Healing and Reconciliation in Performance and Religion

deadline for submissions: 
June 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Performance, Religion and Spirituality (Journal)
contact email: 

Performance, Religion, and Spirituality



Call for Papers for a special issue, vol. 2, no. 2:

Healing and Reconciliation in Performance and Religion


Both religious ritual and theatrical performance have long been seen as a kind of social or psychological medicine, from Aristotle’s claims to the cathartic function of ancient Greek tragedy, to Victor Turner’s examination of ritual’s role in resolving group crises through social drama, to Lindsey Cumming’s recent examination of ‘compassion theatre.’ Frequently, forms of performance are called on to heal social rifts, do the work of social reconciliation or personal healing, respond to crises, (re-)construct spiritual or social equilibria, or to help build skills of resilience that will help in responding to future crises, whether expected or not. And as our social world integrates and our spiritual lives seem more uncertain, the makers of these performances need to be increasingly agile, sensitive and creative in their work. Research into these models of action can shed new light on the social and personal roles of religion and performance, but also into the nature of crisis and injury, how they can be responded to, and the practices and habits that can ameliorate their damage.                      

For its next issue, the editors of Performance, Religion, and Spirituality welcome contributions that deal with aspects of performance and religion that engage with questions of healing, reconciliation, social repair, building of resilience, or similar issues. We are interested in papers that either investigate theoretical issues surrounding performance, religion and notions of healing, or those which analyze case studies that deal with these issues, regardless of its cultural or historical location. The journal is intentionally interdisciplinary, and in addition to theatre and performance studies and religious studies, submissions are welcome in sociology, cultural anthropology, trauma studies, queer studies, indigenous studies, political science, philosophy, and related fields.

Articles may deal with issues such as (but are not limited to):

  • Performance and healing, whether spiritual or psychological
  • Compassion and empathy in theatre and performance
  • Performance and the re-assertion of personal or communal identity
  • Performance and reconciliation (perhaps with respect to testimony)
  • Healing rituals and performances of indigenous cultures
  • Performative responses to trauma, and religious or spiritual attempts to address it.
  • Contemporary notions of Aristotelian catharsis or Turnerian social drama
  • Performance and the cultivation of resilient or virtuous habits
  • Rituals and performances in response to war, terrorism or political violence
  • Performances of apology and forgiveness (or their opposites) after a personal or social wrong
  • Performances and rituals responding to climate change or ecological harm
  • Political crises, their aftermaths, and the religious and performative responses to them
  • The development and function of rituals of grief and mourning.
  • Contemporary devised performances that take on the function or place of religious rites of healing.
  • Digital analogues of traditional rituals of healing



The journal is open to proposals for academic publications that take forms other than that of the traditional article. Scholars who wish to submit their work in a different form should simply explain the form their work will take in the email with which they submit their abstract. 



Abstracts should be submitted by 15 June 2019. Articles will be due by 15 August 2019. Peer review will take place in the autumn, for publication in early November 2019.

Please send abstracts to j.edelman@mmu.ac.uk with the subject line ‘PRS 2.2 submission’ and your surname. Both the abstract and the author’s CV should be attached as PDFs or Word files. 


About the Journal:

PRS is an international, bi-annual, peer-reviewed and open-access journal devoted to expanding and deepening discussion about the performed and performative dimensions of religion and spirituality, as well as the religious and spiritual dimensions of performance. The journal promotes rigorous scholarship about the social, cultural, philosophical, and theoretical implications of religion and spirituality (which can include secularity and atheism) as aspects of theatre, the arts, everyday life, politics, language, history, and the sciences. 

We seek scholarly articles and reviews of performances and books, as well as contributions to our “Forum” section, which highlights practical work and profiles artists.


Author Guidelines:

Scholarly articles should be 20 to 30 pages in length, with endnotes placed under the title "Notes." Articles must be set in 12-point Times New Roman font, have one inch margins, and be double-spaced throughout (including endnotes). All submissions should be prepared according to the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed. (author-date format), and they should be made in the form of a Word document or a rich text format document.  A quick guide to the Chicago Manual of Style is available online: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html All submissions of scholarly articles must include a 200-word abstract.

For general inquiries, or questions about the Forum section for artists and practitioners, please e-mail the current editor, Joshua Edelman, at j.edelman@mmu.ac.uk

For inquiries about reviews, please e-mail the current reviews editor, Claire Maria Chambers, at  clairemariachambers@gmail.com

PRS is affiliated with the Performance, Religion and Spirituality Working Group of the International Federation of Theatre Researchers (IFTR) and the Religion and Theatre Focus Group with the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE).