JDTC Special Section for Spring 2021, #Performative X

deadline for submissions: 
July 15, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Journal of Dramatic Theory & Criticism
contact email: 

CFP: JDTC Special Section for Spring 2021, #Performative X

In 2020, the beloved performance studies term “performative” has leaped into action on the global activist stage, but in a costume perhaps unexpected by readers of JL Austin and Judith Butler. The “Performative” that has taken social media and political activism by storm is much more akin to “theatrical” in the pejorative sense of fake, just-for-showempty. Denunciations of “Performative Activism,” “Performative Allyship,” “Performative Grief,” “Performative Outrage,” “Performative Support,” and “Performative Woke nonsense” are fighting to identify the gaps between representation and “real action.” Another front of this burgeoning battle concerns institutions, with universities and theatres prominent among them, being simultaneously called on to issue official statements of support and called out for statements that may run far in advance of their actions to rectify systemic racism and white-centrism within their operations and productions. 

In recognizing an emerging crisis in reality and representation with potential ramifications not only for activism and contemporary global politics but also art making and performance, JDTC seeks voices from dramatic theory, criticism, and performance studies to apply our expertise in reckoning with the gap (and the confluence) between representation and reality to the emerging popular debate about the stakes and uses of “Performative."

Contributions to the special section might address academic and/or popular uses of “performative,” or they may engage the substance of contemporary critiques that employ “performative” in the sense of “theatrical.” They may question whether the rise of social media culture and activism require re-calibrating our notions of performativity and theatricality altogether. In short, the editors welcome a wide variety of engagements with the interlocking dramatic and performance ideas enlivened by current debates around “Performative X” with X representing “allyship” “wokeness,” “activism,” “support," and so on. 

We invite contributions in two formats: 1) research articles of around 5000 words or 2) vignettes, case studies, and manifestos of approximately 750-1500 words. 

For consideration, please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words by July 15th, 2020. Completed articles will be due November 1, 2020. The special section is slated for publication in the Journal of Dramatic Theory & Criticism in Spring 2021. Inquiries are welcome. All correspondence and proposals should be directed to Dr. Michelle Liu Carriger at carriger@ucla.edu; for proposal submissions please cc the JDTCmanaging editor at jdtc@ku.edu.