"Dreaming of Theatre History: Pedagogy in the Trenches" (July 23-24, 2014)

full name / name of organization: 
Theatre History and Theatre as a Liberal Art Focus Groups (ATHE)
contact email: 

Uniting in the desert to explore and innovate pedagogical practices for the 21st century, the Theatre History and Theatre as a Liberal Art (TLA) Focus Groups will co-sponsor a pre-conference (to the Association for Theatre in Higher Education's annual conference) on "Dreaming of Theatre History: Pedagogy in the Trenches." In the trenches, we face the realities of an economic drought in larger class sizes and an ever more precarious professoriate, even as we continue to dream of ways to teach theatre as a historical discourse. Forming an oasis in the desert, we are interested in exploring the state of our field in the classroom. How might we help each other through this drought by actively interrogating what we are doing to teach our students theatre history (whether this be in "theatre history" courses or courses that prompt students to critically examine and historicize the texts, performances and theories of theatre)?

The pre-conference planners seek presentations (papers, roundtables, activities, etc.) that explore how we teach: what we include on syllabi and why; how we use the archive in our classrooms and in our teaching (what is our archive?); how we are positioning theatre as a historical discourse in the curriculum for majors and non-majors; what the texts are that we teach and use for teaching; and what the negotiations are that we make between institutional demands (for example: for quantifiable assessment data) and our own utopic desires for the classroom.

We invite submissions that can not only critically address the challenges faced and solutions found in teaching theatre as a historical discourse, but also submissions that prompt active engagement in using the tools of our trade (for example: archive models, syllabi swaps, pedagogical performances, etc.) as a way to share innovative practices and approaches to teaching amongst participants. The expectation is that participants will share their ideas and passions for pedagogy in a variety of formats, contributing in multiple ways to the content of this pre-conference.

Please submit abstracts for papers, roundtables and/or activities (or direct any questions) to the pre-conference planners, Theatre as a Liberal Art's James Brandon (jbrandon@hillsdale.edu) and Theatre History's Jeanne Willcoxon (willcoxo@stolaf.edu) by April 15, 2014. ATHE 2014 will take place at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona from July 24-27, 2014. The pre-conference will occur on Wednesday, July 23rd from 4-8pm and on Thursday, July 24th from 8am to 12:00 noon.