Performance Research, special issue: "On Dark Ecologies"

deadline for submissions: 
May 6, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Performance Research

Timothy Morton describes dark ecology as ‘ecological awareness, dark-depressing. Yet ecological awareness is also dark-uncanny. And strangely it is dark-sweet.’ The concept of dark ecology represents a crucial intervention in the current moment of political conservatism and climate change denial and enables a focused exploration of a wide range of issues relating to performance and ecology. Human activity on the planet is responsible for a number of ecological and political dilemmas, including (but not limited to) global climate change, pollution, leaking pipelines, fragmentation of ecosystems, diminishing natural resources and nuclear meltdowns.


While some may harbour hope and positivity about the future, it is easy to feel overwhelmingly hopeless about these large-scale, complex problems. Morton refers to the awareness of these substantial ecological dilemmas as ‘ecognosis’, which he describes as ‘a riddle… It is something like coexisting. It is like being accustomed to something strange.’ It is this tension between hope and despair, the coexistence between ‘depressing’ and ‘sweet’,—this space of ‘dark ecologies’ in our current political and ecological climate—that we will explore in this issue.


This volume considers dark ecology in relation to performance and explores the ways that performance can intervene in or engage with a plurality of dark ecologies. We are interested in a range of approaches to the topic, such as: performative events, analysis of text-based plays, theorizing the potential of performance, pedagogical concerns, first-person analysis of practice, and artist pages.


Proposal topics may include, but are not limited to:


  • Diverse approaches to the concept of dark ecologies and performance that transport readers to a range of places (for example, the deep sea, an Iowa cornfield or a tropical cloud forest), and explore ‘bodies’—both visible (for example, farm crops, sea and land creatures or garbage) and invisible (for example, sewage byproducts, bacteria or microscopic fungi).


  • Hope and despair and their relationship to the climate both physical and political. How may these two opposing ideas be held together in productive ways in performance?


  • Climate change and climate change denial, along with their ecological and economic consequences, and the role that performance may play to intervene and interrupt ‘business-asusual’.


  • Radical hope and the possibility of pursuing new ecological narratives and methodologies through performance.



Morton, Timothy (2016) Dark Ecology: For a logic of future coexistence, New York: Columbia University Press.  


We are inviting essays approximately 4,000 to 6,000 words and artist pages (number of pages to be agreed with the editors). Please send 300–400 word abstracts plus a 100 word bio. 




Proposals:  6th May 2019

First drafts: August 2019

Final drafts: October 2019

Publication: Jan/Feb 2020


Issue contacts:  

All proposals, submissions and general enquiries should be sent direct to Performance

Research at: 

Issue-related enquiries should be directed to the issue editors: 

Angenette Spalink (Texas A&M University):

Jonah Winn-Lenetsky (Institute of American Indian Arts):


General Guidelines for Submissions:  

  • Before submitting a proposal, we encourage you to visit our website ( and familiarize yourself with the journal. 
  • Proposals will be accepted by email (Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format (RTF)). Proposals should not exceed one A4 side. 
  • Please include your surname in the file name of the document you send. 
  • Please include the issue title and issue number in the subject line of your email. 
  • Submission of images and other visual material is welcome provided that all attachments do not exceed 5 MB, and there is a maximum of five images. 
  • Submission of a proposal will be taken to imply that it presents original, unpublished work not under consideration for publication elsewhere. 
  • If your proposal is accepted, you will be invited to submit an article in first draft by the deadline indicated above. On the final acceptance of a completed article you will be asked to sign an author agreement in order for your work to be published in Performance Research