Emotional Cartographies: Affect, Performance, and Politics

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ASTR 2009, Puerto Rico
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Call for Papers due Friday, May 15, 2009

Emotional Cartographies: Affect, Performance, and Politics

American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) 2009
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Condado Plaza Hotel and Casino

November 12-15, 2009

Affect shares with the ASTR 2009 theme, "Theater, Performance, and DestiNation," a set of expectations related to discovery and encounter, experiences from pilgrimage to consumption, and inquires into performance's role in constituting cultural and (inter)national forms of belonging. The question of how performance solicits, organizes, and marshals affective responses are of central concern to theatre studies, as treatises on emotion from Aristotle and Bharata through Addison and Steele to Brecht and Boal and, most recently from, Dolan, Muñoz, and Ridout make clear. Critics have queried how and at what level performance engages spectators' emotions, have asked after the connection between form and feeling, and theorized the relationship between sentiments and their display. Moreover, feeling is a question of daily professional significance for artists. Some actors train to conjure convincing emotions on stage, while others labour to alienate feelings in themselves and others. Describing a stage-wash as "warm" or "cool" indicates not only the lighting's colour palate but also its emotional resonance. Despite affectivity's centrality to performance, however, it has not yet come fully into view as a research object in our discipline. Moreover, despite theatre being the affect machine par excellence, it is noticeably absent from the emergent discourse of affect studies in the Humanities. This seminar strives to foreground performance's intellectual genealogy of affect in a way that specifies theatre's relation to and use of emotion and to put theatrical performance back into the wider conversation on affect in order to enrich an already lively discussion.

We encourage proposals for 8-10 page papers that address the following questions:

• How has theatrical affect participated in building or destabilizing collectives, communities, and nations? What are the best or most efficacious strategies for mapping, tracking and/or marking affects and their resonances?
• How does theatrical affect travel, circulate and/or move? By what various means does theatre produce, disseminate and transmit feeling, emotion and affect? Are there kinds of theatre/performance that seems particularly affective, and why?
• How do theater and performance give rise to hegemonic and counter-hegemonic "structures of feelings"? Is structure the correct word, or have we moved beyond Raymond Williams and need to thing about other ways these feelings may manifest and move – what about temporalities of feelings, geographies of feelings, anti-structures of feelings, networks of feelings, etc.?
• What role has theater and performance studies played in the recent "affective turn" and what does/might the "affective turn" offer these fields?
• If affective labour, as Michael Hardt and others have noted, now constitutes the pinnacle of labouring forms, why do some forms of affective labour, namely theater, continue to suffer rather than thrive?
• What can studies of specific affects, such as compassion, pity, or terror, tell us about postmodern feelings?
Selected participants will submit papers (8-10 pages) on September 15 for feedback by three or four other participants by October 15 via a wiki forum. Our conference session will entail a structured discussion of broader questions germane to the emergent discourse of theatre and affect.

For more information on ASTR and the 2009 conference, see: http://www.astr.org/Conference/WorkingSessionsGuidelines/tabid/128/Defau...

Please e-mail 500-word proposals and a short cv to both session conveners
by Friday, May 15:
Sara Warner, Cornell University, slw42@cornell.edu
Erin Hurley, McGill University, erin.hurley@mcgill.ca