representing all historical periods and geographic places. Proposals might consider (or propose alternatives to) some of the following questions:

- How does performance intervene within cultures of commodified playfulness and pleasure? What hegemonic structures or processes does playful performance reinforce or promise to disrupt? How might performance defamiliarize pleasure and make visible the fact that play often depends on human labor? What are the roles of games, (popular) entertainment, play, leisure, performance, and theatricality in facilitating or interrupting the smooth functioning of capitalist spectacle?

- What (cultural, political, historical, etc.) work does play perform, and what mechanisms allow the performativity of play to work? How, when, and where does play come to exceed the confines of the unserious, the mere, and the parasitical? For example, how do play, games, and leisure activities effectively work as forms of pedagogy and as apparatuses for the installation of ideology? And how can performance reveal and redirect this efficacy? How do we conceive the function of affect and immaterial labor in allowing play, games, and leisure to work?

- In what ways do ideas of play and labor work to structure cultures and cultural interaction outside the closed confines of the United States and Western Europe? Indeed, how might these ideas work to trouble the stable category of the nation-state? What does performance reveal, for example, about international sports in a global context? Or, about tourism and global economies of experience? How do forms of play and performance intertwine within postcolonial and neocolonial contexts?

- How does performance frame ludic phenomena in historical contexts? How do playing and games illuminate the performance histories of periods prior to our own? And how do the concepts of play and work intersect with the scholarly practice of historiography—both in terms of theater and performance history, and history more broadly conceived? What usefulness do play and work have for historical retrospection? For understanding time and temporality?

- How can performance illuminate the forms of play that occur among children? Among animals? And what about the relationships between and among species? In the shadow of the Magic Kingdom, that pilgrimage site where children can come to pay homage to Mickey Mouse, we might ask: how do play and performance upset the boundaries between man and animal, adult and child, reality and magic, magic and theater?

- In what cases can performance, play, and payment be thought productively alongside questions of media and mediation? How are digital and mediated forms of gaming reinventing the landscape of contemporary performance, and culture more broadly? What kinds of play between and among various fields of study (literature, philosophy, musicology, ethnography, etc.) and artistic practice (installation, video, "relational" art, music, live art, etc.) do performance and theatricality make possible?

- Under the banner of play, what dialogues can performance studies open up across the traditional divide between theory and practice? What bridges might be built in the domains of pedagogy and research between theorists of performance and practitioners? How might scholarship working with embodied (or practice-based) research methods take up questions posed by the conjunctions of theater, performance, play, and payment?

How to Submit Your Proposal:

1. All session proposals are filed electronically directly to ATHE. A link to the session proposal form, along with full explanations, can be found at . All session proposals have a deadline of 1 November. Please forward a copy of your completed proposal to Joseph Cermatori ( Also: please note that all audio-visual technology requests must be included in your completed proposal (see #3 below). The session proposal application form will not accept scheduling preferences.

2. ATHE also accepts proposals for Multidisciplinary (MD) sessions. Multidisciplinary panels must be sponsored by at least three different focus groups. (An ATHE committee may also offer sponsorship to an MD session proposal in lieu of a focus group sponsorship, but MD proposals must have a total of three sponsors, and at least one sponsor must be a focus group. No more than two committees should sponsor an MD proposal without a third FG sponsorship.) All MD session organizers must contact the Conference Planners of all sponsoring groups before submitting their session directly to ATHE. If you would like to learn more about ATHE Focus Groups, go to: All session proposals are due by 1 November.

3. If your session will require the use of audio-visual equipment, you will need to indicate these requirements in the application materials for your session proposal. When indicating your need for an A/V device in the online session application form, please remember to request the appropriate grant to cover the cost of A/V support. These funds are available and you are highly encouraged to apply for them. If your session proposal is accepted, you will be notified of the availability of requested A/V equipment when you receive the official PSFG announcement that your session has been accepted and scheduled. ATH cannot accommodate A/V requests submitted after November 1, and will not accommodate A/V requests made on-site at the conference in August.

4. While individual papers will receive consideration, submissions that pull together a strong panel of participants are preferred. With individual papers, the Focus Group Conference Planner will curate panels, attempting to match up related papers, but placement cannot be guaranteed. In order to facilitate this process, these papers must be received directly by the Conference Planner Joseph Cermatori at, by October 10th. Individual paper proposals should include title, contact information, an abstract of 250 words, and specifications for any A/V needs. If you are looking for co-panelists, please feel free to post your inquiries to our listserv: If you are not yet a member of the listserv, you can subscribe by sending an e-mail to In the body of the e-mail, type the following: subscribe PerformanceStudiesList Firstname Lastname (where Firstname and Lastname equal your first name and your last name).

5. Notifications for accepted and rejected sessions will be announced in March.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact:
Joseph Cermatori, PSFG Conference Planner
Department of English and Comparative Literature
Columbia University
602 Philosophy Hall
Mail Code 4927
New York, NY 10027