Panel on Transgenerational Trauma in Theatre and Performance (Comparative Drama Conference, Orlando, April 4-6, 2024)

deadline for submissions: 
October 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Comparative Drama Conference
contact email: 

In Dark Matter (2013),  Andrew Sofer observes that “[s]taging trauma poses a representational conundrum because trauma confounds chronology and eludes comprehension” (118). Yet the theatre has long been a site for exploring the effects of collective trauma from genocide, slavery, war, environmental disaster, and forced displacement. Building on existing trauma studies scholarship and the work of psychologists such as Cathy Caruth and Judith Herman, whose research highlights trauma’s resistance to coherent, chronological narrative and simple representation, we are seeking papers for a special panel focusing on transgenerational trauma as it is expressed in dramatic literature and performance. We invite contributions from scholars and artists considering the phenomenologies and epistemologies of transgenerational trauma in theatre from any time-period. While scientists have made clear the impact of traumatic events on the epigenetic markers of traumatized people and their descendants, this panel is interested in how “acts of transfer” carried out in dramatic literature and performance challenge, enact, or reproduce transgenerationally traumatic choreographies.


Papers should be 15 minutes in length and accessible to a multi-disciplinary audience. Interested participants should send a 250 word abstract to Dr. Les Gray ( and Dr. Victoria Scrimer ( Abstracts should include a title and brief (<250 word) author biography.