CFP: Theatricality, History, Theory (11/30/05; ACLA, 3/23/06-3/26/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Martin Harries
contact email: 

Call for Papers:

Theatricality, History, Theory

The seminar will be part of the American Comparative Literature Association Conference at Princeton University,
Princeton, New Jersey, March 23-26, 2006.

Seminar Organizers: Martin Harries, New York University; Andrew Parker, Amherst College

Despite recent work on theatricality, the term remains too often unexamined. What has "theatricality" been? In
what historical contexts does the concept arise? Are there cognate terms? To what extent does "theatricality"
relate to the theater? To what extent, on the contrary, does it describe not theater but those moments when
other art forms cease to be themselves? Why does "theatricality" so often describe a slipping away from the
human, a bestial mimetic practice? Why has theatricality become such an important theoretical term? Why, too,
does theory continue to recognize itself as theater–and/or, why does it fail to do so? The aim of this seminar
will be to investigate the theoretical discourses surrounding theatricality and historical situations in which
problems of theatricality arise. Papers might consider: theatricality in theory; theatricality and performativity;
the place of theatricality in comparative studies across genre and across media; theatricality in the history of
art; historical situations for discourses of theatricality; theatricalities and sexualities; theatricality in theater
history; theatricality's relationship to concepts including authenticity, mimesis, etc.; theatricality, political
power, and spectacular sovereignty; reconsiderations of theatricality in the work of Austin, Butler, Derrida,
Fried, Freud, Sedgwick, et al.

The DEADLINE for proposals is November 30, 2005. Papers should be fifteen to twenty minutes long. Please
do not hesitate to direct questions to the session organizers: Andrew Parker ( and
Martin Harries (

Meanwhile, 250-word abstracts should be submitted directly to the ACLA website. The following link leads to
the page for submissions:

Seminar members will have to join the ACLA and register for the conference. For those unfamiliar with the
ACLA, it is useful to know that the ACLA seminar format runs over sometimes two and usually three days. To
quote the conference web site: "The ACLA's annual conferences have a distinctive structure in which most
papers are grouped into twelve-person seminars that meet two hours per day for the three days of the
conference to foster extended discussion. Some eight-person (or smaller) seminars meet just the first two days
of the conference. This structure allows each participant to be a full member of one seminar, and to sample
other seminars during the remaining time blocks. Previous conference programs that show this pattern are
available online at the ACLA website."

Conference website:

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Received on Tue Nov 08 2005 - 17:13:39 EST