Net-Works: Mapping Labor in Theatre and Performance

deadline for submissions: 
January 21, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Department of Theatre and Performance, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Net-Works: Mapping Labor in Theatre and Performance 


April 23, 2020

The Graduate Center,

The City University of New York (CUNY)

365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10016



Deadline: January 21, 2019


Theatre and performance constantly negotiate between seen and unseen labor. Certain kinds of labor disappear, both socially and theatrically, while others are put on display. “Net-Works: Mapping Labor in Theatre and Performance”is a conference that seeks to uncover the collaborative and solitary labor necessitated by creative and performative spaces, the labor of working in a globally connected world, and the labor of working at the intersections of the material, the human, and the ephemeral. This conference aims to discuss and exchange interrogative approaches to the study of labor along with its visible and invisible networks in theatre and performance. The keynote speech of the conference will be presented by Shannon Jackson (Professor of Rhetoric and Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley). Additionally, David Savran (Distinguished Professor of Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, CUNY) will present an introductory speech tracing labor in theatre and performance. Some of the key questions we seek to explore by means of “Net-Works” include: What are the theoretical and methodological opportunities and challenges posed by interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research in the fields of labor and the networks of people, places/spaces, objects, environments, and even species that become manifest in theatre and performance? How does the labor of/as performance shape the interrelations among such elements? How does an awareness of such labor shift our understanding of what performance can be and do?


We invite 15-20 minute papers and presentations across academic disciplines that may address but are not limited to the following topics and research areas: 

  • the social, cultural, political, economic, and material dimensions of labor in theatre and performance
  • the geographies and connectivities of labor in theatre and performance
  • the alienation and dis-connectivity of labor in theatre and performance
  • labor exchanges and migration (trans-national, trans-continental, trans-cultural, etc.)
  • the transformation between visible and invisible labors
  • theories of labor (such as the Marxist theory) in theatre and performance
  • the history and historiography of labor in theatre and performance
  • theatre and performance as labor
  • labor as theatre and performance
  • the dramaturgy of labor on and off stage
  • labor and training in theatre and performance
  • workers, union, and solidarity
  • volunteers, internships, and free labor
  • the labor of non-professional, amateur, socially-engaged, and community-based theatre and performance
  • labor and ecology in theatre and performance
  • overlooked forms of labor in theatre and performance (emotional, digital, animal, etc.)
  • academic research in theatre and performance as labor


Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to by no later than January 21, 2020. Submissions should include your name, paper title, email, a short bio (no more than 150 words), and institutional/departmental affiliation. Participants will be notified in mid-February, 2020.