CFP: American Theatre & Drama Society (10/10/05 & 11/1/05; ATHE, 8/3/06-8/6/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Amy E Hughes
contact email: 

August 3-6, 2006 (Chicago)

"Theatrical Milestones: Past Legacies, Present Possibilities, Future Strategies"

Now flies my hope-wing'd fancy o'er the gulf
That lies between us and the aftertime,
When this fine portion of the globe shall teem
With civiliz'd society; when arts,
And industry, and elegance shall reign,
As the shrill war-cry of the savage man
Yields to the jocund shepherd's roundelay.
Oh, enviable country... may'st thou rise,
Free from those bonds which fraud and superstition
In barbarous ages have enchain'd her with;
Bidding the antique world with wonder view
A great, yet virtuous empire in the west!
(--The Indian Princess, 1808)

In the concluding lines of James Nelson Barker's 1808 drama on the origins of "American" civilization, Captain John Smith muses on the glorious accomplishments in arts, music, and literature that he imagines hovering on the continent's shimmering horizon. Yet Barker's text is as fraught with problems as it is laden with praise, privileging white Americans' vision of culture, while denigrating the voices of the land's native peoples, and ignoring the presence of its tens of thousands of recent immigrants and African slaves.

As the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) enters its twentieth year, reflecting back on its past and looking forward to its future, where should scholars of American theatre situate Barker's triumphant prediction for the nation's artistic future? How have we re-imagined the boundaries of history in the last two centuries? Whose histories are we now responsible for telling? How does the contemporary scholar, playwright, or educator studying American theatre come to terms with the nation's complex and troubled history, and how can we use that history to bring our field into a new century? ATDS invites papers and panels which address these topics, and also welcomes proposals that move "outside the box" of the traditional panel format (roundtables, talkbacks, etc.).

ABOUT the American Theatre and Drama Society: ATDS is an incorporated international organization promoting the study of the U.S. theatre and its relationships to diversified social and cultural life. It encourages the study of American plays, actors, designers, critics, audiences, and all others historically or contemporaneously associated with writing, producing, and enjoying U.S. drama, and it encourages the study of relationships among theatrical and dramatic forms in the U.S., the Americas at large, and non-Western Hemispheric cultures.

1. Completed proposals (with all panel members assembled) may be submitted directly to ATHE at by November 1, 2005. PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL TECHNOLOGY REQUESTS AND GRANT REQUESTS MUST ALSO BE SUBMITTED BY NOVEMBER 1. (ATHE cannot accommodate AV needs submitted after November 1 without substantial cost to the individual presenter.)

2. Individual paper proposals may be submitted to ATDS Conference Planner, Dr. Heather Nathans, at Please note that individual proposals must be submitted by OCTOBER 10, 2005. Abstracts (250 words) must include paper title and contact information, and must specify any AV needs. ATHE does not accept individual paper submissions -- DO NOT submit your individual proposal on the ATHE website. (Also, please note that ATHE cannot accommodate AV needs submitted after November 1 without substantial cost to the individual presenter.)

3. This year, ATDS is trying a new format -- announcing two "general topics" panels with the following themes:
     (a) "Teaching and Writing American Theatre History"
     (b) "Politics on the stage and in the classroom (Then and Now)"
If your single proposal seems to fit either of these topics (broadly construed), please submit your individual paper proposal to Dr. Nathans (, with a note indicating that you would like to be considered for participation on one of these panels.

4. Members of ATDS wishing to identify colleagues to create panels prior to the November 1 deadline are encouraged to use the ATDS listserv: ATDS_at_LISTSERV.COFC.EDU to circulate questions or possible panel topics.

5. Presenters wishing to create multidisciplinary panels must contact the Focus Group Conference Planners for each of the THREE groups they propose as sponsors (note that the new ATHE requirement specifies 3 supporting groups).

6. Presenters proposing programs outside of the traditional panel format are asked to be specific in their proposals concerning the structure and number of participants so that ATHE can be notified about space/time needs.

7. Presenters who wish to submit grant requests for AV support (or other items) are encouraged to contact the Focus Group Conference Planner in advance of the November 1 deadline.

ATHE will notify the ATDS concerning accepted or rejected panels by mid-February. Panelists should expect to hear from the Conference Planner or their Panel Chair by early March.

Please note that preference will be given to ATDS members. If you are interested in joining ATDS, please visit the website at for a membership application or contact ATDS President Jonathan Chambers at

Questions? Please contact Dr. Heather S. Nathans at or review the information on the ATHE website at for additional conference information and for submission forms.

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Received on Fri Sep 16 2005 - 11:12:37 EDT