CFP: Performing Animals

full name / name of organization: 
Karen Raber; Monica Mattfeld

CFP: "Performing Animals"

This collection invites papers on pre-modern (loosely interpreted as pre-twentieth century) performing animals and animal performance in a broad variety of venues and contexts, and from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

Recent scholarship on human-animal relationships has begun to explore and theorize the performative 'intra-actions' (Barad) and shared theatricality of animals and humans. This scholarly shift in the humanities and social sciences illuminates the necessity for a radical reevaluation of our current conceptualizations of 'performance' and 'performativity' as solely human, the impact of animal-human relationships on performance, and the worlding such relationships engender. What happens if we take nonhuman and multi-species performance and performativity seriously? Raising the associated issues of agency, subjectivity, objectivity and gender alongside the power of discourse and matter, animal performance and performativity not only necessitate inter, multi and transdiciplinary approaches. The discursive-materiality of human-animal studies also mandates the interrogation and decentering of the very terminology associated with studies of performance ('staging', 'theatre', 'theatrical', 'performance' or 'acting', 'performativity', and so on). Possible topics and questions include, but are not limited to the following:

- embodiments, expressions and definitions of animal agency
- human-animal and animal performativity
- animal ability to act or 'pretend to pretend' (Lacan).
- the ability of current theories of animal performance and agency to account for early-modern experiences
- performance and animals as object and/or subject
- animals in theatre, circuses, experiments, demonstrations, tableaux, banquets, battlefields, menageries, markets, etc.
- performing animal gender
- human vs. animal performance
- performing animality or the animal; performing humanity or the human
- performing species, breed or race
- epistemologies of animal performance
- performativity and animal identity
- animal experience and representation

Send abstracts (500 words) or completed papers by May 30, 2014, to:
Karen Raber
Professor, Department of English
University of Mississippi, Box 1848
University, MS 38677;

or Dr. Monica Mattfeld
Assistant Lecturer
School of English
University of Kent, Canterbury