Religion & Theatre Focus Group – Emerging Scholars Panel

deadline for submissions: 
April 1, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Association for Theatre in Higher Education

The ATHE Religion and Theatre Focus Group invites current graduate students and/or independent scholars who have not presented at a major national conference to submit papers for the 2023 Emerging Scholars Panel.

ATHE’s conference theme evokes strong emotions, stirs our senses viscerally, and requires focused action towards healing and progressive change. Organizationally, we are standing in the rubble continuing to deconstruct harmful structures of racism, white supremacy, neoliberalism, cisheteropatriarchy, and ableism. Similarly, ATHE’s Religion and Theatre Focus Group membership stand in the debris aware of the unconscionable sustainment of our explicit and implicit participation in these inequitable structures within our programming and name. Our programming has historically overrepresented Western Christian and Ashkenazi Jewish scholarship and performances. Our name, an outward-facing feature of our group, implies a prioritization of religious scholarship over spiritual scholarship, and theatre performances over other performances. As we shift and start to rebrand our focus group, we re-affirm our commitment to foster diverse, equitable, and inclusive representation of the literature, rituals, performances, and performatives of global religious and spiritual scholarship, pedagogies, and practices. We re-commit to pro-actively seek multi-disciplinary focus group partnerships, as well as to include a breadth of conference proposal formats, such as traditional paper presentations, performance-based presentations, workshops, working groups, poster presentations, and roundtables. We invite you to triage with us in the rubble this academic year as we build a better, stronger, more equitable future at our hybrid conference in 2023. Some possible proposal topics or “calls-to-action” for the upcoming conference may address (but are not limited to addressing):

● How do global religions and spiritualities peacefully navigate “moments of chaos in the rubble” through performance and ritual praxis?

● How are global religions and spiritualities extending care to the most vulnerable (especially intersectional communities) in performances, performatives, rituals, literature, etc.?

● How are global religions and spiritualities engaging with one another in fruitful interfaith performance and performative dialogue? How can these conversations continue to be fostered?

● How do we identify the harmful impacts of global religious and spiritual practices in socio-political structures and governances? What transformative interventions can be applied?

● What lessons can we learn from failures of unconditional love, care, and acceptance by global religions and spiritualities in performance or ritual praxis, infrastructurally, and/or in theological or other scholarly discourse?

● How does ATHE’s Religion & Theatre Focus Group contribute to or reinforce an unsustainable and inequitable system? How can we continue to practically work towards equitable and inclusive transformation?


Submission Guidelines:

• Papers should be approximately 8 to 10 pages in length

• Please include a cover page with your name, paper title, institutional affiliation, contact information, and a brief abstract (250 words). Please remove your name from the body of the submission, as it will go through a blind vetting process.

• Send your paper, bio, and cover page in one word document by April 1, 2023 (extended deadline) to JM Christiansen at

• For more information about the 2023 conference, please visit Contact the Religion and Theatre Graduate Representative, JM Christiansen, with any questions or concerns at the email address above. We look forward to reading your submissions!