From the Curious to the Quantum: Bodies at the Intersection of Science and Performance

deadline for submissions: 
June 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
American Society for Theatre Research, November 2017
contact email: 

Title: From the Curious to the Quantum: Bodies at the Intersection of Science and Performance

American Society for Theatre Research conference
Atlanta, GA
November 16-19, 2017

Session Co-Conveners:
Vivian Appler, College of Charleston

Meredith Conti, University at Buffalo – SUNY


“From the Curious to the Quantum” examines how the performing body is rendered explicit within biomedical, chemical, astrophysical, geological, and other socio-scientific contexts. The intersection of science and performance is a site for devising and revising definitions of normal, abnormal, and extraordinary bodies; we welcome papers that illuminate this site within various cultures and time periods. What scientific circumstances render certain bodies more visible than others? How does scientific process—its objective ideals and emphasis on observation— influence notions of biological and social norms? Whose bodies matter to the history of science, and why? How might performance scholarship contribute to an ethics of research that simultaneously documents and challenges racist, ableist, sexist, and heteronormative ideologies in medicine and science?

Topics might include but are not limited to:

-          Raced, gendered, and differently abled bodies in healthcare practices, scientific research, and medical performances

-          Scientific performance and experiment at points of physical, political, and geographical borders

-          Medical curiosities and performances of difference in popular entertainments

-          Medical bodies in performance

-          Performative bodies in medicine

-          Theories of the post-human

-          Cyborgs

-          Evolution

-          Pathologized, anatomized, injured, and vivisected bodies

-          Performances about extraordinary individuals in the history of science

-          Bodies that defy the laws of physics

-          Disciplined bodies, endurance art, and the science of wellness

-          Drama therapy and the body-in-rehabilitation

-          Climate change

-          The earth as a body performed

-          Bodies of big data in the media

-          Quantum bodies

-          Twins

-          Monsters

-          Fossil narratives

-          Aliens

-          Animals


This session furthers the efforts of the 2016 working group, “Transfusions and Transductions: Science and Performance as Permeable Disciplines,” but proposals for “From the Curious to the Quantum” are not limited to “Transfusions and Transductions” participants.

There are two primary goals of this working session: to assist participants in making productive and substantive improvements to their articles-in-progress through a pre-conference peer-review process, and to facilitate a session that is fully inclusive of conference participants. Working group members will prepare an 8-12 page paper (inclusive of footnotes) by October 10, 2017 to be uploaded onto the group’s closed page on the ASTR website. Each member will then provide written feedback to several group members by October 25, 2017. During the conference session, participants will gather in predetermined subgroups to extend their feedback discussions and engage with wider questions of interdisciplinary theatre and science scholarship, followed by a full-group discussion. All aspects of the working session are open to outside participants.

Please submit proposals by June 1, 2016 through ASTR’s online submission form at Questions about this working group can be addressed to Vivian Appler ( and Meredith Conti (