CFP: The Anatomical Theatre Revisited (Netherlands) (11/15/05; 4/5/06-4/8/06)

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Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) & Department of Theatre =
Studies, University of Amsterdam

5-8 April, 2006




The historical anatomical theatre marks the emergence of a new knowledge =
about the body. Eventually, this knowledge came to represent the =
knowledge of the body, while at the same time -- as Jonathan Sawday =
(1995) points out -- anatomical dissection came to represent the model =
of scientific investigation par excellence. The anatomical theatre, =
therefore, symbolizes the emergence of a particular constellation of =
ideas and practices underlying what became the dominant conception of =
the body, including prevailing notions of how the body can be known, =
and, what it means to know. This inaugural moment was highly theatrical =
in character, and occurred in a highly theatrical space.


The popularity of anatomy -- Sawday argues -- cannot be understood =
solely from raising the ban on the formerly forbidden practice of =
dissection, nor simply as a result of the superior quality of the =
knowledge thus produced. Rather, the anatomical body is part and parcel =
of the development of modern individualism, and of the modern scientific =
world-view. Dissection turns the body into a mute corporeal object, =
separated from and opposed to the Cartesian disembodied eye/I as the =
site of subjectivity, thought and knowledge. Additionally, the 'culture =
of dissection' (Sawday) marks the beginnings of what Michel Foucault has =
analysed as the 'surveillance' of the body within regimes of judgement =
and punishment, as well as an early crystallization of the modern =
Western sense of interiority.=20


'The Anatomical Theatre Revisited' engages with what is by now a history =
of attempts to rethink these notions of the body, subjectivity and =
knowledge. It promotes a return to the theatre in order to explore =
alternative conceptions emerging at the intersection of artistic =
practices and philosophical, theoretical and scientific ideas.=20

Many artists use (or have used) performance, theatricality, staging, or =
re-enactment as means to challenge conceptions of the body as a mere =
object. They argue for a new understanding of the body as an agent =
actively involved in world making, and in the production of thought and =
knowledge. Sometimes, their work presents an explicit critique of the =
history of the anatomical body, in other cases the implications of their =
work can be read as an implicit commentary on the constellation of ideas =
and practices concerning bodies, thought and knowledge, summarized in =
Sawday's notion of the 'culture of dissection'.


'The Anatomical Theatre Revisited' encompasses a series of plenary =
lectures by selected international scholars, followed by panel =

Keynote speakers include Susan Foster (UCLA), Michal Kobialka =
(University of Minnesota), Bojana Kunst (University of Ljubljana), =
Jos=E9 van Dijck (University of Amsterdam), Sally Jane Norman (Newcastle =
Institute for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities), and Kurt =
Vanhoutte (University of Groningen).

For the panel presentations we invite proposals that address the =
following questions:


- How might a practical or imaginary 're-theatricalization' of =
the anatomical body contribute to exposing aspects of the =
cultural-historical perspective implied within what Sawday terms the =
'culture of dissection'? How do historical and contemporary bodies on =
stage reflect aspects of this perspective? How do bodies on stage =
illustrate historically and culturally specific conceptions of =
embodiment, as well as conceptions regarding the relationships between =
embodiment and knowledge, thought and reflexivity? How are these =
conceptions reflected in theories of theatre, performance and dance?=20

- How do artistic works respond to, expand or explore new =
theoretical approaches concerned with the relationships between bodies =
and knowledge? How do artistic works contribute to new conceptions of =
what bodies are and how they can be understood, not only as objects of =
knowledge, but also as the site of subjectivity, thought and knowledge?=20

- What are the implications of new developments on stage, in =
art, and in theory for analysis and interpretation of acting, dancing, =
and/or spectatorship? What new concepts present themselves? What kind of =
interpretive tools are lacking?

- What might the implications be of such a re-theatricalizing =
for our understanding of: the relationship between art and theory in =
the production of knowledge; the objectivity of science; and, the =
performativity of thought?



Please send proposals comprising the name and a short bio of the =
presenter, and a title with abstract (300 words) to Maaike Bleeker at = <>=20

Please paste the proposal into the body of the email message rather than =
attaching a separate file.=20

Submission deadline for proposals is 15 November 2005=20

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Received on Tue Oct 11 2005 - 17:56:59 EDT