Call for Proposals: Performance Studies Focus Group at ATHE, 2015

15 October, 2014


Performance Studies Focus Group

Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Conference

July 30-Aug 2, 2015, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montréal, Québec, Canada:

“Je Me Souviens / I Remember”


Deadline for complete session proposals, submitted online directly to ATHE:

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Deadline for submission of individual papers to the PSFG conference planner, Beth Hoffmann, to be curated into panels: Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014


“Remembering, Differently”


The Performance Studies Focus Group (PSFG) of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) invites paper and session proposals for ATHE’s 2015 annual meeting in Montréal, Québec, Canada. Proposals will be welcomed in many formats—e.g. scholarly panels, seminars, roundtables, performance-based presentations, working groups, and other innovative, alternative-session structures—as well as on all theatre- and performance-related topics, especially those in dialogue with the primary conference themes, in all historical periods, social spaces, and geographical configurations.


The ATHE conference title, “Je Me Souviens / I Remember,” is derived from the motto of Québec. “Memory” and “remembering” are operating not only as generally applicable concepts, then, but also as indices of the complex layers of experiential, historical, architectural, linguistic, legal, and aesthetic registers of national memory producing Montréal as a space in which our conversation together will be unfolding.


Accordingly, PSFG’s specific framing of this broader theme intends to draw attention to the various political and politicized frameworks constitutive of memory and the contextualized act of remembering. “Remembering, Differently” reworks a key phrase from Rebecca Schneider’s Performing Remains (2011), in which sheargues that performance remains, but remains differently—an argument that touches upon the value and efficacy of liveness as constituted through temporality, ephemerality, materiality, and the archive—as well as the core function of these elements in the conceptualization of “performance” as such. In Schneider’s assertion of the difference inherent to how performance remains, the imbricated concepts of memory and remembering emerge as non-identical to themselves in their operations as well. While scholars of theatre and performance have come to accept the notion that many keywords in our field remain in this sense “essentially contested concepts” (Carlson), the question for this conference becomes: how can we understand with more clarity the stakes contouring memory’s particular conditions and effects in its non-identity, and how different scenes and uses of memory are parsed, excavated, claimed, disavowed, and/or rendered “official”? Crucially, if we also acknowledge that memory does not consistently desire the legitimacy of “official” status, how might we articulate the ways in which performance remembers, but remembers differently—especially as a form of resistance? Such questions have obvious ramifications for what is remembered, but extend, in Schneider’s sense, to how and to what end we remember as well.


PSFG welcomes papers and panel dialogues that address the paradoxes and contradictions attendant upon the non-identity of memory and remembering, especially within the following thematic and methodological clusters:


  • Tropes

How do we figure memory in performance? How do we conjure the intangible, the interior, to be made external, emerging into the realm of the tangible, the “given-to-be-seen”? Proust’s famous mnemonic in the form of a madeleine is just one example—but other forms of consumption (whether touristic, gastronomic, retail) serve as well. Other tropes might include “ruins”; ghosts and hauntings; burials; the trace; disappearance; the vogue for the “undead”; dreams; nightmares; abandoned technologies…


  • Technologies

What are the “technologies” (industrial, architectural, nanotech, Foucauldian) of memory? Forms and practices to be reconsidered might include the document; re-enactment; archival practices, especially the emergence of what might be called “popular” archives such as YouTube; the production of canons; ritual; oratures; virtualities; web history; the database; photography; video; film; the multifaceted memory operations of objects such as the smart phone; social media; narratological structures, especially prolepsis and analepsis; and indeed writing itself along with specific genres of writing (including the manifesto and the “futures past” of 20th-century science fiction—or scenes of writing such as Twitter or Snapchat, with complex temporal lives)…


  • Experiential Dynamics

What vocabularies do we have available as we grapple with the phenomenology of memory? Keywords might include trauma; forgetting; absence; melancholy; déjà vu; affective memory; nostalgia; regressions; blindspots; bad conscience; cyclical versus linear orientations; reverie; habitus; speed; fluidity; obsession; loss; consciousness-raising and “false consciousness”…


  • Methodological Vectors

How do we address “memory” as a scene or an object of inquiry—whether in an academic sense, or as a register within the practices of everyday life? How can we think (differently) about the operations of oral history; repertoires; lieux and milieux de mémoire (after Nora); preservation; surrogation; acts of transfer; revivifications; revivals; palimpsests; commemoration; processes of cognition; embodiment; witnessing; verbatim techniques; site-specificity; autobiography; history-as-pastiche; the temporality and historicity of theory; archaeology and genealogy…


  • Practices of Legitimation

Finally, how can we identify and intervene in the power dynamics contouring official and unofficial recognitions of memory? Again, such a question touches upon archival practices; historiography; monuments and spaces of public memory; museum culture; “intangible heritage” and preservation policy; the “invention of tradition” (Hobsbawm); “bad memory” (after Mike Sell); erasures; repressions; information “leaks” and official memory; the jurisprudence of a public “right to know” as well as the private “right to be forgotten”; practices of ownership and public memory; the imagination of “nations” and national identity, especially through the negotiation of national borders; globalization and neoliberal modalities of memory; the role of history in the imagination of contemporary protest movements…


How to Submit Your Proposal:

1. All session proposals are filed electronically directly to ATHE. A link to the session proposal form can be found here. All session proposals have a deadline of November 1. After submission, please forward a copy of your completed proposal to Beth Hoffmann ( Also: please note that all audio-visual technology requests must be included in your completed proposal (see #3 below). FAQs on the session proposal process can be found here.

2. ATHE also accepts proposals for Multidisciplinary (MD) Sessions. Multidisciplinary Sessions must be sponsored by two different focus groups. An ATHE committee may also offer sponsorship to an MD session proposal in lieu of a focus group sponsorship. All MD session organizers must contact the Conference Planners of all sponsoring groups before submitting their session directly to ATHE. More information on proposing Multidisciplinary Sessions is available here.

3. If your session will require the use of audio-visual equipment, you will need to indicate these requirements in the application materials for your session proposal. When indicating your need for an A/V device in the online session application form, please remember to request the appropriate grant to cover the cost of A/V support at the time that you submit your session proposal. The grant must be requested separately from the submission of your proposal. See additional details here. These funds are available, and you are highly encouraged to apply for them. If your session proposal is accepted, you will be notified of the availability of requested A/V equipment when you receive the official PSFG announcement that your session has been accepted and scheduled. ATHE cannot guarantee A/V requests submitted after November 1, and will not accommodate A/V requests made on-site at the conference.

4. While individual papers will receive consideration, submissions that pull together a strong panel of participants are preferred. With individual papers, the Focus Group Conference Planner will curate panels, attempting to match up related papers, but placement cannot be guaranteed. In order to facilitate this process, individual paper proposals must be received directly by the Conference Planner Beth Hoffmann (, by October 29th. These proposals should include title and affiliation, contact information, a brief bio, an abstract of 250 words, and specifications for any A/V needs. If you are looking for co-panelists, please contact a PSFG officer about relaying your inquiries to our group membership—as well as becoming a member of PSFG within ATHE, if you are not already.

5. Notifications for accepted and rejected sessions will be announced no later than March 1, 2015.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, feel free to contact:


Beth Hoffmann

PSFG Conference Planner

Department of English, MSN 3E4

George Mason University

4400 University Drive

Fairfax, VA 22030

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