Landscapes: Performing Space and Culture - Theatre History and Criticism Graduate Conference

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Theatre History and Criticism Program Department of Theatre at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
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Landscapes: Performing Space and Culture

A Graduate Conference by the Theatre History and Criticism ProgramDepartment of Theatre at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

April 5th and 6th 2013

With Keynote Speakers:
Heather S. Nathans (Department of Theatre, University of Maryland)
Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson (Department of Performance Studies, Northwestern University)
Jodi Byrd (American Indian Studies Program and Department of English, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign)
Dianne Harris (Director of the Illinois Program for Research in the
Humanities and Departments of Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Art History, and History, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign)

None of us exist apart from landscapes; we are physically surrounded by various spaces and influenced by many ideas and types of intellectual activity. In everyday life stories, histories, and memories unfold as one moves through certain spaces. Physical and mental landscapes shape cultures and communities. Landscapes can dictate certain performances that are artistic, political, or social. Not only are we shaped by landscapes, but we also work to shape landscapes. We alter landscapes by physically changing them or by remembering them differently. For better or worse we alter our environment—sometimes changing the course of human history, always altering the course of individuals. We define and re-define national borders. We destroy forests and other natural spaces and plant gardens or vast fields of crops that are highly constructed. Site-specific performance seeks to create performance within and inspired by that landscape or space. In so doing the performance is shaped by the space, but the space is also altered by the performance. To perform space and culture is to contribute to shaping and re-shaping landscapes. We may understand the space differently, understand culture differently, or understand ourselves differently.

In this interdisciplinary conference, we will look at landscapes in its many manifestations, such as performing and visual arts, the political, the scientific, the legal, the historical, and the sociological. We welcome proposals from all areas of the humanities, arts, and social sciences that broadly explore the concept of landscapes as spacial and cultural sites with particular interest in elements that are theatrical and the performative.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

• Exploration of boundaries (or lack thereof)
• Restrictive/limiting spaces
• Public/private and space/place/liminality
• Sacred spaces
• Urbanity and rurality
• Temporal landscapes
• Auditory and/or visual landscapes
• Performing/imagining/remembering of geographies/environments/landscapes
• Site specific performances
• Landscapes and theories of race/ethnicity/gender/sexuality/class/queer/cultures
• Nature, the natural and/or the denaturalizing
• Cultural and spatial adaptations
• Historical Landscapes
• Political landscapes and resistance

While this conference will feature traditional forms of papers and panels we also encourage non-traditional forms of presentation including performances of texts and visual presentations. Please send abstracts or project proposals of 300 words or less to by December 15, 2012. Undergraduate submissions will also be accepted.

Please include the title of your paper, your name, affiliation, short bio, and A/V requests. Accepted papers will be grouped into panels with papers of similar thematic material. Papers should be between 10-12 minutes.

For updated information about conference events or keynote speakers, visit:

cfp categories: 
modernist studies