Feminist Research Working Group Call for Papers

16 January, 2015



HYDERABAD, JULY 5-10, 2015


For the Hyderabad Working Group meeting, we invite papers on the theme of the conference: Theatre and Democracy. The questions raised by a focus on democracy, such as theatre’s role within the public sphere, its relationship to democratic institutions, policies, and modes of authority, have profound implications for feminist scholars. The relationship between suffrage and early feminist activists, and their struggle for emancipation, offers us a potent historical lens for the study of the relationship between democracy and feminist theatre practice and protest today. When engaging with the theme, members may want to consider some of the following questions:


1.As feminists, what do we mean by ‘democracy’? How, historically, has feminist scholarship shaped discussions of democracy? Whose version of democracy do we wish to work towards? Is democracy the model of political organisation that we most desire?

2.Systems of theatre and democracy intersect through terms such as ‘representation’, ‘participation’, ‘collectivity’ and ‘speech’.  How do feminist scholars understand these terms, and how do these concepts inform feminist theatre-making processes, performances, and protest?

3.What might constitute a feminist approach to the theatre’s role in the public sphere?

4.How do we imagine and invoke the concept of ‘suffrage’ as an interlinking term between democracy and feminism? What are the legacies of early feminism within current theatre practices and scholarship today, and how do these legacies vary worldwide?

5.How are local theatre groups, artists, directors, performers, policy makers and funders of all stripes, engaging with questions of democracy? How has feminist theory/practice shaped these interventions?  

6.What is the relationship between the institution of theatre and the other institutional structures of democracy (or their absence)?

7.Do theatres and theatre companies function as democracies? Oligarchies?  Who are theatre’s philosopher kings?  What about the queens? What would a republic of theatre look like?

8.How might feminist spectators understand themselves collectively at the theatre? Are we the mob? The polity? The mass? The participants? The disenfranchised? How does feminist theatre practice imagine and constitute its audiences?

9.What forms of past and present theatre practices can be read within the intersection between feminism, theatre and democracy?

10. Feminist theatre practices and theories have been deeply and necessarily concerned with protest, dissent and activism.  Given the emergence of new waves of feminist protest and theatre practice across the world, what role can consensus play in feminist thinking, and what would that form of consensus look like? What is the relationship between consensus and solidarity?

11. What has been the historical relationship between feminism and the left, within communist and socialist movements?

12. How might a feminist lens reveal and critique the relationship between disenchantment and disengagement; democracy and intimidation, corruption and violence?

13. What are the distributions of power within academic systems and practices of scholarship worldwide? Is academia a democracy?

Abstracts for the Feminist Research Working Group should be submitted through the Cambridge Journals Online pages by January 31st, 2015. For more information on this process, go to:



Our Process

The Feminist Research Working Group is composed of scholars from Sweden, India, Pakistan, Britain, China, Japan, South Korea, Chile, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and the United States. It works by circulating papers to members in advance of the conference. In previous years, those who have circulated papers have been invited to speak for no more than seven minutes and are paired with a respondent who offers a seven-minute response. The 15 minute presentation and response format is structured to encourage cross-cultural exchange and is followed by 15 minutes for the group to discuss the work.


The full text of the selected papers (no more than 3000 words) should be emailed to the conveners by 5th June 2015 for uploading into the group’s dropbox. We will also publish the papers on the group’s website. For further information please do not hesitate to contact the conveners. You are reminded that in order to present your paper it is necessary to formally submit your abstract according to the guidelines on the conference website, register for the conference and to become a member of IFTR. You are also reminded that papers can be given to the working group or within the main conference, but you may not do both.

We look forward to continuing our work and welcoming new participants in 2015.


Aoife Monks: a.monks@qmul.ac.uk

Denise Varney: dvarney@unimelb.edu.au

Elin Diamond: elin.diamond@rutgers.edu(advising)




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