CFP for Edited Volume on Science and Performance

deadline for submissions: 
January 31, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Meredith Conti and Vivian Appler
contact email: 

CFP for Proposed Volume on Science and Performance

From the Curious to the Quantum: Identity, Culture, and the Science Performance

Editors:     Vivian Appler, College of Charleston
            Meredith Conti, University at Buffalo, SUNY

Deadline for Abstracts:  January 31, 2020   
Deadline for Chapters:    December 1, 2020

The sciences (natural, social, formal, technological, medical) have never operated independently of the cultures in which they are practiced. Performance is one of many arts and humanities enterprises that has muddied the divide between “science” and “culture” for as long as humans have been thinking about their relationship to the natural world. As with the clinical laboratory and astronomical observatory, theatre and performance serve as reflexive and generative sites of transformations, a place to penetrate barriers and test innovative ideas, approaches, and praxes. Theatre and other forms of human performance are therefore viable laboratories for community conversation, debate, and knowledge generation about and within contested socio-scientific structures.

We are currently soliciting essays that interrogate the science performance as it intersects with notions of identity and culture. For the purposes of this volume, the science performance can be broadly defined as an event or process that straddles the scientific and theatrical realms, from surgical demonstrations in Victorian medical schools to contemporary productions of Suzan-Lori Parks’ Venus, from activist demonstrations against fossil fuel-sponsored art exhibits to planetarium shows. “Performance” may connote theatrical treatments of science content, live art, public history, performance art, applied performance, and/or the consideration of scientific events qua performance. “Science” might engage a range of disciplines from biology, chemistry, ecology, medicine, psychology, physics, geology, astronomy, data science, robotics, technology, or engineering. It might also encompass historical fields such as natural philosophy, phrenology, “the new science,” alchemy, or astrology.

The questions at the heart of From the Curious to the Quantum have evolved through a series of Science and Performance working groups convened at the American Society for Theatre Research conferences, though participation in the working groups is not a prerequisite for the collection’s contributors. We seek abstracts describing chapter-length essays (between 4,000-6,000 words) that deeply engage performance as a method for knowing the world, serving the intertwined demands of science and society. We encourage contributors to pose questions that document and dispute racist, ableist, sexist, and heteronormative ideologies that are prevalent across the history of science, and which are alternately challenged and upheld by public science outreach enterprises. We welcome the use of diverse theoretical frameworks and discursive approaches to an array of topics that bring together science, performance, and their overlapping social venues; these investigations are not restricted to specific time periods, geographical locations, and cultures. Practice-based contributions are welcome.

Please submit an abstract of 250-400 words and a brief bio of 200 words no later than 31 January 2020 to Vivian Appler ( and Meredith Conti ( Complete drafts will be due 1 December 2020. Questions regarding the collection’s scope, content, and format may be directed to either of the editors.