CfP: Performance and Religion WG IFTR Conference 2015, Hyderabad, India

06 December, 2014

IFTR/FIRT Performance and Religion Working Group


for the group’s meeting
at the IFTR Conference in Hyderabad, India, July 2015

Concepts and methods in theatre, performance, religion and spirituality

The 2015 conference in Hyderabad will mark the fifth annual meeting of the Performance and Religion Working Group. While we are justly proud of the work we have done in that time, we have realized that it is necessary at this point to attempt a clearer, more precise articulation of the concepts and methods that bring together the study of theatre, performance, religion and spirituality.

To that end, the group would like to focus its 2015 meeting on a few basic conceptual and methodological questions that will help it develop a more coherent and useful programme of working going forward. This year’s call asks for papers, proposals, interventions and provocations that respond specifically to one of the three questions outlined here, which will be subject to rigorous discussion in Hyderabad. Proposals which do not specifically address one of the three questions below will not be accepted.

Those who may wish to participate in these discussions but would like to present a more general paper are advised to submit it to the general panel sessions or new scholars’ forum, as appropriate, and to participate in the working group’s sessions as a discussant. We encourage all those who would like to be part of the discussions but do not wish to submit a proposal to participate in this manner. If you are interested in doing so, please email the conveners on

The three questions available for proposals to respond to are:

  • How can performance help us make sense of spirituality, especially in the context of contemporary secularism?
  • How can the methods of reseach and analysis developed by theatre and performance studies help us to understand the workings of religion and spirituality?
  • How ought the key concepts of performance, religion and spirituality be most
  • precisely and usefully defined?

While this call asks for responses to these specific questions, it does not demand that these responses be in any particular form. Conventional papers, curated panels, performances, workshops, and provocations of all sorts are welcome. If additional time or space is required beyond 20 minutes in a typical seminar room, these needs should be submitted clearly in the proposal or by email. The group cannot, of course, accommodate all requests, as time and resources are limited, so those submitting proposals are advised to indicate how flexible they can be in their requests.

We welcome both new and current group members, from graduate students to senior scholars, to submit proposals or to participate as discussants. We are particularly keen to ensure the group’s membership reflects the geographic and theoretical diversity of the IFTR. This working group is open to members from all national and cultural backgrounds, and it interests itself in all the world’s religious, spiritual and performative traditions. Both religion and performance are, in our view, sets of social and cultural practices that have a profound and long-lasting importance to those involved in them. Because these practices are so important, we are committed to a nonsectarian inquiry of them. We assume no particular faith or religious affiliation for our members or our work.

Abstracts should be between 250 and 300 words. The group’s working language is English.

The following is the schedule for proposals for the meeting:

  • Abstracts are due no later than 31 January 2015. Please note that for those members who wish to be considered for an IFTR bursary, the deadline is 15th December 2014. Because of the tightness of this deadline, the conveners will make every effort to respond to all questions and submissions that aim for a bursary as quickly as possible. Applicants with concerns should contact the conveners on
  • Notice on acceptance will be given by 28 February 2015.
  • Finalized papers are to be submitted by email by 1 June 2015.
  • Papers will then be distributed to the groups’ members for discussion about a month before the conference. Rather than reading out papers in Hyderabad, we expect participants (including discussants) to read them in advance so that we can maximise the time we have available for discussion.

Abstracts should be submitted through the IFTR’s online system, managed by Cambridge Journals. Please visit

Please note that accepted abstracts will be published in the Congress’s Abstracts Book. Additional information such as the form the proposed submission will take, or information about available dates, should be included on the online form under ‘Equipment required.’ Should this prove insufficient, additional information should be emailed (no attachments, please) to performanceandreligion@gmail.combefore the 31st January deadline.

All questions or concerns should be sent to the group’s conveners, Joshua Edelman (Birkbeck, University of London) and Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen (Department of Musicology and Performance Studies, Stockholm University) at

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