CFP Revealing Posthuman Encounters in Performance: Hope in a Posthuman Landscape

deadline for submissions: 
May 31, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR)
contact email: 

Stefano Boselli, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (stefano.boselli[at]
Sarah Lucie, New York University (slucie[at]

This year’s ASTR conference theme of Hope is compelling, and our session will be focused on what hope means in a posthuman framework. This may be an opportunity to workshop an idea for an article or book, in a friendly group of like-minded scholars.

This online session will be scheduled during the first week of December and proposal submissions should go through the ASTR website:


here’s the link to our working session information (also copied below)

We invite you to submit an abstract by May 31.
To apply, you will need to create a free account with Oxford Abstracts and follow the instructions:

We hope you’ll consider applying, and we look forward to an opportunity to gather virtually and discuss.


Working Session description:


What is hope in a posthuman framework? A posthuman lens asks us to account for the material reality of our history, present environment, and future entanglements between human and non-human agents. Rosi Braidotti calls for an “affirmative politics” as an element of posthuman subjectivity: “We should approach our historical contradictions not as some bothersome burden, but rather as the building blocks of a sustainable present and an affirmative and hopeful future, even if this approach requires some drastic changes to our familiar mindsets and established values” (Posthuman Knowledge, 2019). In line with this call toward drastic changes in perception, we focus on less visible human/non-human alliances.

We invite participants to consider the following questions in relation to the conference theme:

  • How can a posthuman perspective highlight the complexity of collaborations or interferences between human and non-human agents involved in the creation and sustaining of hope?

  • Historically, what imagined performances or practices hoped for in the past are possible now thanks to the availability of new technologies and other non-human collaborators, or remain as yet utopian and unrealized?

  • What are the material networks that construct the affective response of hope, in and outside of the performance space?

  • How do performances or play texts point to hope for a peaceful cohabitation with and reciprocal improvement of human and non-human entities, at all levels of intelligence, from nature to AI-driven robots or other technologies?

  • What are other possible sides to hope, such as hope for the end of unwanted and destructive assemblages with agents like viruses or pollution?

  • Certain posthuman thought focuses on being after or without the human, where the human becomes obsolete. What is hope, without the presence of humans?

  • What new configurations of assemblages between humans and non-humans do you hope to manifest?

Continuing the generative meeting of the 2022 working group, we invite scholars interested in reframing current theatre studies methodologies to attend to a broader spectrum of non-human actors and the crucial ways they exert agency in the performance event. We invite participants to think broadly about a variety of agents such as everyday and performing objects, robots, machines, technology, algorithms, media, natural phenomena, hyperobjects, microbes, assemblages, ensembles, institutions, capital, historical events, religion, ideology, audiences, or affect.

We hope to provide a forum for discussing works-in-progress, posthumanist theoretical frameworks, and methodologies such as Actor-Network Theory, Assemblage Theory, New Materialism, Feminist New Materialism, Object Oriented Ontology, Flat Ontologies, Ecology, Dramaturgy.

We ask participants to submit abstracts of their research. We will then place participants in small groups organized around themes in order to share drafts of works-in-progress for feedback prior to the working group meeting. In addition, before we meet, each participant will prepare an introduction to one other paper in their subgroup in order to facilitate conversation. When we gather, we will allow these introductions to forge connections and aim for an organic discussion with group members and observers. We will conclude by articulating a series of questions and gathering resources that can drive our investigations forward.