CFP: Stakes of Performance Research (5/31/06, ASTR, 11/16/06-11/19/06)

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Hotel Allegro, Chicago - November 16-19, 2006


Call for contributions to Seminar:
The Stakes of Performance Research - Local Situations and Global Forces

This seminar explores performance research in a global context, with particular attention to the relation between U.S. (“American”) research and research situated elsewhere. Over the past half century, performance and its research have both engaged and been shaped by broad historical forces, including the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, neo- and postcolonialism, neoliberalism and globalization, immigration and refugeeism, satellite television and the internet, fundamentalist terrorism and U.S. neoimperialism, as well as a host of regional developments and conflicts. The seminar's overall purpose is to generate discussion not so much on the state but rather the stakes of performance research in the contemporary world.

“American” performance research plays an ambivalent role here. With the goal of furthering international understanding and progressive social agendas, U.S. theater and performance programs have trained artists and scholars from around the world and encouraged research and study abroad; further, along with U.S. journals and professional organizations such as ASTR, they have long championed diversity and multicultural perspectives. Despite these efforts >and perhaps even because of them< "American" performance research has often been felt to be hegemonic and even imperialistic outside the U.S., whether this be due to the research itself or to machinations of the cultural cold war, the U.S. role in 90s' globalization, or the U.S. government's recent turn to brazen neoimperialism.

To raise the stakes of performance research, the organizers seek papers in two interrelated areas.
First, we seek papers exploring alternative genealogies of performance research, particularly those situated outside the U.S. or that diverge from the theatrical-anthropological nexus associated with much performance studies research. We have in mind here critical essays on local histories, methods, and schools of research, rather than case studies of particular performances.

Second, we seek papers that directly engage the ambivalent role of “American” performance research in fostering inter-, multi-, and transcultural understanding, as well as political and social change. Such critical essays might address the “internal” limits of U.S. multicultural research and education programs or the “external” limits of U.S. global cultural hegemony.

In all cases, we encourage proposals that address global historical forces as well as local research situations.

Accepted papers will be precirculated to all participants and seminar topics forged via email discussion prior to the conference. The organizers will moderate seminar discussion and structure the session to insure the engagement of all participants.

The organizers have long-standing interests in the development of performance research around the world. Heike Roms served as an organizer of the 1999 Performance Studies international Conference “Here Be Dragons” which included artists and scholars from all over the globe. Jon McKenzie co-organized a workshop on international performance research at the 2002 Performance Studies Pre-Conference of ATHE. Along with Wan-ling Wee, McKenzie and Roms organized a similar workgroup at the 2004 PSi Conference in Singapore and are currently co-editing the collection Contesting Performance: Global Genealogies of Performance Research, forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan.

Please submit proposals via email or post by May 31, 2006:

Jon McKenzie
Department of English
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
PO Box 413
Curtin Hall 439
3243 N. Downer Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53201

Heike Roms
Performance Studies
Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies
University of Wales Aberystwyth
Parry-Williams Building
Penglais Campus
Aberystwyth SY23 3AJ
United Kingdom

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Received on Mon May 15 2006 - 12:36:12 EDT