XI International Conference of Indian Society for Theater Research - II Call for Papers

23 September, 2014

XI International Conference of

Indian Society for Theatre Research

(In association with International Federation for Theatre Research)


Organized by

Academy of Folk Arts

Mumbai University, Mumbai


14-17 January 2015


Semiotic Encryption of Global Conflict and

Idea of Modernity in Folk Theatre: India and the World


II Call for Papers


[Open for scholars, researchers and practitioners of theatre, dance, music, media and other

Related disciplines]



Folk art can simply be described as the art form of the common man. He has been its creator and at one time was its sole consumer. As an artistic dimension of folk culture, folk art pulsates with human life. Folk art has its origins in society and therefore does not give importance to personal emotions overtly. Nevertheless simplicity and directness are its special features and it eschews technical complexity as well as rigid structure. Folk art aims at instant communication and as it speaks of social themes, the common man finds it easy to identify himself with it. Besides, folk art is imbibed almost unconsciously; it does not demand a disciplined, systematic approach or constant practice. Rather, the actor, the performance area, costumes, make up, the music, the properties together generate a meaning through Icon, Index, and symbol. In other words the dramatic performance is a sign which the audience understands by convention, through symbols, through index and through icon. There has been an inherent system of semiotic comprehensibility among the audience and the practitioner which engenders a shared encryption. Through the ages, the practice of semiotic encryption of the contemporary issues has been used for an intelligent and effective communication and has interfered politically and socially, as well.


On the other hand, as a composite art and semiotic encryption, Folk Theatre in India has always effectively reflected the global conflict with fusion of elements from music, dance, pantomime, versification, epic and ballad recitation, graphic and plastic arts, religion and festival peasantry. The Folk theatre having roots in native culture is embedded in local identity and social values besides providing mass entertainment that have been helping the Indian society as indigenous tools of interpersonal, inter-group and inter-village communication for ages.


Folk theatre has been used extensively in India to propagate critical social, political and cultural issues in the form of theatrical messages to create awareness among the people. As an indigenous form it breaks all kinds of formal barriers of communication and appeals directly to the people with an idea of modernity. But for the ritualistic theatre, which is rooted in different kinds of myths and cults and is confined more within religious contours, the global scenario of the folk performances exhibits a symbiosis that constantly gets replenished with the variedness and enormity. Thus the folk traditions of performances theoretically and practically celebrate the multiplicity of human likes and dislikes, geographical and anthropological reverberations, civilizational journeys of a populace and the making/ unmaking of the identities. All these are reflected and uttered through the ciphers of the encryptions. With the impact of conflicts, protests and activism on the performative map juxtaposed with the contemporary socio-political and economic scenario a signification of the same is being witnessed in the resurgent modern encryptions in the folk theatres. This calls for an interaction of the researchers, practitioners and the audiences by way of researched insights into the behaviours, trends and patterns

Thus under the wide rubric Semiotic Encryption of Global Conflict and Idea of Modernity in Folk Theatre: India and the World, the Conference will deliberate on, but will not be limited to, the following sub-themes:

1.         Semiotics of folk theatre and technology

2.         Process of encryption and the political pressures

3.         Music of Folk Arts and Semiotic Encryption

4.         Semiotics and idea of modernity

5.         Semiotics and spirituality in Folk Theatre

6.         Encryption of global conflicts

7.         Icon, index and mythology in folk theatre

8.         Encrypting modernity and body politics

9.         Traditional semiotics and contemporary issues in folk arts

10.       Semiotics of traditional v/s modern space in folk theatre performances

11.       Folk Arts v/s Cinema: Semiotic of encounters and grammar of encryption

12.       Issues of Cultural Heritage and Semiotics of Folk Arts/Theatre

13.       Protest as the new juice in the cocktail of the folk performances.

14.       Activism and its impact in glocal encryptions of performative ciphers.

15.       Revisiting Modernity through the folk traffic in the neo-liberal performance encryption.


We welcome proposals for general conference and for the Research Scholars’ Forum dealing with the subject. Papers must be no longer than twenty (20) minutes. Research Scholars may also submit short proposals for 10-minute papers focused on their research for presentation in specially organized sessions. All proposals should contain: author; title; around 400 words abstract; intended audience [i.e., General Conference, or Research Scholars Forum]; indication of technical facilities; brief biographical note of the author; full postal address; fax number and e-mail-address at istr.str@gmail.com . The abstract will be accepted after scrutiny to avoid substandard and irrelevant presentations.


Conference Venue:  

The conference will take place at the sprawling campus of Mumbai University at Kalina, (Santacruz – East), Mumbai. Mumbai, the financial capitol of the country is well connected from every corner of the country and the world, as well. However, it is advised that the tickets (for international as well as national journey) should be booked well in advance as the winter in Mumbai witness the peak season of tourism.




a.Submission of abstracts:               15 October 2013 (abstracts will not be accepted after this date)

b.Acceptance                                  15 November 2013

c.Early Registration                          15 December 2013


STR Conference Fee: (for 4 days conference)

  1. a.Early registration
  2. National participants:                           INR 3000
  3. Research Students                              INR 1000
  4. b.Late Registration
  5. National participants:                           INR 4000
  6. Research Students                              INR 1500
  7. International Participants (upon arrival)   USD125
  • Payment method will be informed after the acceptance of the abstract.
  • International participants can make their payment in Indian currency upon arrival also. There is no late registration for them.


Note-1:            Conference Fee includes conference kit, access to all conference events, cultural events and theatre shows, boarding in university accommodation on sharing basis for 5 nights including breakfast, lunch and dinner (Arrival 13 January and departure 18 January – 5 nights only), coffee and snacks during conference and other curtsy special events.


  • There are several hotels in the close vicinity of Kalina campus of Mumbai University; however, the organizers are in process of negotiating the best prices, if you do not want to stay on the campus.
  • Although, city of Mumbai is well connected with metro rail, local trains, city buses, etc., and the taxis are available from every part of the town at all hours of the day, conference organizers are still working out the best suitable airport and railway pickups. A separate notification will be circulated as soon as it is finalized.
  • A day tour of City of Mumbai could also be organized on extra payment. A separate notification will be circulated in due course of time.


Note-2:         The Organizing Committee is also planning to associate with the National Festival of Folk Arts to be organized along with the conference.

Financial Logistics:

Due to lack of financial support, ISTR is not in position to provide any kind of financial support towards the travel cost to national and international participants, however, the efforts are being made to help the research scholars and students to the maximum possible ways, which will be announced soon.


Conference Coordinator:                                                        Conference Secretary:

Prof. (Dr.) Prakash Khandge                                                  Ms. Monika Thakkar

Head, Academy of Folk Arts                                                    Assistant  Professor

University of Mumbai                                                              Academy of Folk Arts

Mumbai                                                                                   University of Mumbai

Email: prakash.khandge@gmail.com                                      Email: monikathakkar27@gmail.com


You may also contact for detail:

Prof. Ravi Chaturvedi

President, ISTR

Email: istr.str@gmail.com



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