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CFP for the Theatre History Symposium at the Mid-America Theatre Conference (March 2015)

Posted By Joanne Zerdy, Illinois State University, Thursday, September 4, 2014


Theatre History Symposium

Mid-America Theatre Conference (

Kansas City, March 19-22, 2015


This year’s Theatre History Symposium invites proposals forwarding intellectually and artistically inspiring research questions and methodologies. From objects and images that provoke and challenge our presumptions about subjectivity to texts and performances that demand innovative analytical frames, we seek theatrical catalysts that inspire us to shift our way of thinking about and performing in the world—whether on a global or personal level.

If, as Walter Benjamin writes in The Origin of German Tragic Drama, “Origin is an eddy in the stream of becoming,” then what specific conditions (sociopolitical, cultural, geographical, environmental, or artistic) create such eddies? How might working in the archives, watching or creating a performance, analyzing dramatic literature and productions, or scrutinizing a design sketch lead to moments of rupture within or alternate routes through theatre history and its well-rehearsed “origins”? In what ways have particular artists, theorists, and events inspired new modes of theatre production, performance art, and scholarly research?

In a time of “economic austerity” and political unrest across the United States and abroad, what are the inherent risks or rewards of inspiring acts in artistic, educational, governmental, and cultural sectors? How does power manifest in these moments? What kinds of resistance to notions of inspiration—or aspiration—might our present moment demand and how are these acts reflected in our theatrical past? What insights might be gained by focusing on seemingly uninspiring (banal, quotidian, bland) subjects in research? We welcome your proposals encapsulating these or other rigorous scholarly questions encompassing the 2015 MATC theme of “Inspiration.”

Please submit proposals via email in Word or PDF Format to and include the following:

Your name, title (student, faculty, independent scholar), academic affiliation (if applicable), and a brief biography.

Your contact information (particularly email).

The title and abstract for your paper. Please limit abstracts to 250 words.

Any audiovisual elements requested for your presentation. We cannot always guarantee audiovisual support, but will endeavor to take requests into account. Late requests may not be honored.

We also welcome proposals for full panels. Contact the co-chairs for more information.


Chrystyna Dail, PhD                            Joanne Zerdy, PhD

Ithaca College                                      Illinois State University

Theatre History Symposium Co-Chairs

All proposals must be received by October 15, 2014

Robert A. Schanke Award

The Robert A. Schanke Research Award is given annually to an untenured faculty presenter of the Theatre History Symposium and carries a cash award of $500 as well as consideration for publication in Theatre History Studies, the journal of the Mid-America Theatre Conference. To be eligible for the Schanke Award, candidates must submit full, conference-length versions of their paper to the co-chairs at the email address above by February 20, 2015.

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