CFP: "Trans-" ASTR 2016 (3-6 November, Minneapolis, MN)

08 January, 2016 by Joshua Abrams | 0 comments

CFP: "Trans-" ASTR 2016 (3-6 November, Minneapolis, MN)

Call For Papers: American Society for Theatre Research 2016 Conference

We are delighted to announce that the proposal process for the 2016 ASTR (American Society for Theatre Research) conference in Minneapolis is officially open. This link will direct you to the conference page where you can read an expanded version of the call for plenary papers, working sessions, and curated panels on this year’s theme, "Trans-."

The deadline for plenary session, curated panel, and working session proposals is February 1st.

Theatre and Performance have always been concerned with questions of crossing and questions of mobility. Astride of a grave, as the late Herbert Blau reminded us, theatre takes place across the abyss that separates the dead from the living. The OED defines trans- as “across, through, over, to, or on the other side of, beyond, outside of, from one place, person, thing, or state to another.” From Rosi Braidotti’s “transpositions” to an increased focus on transgender politics and representation—what Time Magazine termed “The Transgender Tipping Point”—the prefix trans is ubiquitous today. Susan Stryker suggests that these changes are in part due to contemporary shifting understandings of the question of representation itself. “For the generation that’s grown up amid the turn-of-the-century digital media and telecommunications revolution, transgender often just makes sense intuitively.” (2008:26-8)

Transgender politics offers a number of challenges to the queer studies paradigms that have been so crucial within theatre and performance studies for the past thirty years, yet theatre itself is fundamentally invested in ideas of across-ness and transition. From the Greek origins of Western theatre, in Dionysus and Tiresias, the theatre offers possibilities that might be read provocatively through contemporary explorations of transgenderism. Trans-figuration, trans-gression, translation, trans-formation—these are all terms that have been explored repeatedly within theatre and performance, as well as critically examined in theatre and performance studies. What might our disciplines stand to gain by an explicit focus on this prefix? Theatrical practice is always already transdisciplinary as well, crossing and merging arts, sciences, technology, and music in the questions of presentation and representation.

Such ideas both speak to a centrality of performance in a broader context and open questions within our discipline. ASTR 2016 seeks to open and address these provocative questions. The conference will take place immediately after the next US presidential election, in a political cycle of transition. As we face both local and global change in the transformative, trans-national moments of this decade, we turn the focus to this powerful prefix, exploring theatre's power to transport and transfigure.

In line with these challenges, we invite and encourage proposals for Working Sessions and Curated Panels that seek to imagine new modes of communication and sharing of research, building on the more typical ASTR seminar models. Potential starting points might include models suggested here:

Proposals for Plenary Papers, Working Sessions, and Curated Panels might address questions of:

·         Transgender politics and performance

·         Acts of transfer

·         Transportation, mobility and performance

·         Transracial subjectivity and relations to notions of mestizaje and posthumanism

·         Theatre and Transversality

·         Transoceanic performance practices

·         Theatre in moments of transition

·         Transfiguring theatre/transfigurations within the theatre

·         Trans-species explorations within performance contexts

·         Theatre as trans-action

·         Trans-national capital and neoliberalism

·         Translations and Transfigurations

We look forward to seeing you in Minneapolis next November.  If you have questions, please contact us

Warmest Regards,


Jen Parker-Starbuck and Josh Abrams

Conference Program Co-Chairs



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