Performance Philosophy Biennial Conference: "After Tragedy"

deadline for submissions: 
November 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Performance Philosophy

Performance Philosophy 2024: "After Tragedy" 

May 16-20th 

Austin, Texas


For its May 2024 biennial conference, Performance Philosophy invites proposals for workshops, papers, and keygroup presentations on the theme "After Tragedy."


As we continue to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, rising white nationalist movements, climate disasters, and authoritarian violence around the world, we ask: what forms of performance and thinking might come after tragedy?


We encourage multiple approaches to this theme, ranging from the topic of grief, to collective action, to historiography, to aesthetic form. Questions may include, but are not limited to: 


  • How can performance philosophers contribute to the artistic and scholarly thinking around creative and collective grief practices in the wake of social, environmental, and existential tragedy?
  • What are we to make of the tragic as represented in music and as worked through, in, and by sound art?
  • How does contemporary theater and performance art reflect on, incorporate, and/or move past tragic form?
  • Can performance demand or enact reparations and repatriation?
  • How useful is the category of tragedy for narrating history? Does Karl Marx’s famous dictum, that after tragedy comes farce, still hold? What comes after farce?


Performance Philosophy 2024 will be held on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. The conference is sponsored by the Performance Philosophy Network in collaboration with local cultural organizations including the Rude Mechs Theatre Company, the San Marcos Indigenous Cultures Institute, the Salvage Vanguard Theater, and the Fusebox Festival, alongside partners at the University of Texas at Austin including: the College of Liberal Arts Office of the Dean; Oscar G. Brockett Center for Theatre History and Criticism; Departments of English, Philosophy, Classics, Germanic Studies, and Spanish and Portuguese; the Humanities Institute; the Comparative Literature Program; the British, Irish, and Empire Studies Program; the Digital Writing and Research Lab; and the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies.


Call for proposals

Performance Philosophy welcomes proposals for individual papers, panels, performance workshops and keygroup presentations that address the conference theme.  Please note that the first four formats listed below are all live options to be held in Austin, while the final format is virtual. The conference organizers will work to facilitate technology resources, including a podcast and film studio, recording equipment, computing facilities, and virtual reality headsets by request. Please be aware, though, that particularly complex technical requirements may not be able to be met by the conference, and the more self-reliant presenters are able to be, the better.

The due date to submit proposals is November 15th, we will notify you of your acceptance or rejection by December 8th.

1. Keygroup Presentations

In place of Keynote lectures, Performance Philosophy welcomes Keygroup Presentations. These groups will be created around a topic directly linked to the conference theme of “After Tragedy.” Each group may consist of artists, scholars, researchers, librarians, archivists, educators and other experts from within or outside academia. Already existing working groups, including those from other associations, are welcome to apply. Keygroups will coordinate in advance of the conference, meet during the conference to continue shaping their contribution to fit the contours of the unfolding event, and will produce a live or virtual presentation of their work on the conference’s final day. This presentation is intended to display the group’s working process as much (or more) than a final product, argument, or conclusion. As with many performance philosophy projects, the accent is on the making. We especially encourage keygroups that plan to access the Harry Ransom Center Archives or other university archives as part of their work and will facilitate access to those collections.

2. Conference Presentation or Panel

We welcome proposals for 20 mins conference presentations. The organizers especially welcome proposals for “no paper” presentations in which presenters may use Powerpoint or any other form of visual aid to support their presentation (though any additional presentation materials need to be provided by presenters themselves), but they must not read from a pre-written text. We welcome both individual presentation proposals and full panel submissions(3 presentations of 20 minutes each and a moderator).

3. “Doing together… Watching in the midst of doing” 

We invite proposals for 90 min workshops with the constraint that the majority of the session must involve the physical engagement of the participants in activities. This is not to say that the workshop cannot involve acts of observation or what Allan Kaprow called ‘watching in the midst of doing.’ Likewise, workshops are more than welcome to interrogate the very question of what counts as ‘physical engagement,’ the nature of the relation between participation and observation, the active and the passive and so forth. Workshops can be organized individually or collaboratively. 

4. Performance lectures 

We invite proposals for 20-minute performance lectures. Combining thinking and doing, this format provides opportunities to foreground processes of knowledge creation, reflect on the act of learning, consider potential pedagogical affects made possible by nontraditional methods of teaching, and many more. Performance lectures can be organized individually or collaboratively. 

5. Virtual Programming 

Alongside the in-person event in Austin, Performance Philosophy will be hosting a program of virtual events. We are open to proposals for virtual versions of any of the above formats (keygroups, panel presentations, workshops, and performance lectures) but are particularly interested in hearing proposals for new formats designed specifically as virtual events. 

To Submit a Proposal:

Keygroups are invited to submit a 250-word outline of their plan for the conference and brief bios and contact information of the participants. Please include any basic technical/facilities requests and whether you plan to access the Harry Ransom Center or other local archives.

Proposals for individual papers and individual or collaborative workshops and performance lectures should include a 250-word abstract, a brief bio and contact information of all applicants, and any technical/facilities requests. Submissions for full panels should include 250-word abstracts for each of the presentations and a 100-word description of the overall aims of the panel, along with brief bios and contact information for all participants, the name of a primary contact, and any technical/facilities requests. 

We anticipate conference fees to be $100 for salaried workers, $35 for unsalaried workers and graduate students. We have a limited number of fellowships to cover the conference fee. If you would like to be considered for a fellowship please note that on your proposal and include a brief explanation of around 150 words.

Please email your proposal as a PDF to by November 15th. Please ensure that you include your surname in the file name of the PDF and that you note which format you are proposing. Please do not send any additional documents beyond the material requested above.

For any additional questions please contact the local organizers, Minou Arjomand and David Kornhaber, at