Theatre, Performance, and Slavery

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
contact email: 

Please consider submitting proposals for the 2018 American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies panel on "Theatre, Performance, and Slavery." This panel is sponsored by the ASECS Performance Studies Caucus; we are interested in work by scholars from a variety of national-linguistic traditions (French, Spanish, English, Portuguese, Dutch), as well as comparatists. ASECS 2018 will take place in Orlando, Florida, from March 22-25; deadline for receipt of proposals is September 15.


CFP: Theatre, Performance, and Slavery


The rise of early modern European empires saw a parallel dissemination of theatrical culture and chattel slavery throughout the world. Just as the eighteenth-century expansion of political and economic dominion based on bodies designated as property belies narratives of social progress, the Enlightenment also marks a particularly crucial juncture in the shifting relationship between freedom and performance that has been a central problem of the Western theatrical tradition since its inception. This panel seeks contributions exploring the impact, representation, and legacy of slavery in theatre and performance of the long eighteenth century. How did the colonies perform slavery, both on formally designated stages and in dance, song, and theatricalized behaviors that adhered to non-canonical poetic and/or regulatory codes? Circuits of influence are multi-directional; in what ways did performances of slavery define metropolitan identity, and how were performance protocols mobilized in imperial centers to underscore, efface, or sublimate the metropole’s implication with human bondage? Interventions that treat textual, corporeal, architectural, and musical intersections between slavery and performance are welcome. In keeping with the Theatre and Performance Caucus’s commitment to global eighteenth-century scholarship, we encourage submissions from researchers working in a variety of national and linguistic traditions. Please send abstracts of approximately 250 words to Jeffrey Leichman ( by September 15.