Theatricality and the Political: Imagining New Theoretical Prolegomena

deadline for submissions: 
August 22, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Association
contact email: 

Theatricality and the Political: Imagining New Theoretical Prolegomena

Ryan Anthony Hatch
Co-Organizer: Andrés Fabián Henao Castro
Co-Organizer: Joseph Cermatori

How might we newly theorize the relation, or non-relation, between theatricality and politics? This panel invites scholars of political theory, theatre, performance, comparative literature, philosophy, aesthetics, and the intersections of these fields to make theoretical interventions that advance our understanding of this pairing, and so question the familiar assumptions that have grown up around it. We are less interested in “empirical” instances of “the politics of theatricality” or “the theatricality of politics” than in the conceptual conditions that make such a relation thinkable in the first place.

We posit that theatricality, ultimately a mode of relation, precedes and exceeds the theatrical medium as such, and involves (as Michael Fried has argued) a blurring of boundaries between spectator and actor, subject and object. We likewise assert that “politics” names a relational mode that can contest “property” and “the proper” alike, interrupting regimes of perceptibility that render something sensible on the condition that something else is not (as Jacques Rancière has claimed). We wish to ask: as modes of relation, at what foundational levels do the theatrical and the political either intersect or fail to intersect? And which theoretical orientation(s) afford(s) us the most rigorous and productive account of this (non)encounter, and why?

Participants will read and discuss a shared set of texts prior to the conference. Papers topics might examine questions regarding: understudied genres or thinkers; counter-hegemony, subaltern positionality, and social death; senses other than the verbal and optical; non-presence, and post-dramatic poetics, among others.

Full details are available here:
Paper submissions through the portal will open Sept. 1 and close Sept. 23.