The Diasporic Body and Its Discontents

full name / name of organization: 
American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), Diasporic Imagination Research Group

The Diasporic Body and Its Discontents

The co-conveners of the Diaporic Imagination Research Group invite participants to submit work-in-progress for a working session of the 2010 conference of the American Society for Theatre Research in Seattle, WA, November 18-21, 2010.

Participants are invited to consider how power is embodied in diasporic identities, cultural practices, and performances. Our session emphasizes the spatial and temporal aspects of the "corporeal power" at the conceptual heart of CORD/ASTR 2010. By paying attention to diaspora's "discontents," we will also focus on the material and political effects of diasporic performance and the exercises of corporeal power.

Participants may consider the following questions:
• How might diasporic performances work over time?
• How might they reconcile the past and the present through the acting body?
• What processes work on or construct the "diasporic body"?
• How is the diasporic body created and sustained?
• What kinds of bodies fight back, desert, or deviate, and how do they perform?
• How might the body sustain diasporic identities and cultural connections? How might diasporic bodies in particular show intersections of movement and force?

As a working group, we nurture and support the production of publishable scholarship related to our ongoing conversations on diaspora, performance, and ASTR and CORD's 2010 themes of embodiment and power. We plan to submit and circulate article-length essays before the conference, allowing rigorous and creative feedback. For further information, see ASTR's "Working Sessions Guidelines," URL at

Working Process:
Our working group focuses on helping participants develop article-length projects for publication.

• Participants are subdivided into smaller editorial teams.
• Teams post article-length drafts of their work to our website by September 1.
• Each member of the smaller editorial teams comments on the work, posting feedback electronically.
• Team members re-draft and re-post essays, or post a précis of the revisions they plan to make.

• For the first half of our session, teams meet in smaller subgroups to discuss status of projects and to offer feedback.
• For the second half, the group convenes to discuss the articles as a collection, what they suggest about the state of the field, and possible future projects.

• Members may re-submit their articles to the group for additional feedback, or send them to appropriate journals. The group establishes deadlines for review as needed throughout the spring.

Submitting a proposal:
Please submit a 500-word abstract proposing an article that you would like to develop in connection to the group's theme, including a paragraph detailing where you are in your research process. Please submit proposals via email no later than May 31, 2010 to all of the conveners:

Heather S. Nathans (; Adrienne Macki Braconi(; and Peter Reed (

Thank you!