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Adaptation, Translation, and Visibility

Amateur Acts: Performance and the Unsanctioned

Beyond the State: Performances of Trans-Bodies in Central-Eastern Europe, Eurasia and Russia

Bodies out in the Open, Mourning as Transgression: Necropolitics and Performance

Ecology and/of/in Performance Working Group

History Has Its Eyes on You: Musical Theatre’s Moments of Transition

Methodological Transfiguration: Transforming Artist-Scholar Relationships in Indigenous Performance Research

Performance In The Age Of Transparency: Biopolitics, Biotechnology & Biogenetics

Performing War: Acts of Transgression and Transformation

Puppetry and Material Performance

Race and Performance in Transnational East Asia

Resisting the Margins: Positioning Transgender Performance Center-Stage

Shakespearean Performance Research Group

Site-Based Theatre as a Trans-Contextual Experience

The Future in the Present: The Transtemporalities of Minoritarian Performance

The Transglobal and Transmedial Eighteenth Century

The transitive is transformative: Opportunities and Constraints in Performative Social Practice

Theater and Transmedia

Theatre and Real Estate

Theorizing from the South: Contemporary Theater and Criticism in Latin America and Transections: Performance Studies in/from the Global South

Theorizing Transtemporality and Performance

Training/Trans—: Performance Training as Translation, Transfer, Transformation, and Transition

Trans Methods for Trans Materials

Transfeminisms: Translating, Transgressing, and Transforming Feminisms

Transfigured Performance

Transfusions and Transductions: Science and Performance as Permeable Disciplines

Transgressions and Translations in Early Modern Spain

Transhistorical and Transdisciplinary: Emotions and Affect Across Time, Space, and (Scholarly) Traditions

Transient Performance

Translating beyond text: bodies, cultures, epistemologies

Transmedia Fan Culture: Performers across Platforms and their Audiences

Transplants: Food/Theatre/Performance

Transposition & Transformation: Medieval Performance in Contemporary Research and Production

Trans-racial Performance, Identity, and Belonging in the 21st century

Transspecies Performance

Transverting Whiteness

Traumatic Structures Working Group: Trans-forming Trauma?

Video Games and Gaming: Towards a Transmedial Analysis

Adaptation, Translation, and Visibility

Scott Proudfit, Elon University
Daniel Smith, Michigan State University

What is the relationship between Adaptation, Translation, and Visibility? What is gained by considering adaptation and translation together? Indeed, are they discrete terms or is all translation a type of adaptation? Inspired in part by the recent critical controversy over Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s “Play On” initiative, this Working Group proposes an exploration of translation, adaptation, originality, and visibility. Lawrence Venuti’s framing of the translator’s invisibility has been a central theme in Translation Studies for twenty years; Dorothy Chansky has recently drawn on Venuti’s work to argue for increased visibility of translation in pedagogical approaches to the canon of dramatic literature. Analysis of linguistic translations consider the transfer from source language to target language, and from source culture to target culture. To what extent is this vocabulary applicable to Adaptation Studies (source genre/target genre; source mode/target mode)? And must the concept of “source” always carry with it beliefs in the aura of the original, as Walter Benjamin would have it, determining how translations and adaptations are (under)valued? Is translation always adaptation as Julie Sanders defines it, “an inherently conservative genre” that by nature confers authority to the source? Or can translation also act as appropriation and challenge/subvert sources? Moreover, where do we place works that resist categorization, for instance, David Ives’s hybrid “translaptations” of Moliére and other French playwrights?

Potential topics include:

  • Translation as Adaptation/Adaptation as Translation
  • Translation and Adaptation as Authorship/Translation and Adaptations by Authors known for "original" works
  • Adaptation and Translation as unstable/historically contingent categories
  • Collaborative Translations/Devised Adaptations
  • Technologies of Translation and Adaptation

Participants will submit a 250 word abstract through the ASTR website; inquiries directly to the session organizers are welcome. After selection, participants will draft a 10-15 page paper to be circulated to the full group by October 1. The participants will be paired in order to optimize transdisciplinary discussion (i.e. a translation case study with an adaptation case study; a historical case study with a contemporary case study). Because we anticipate a relatively small working group and we intend to focus on larger issues generated by the papers, two hours should allow us time to have an in-depth and productive conversation. In addition to presenting the ideas (and reactions to the ideas) contained within the group’s essays, this session will also offer a time for work in small groups, perhaps with attendees as well as participants, to brainstorm initiatives to address one particular issue within our fields. For example, how might we encourage our students to better recognize and appreciate the labor of translation and adaptation?

A goal of this working session will be to continue to define and refine the terms "translation" and "adaptation" within the context of theatrical performance. Therefore, each group of paired participants will be expected to offer a definition of these concepts during the session and to further shape their definitions in conversation with the group.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at sproudfit@elon.edu and smit2030@msu.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Amateur Acts: Performance and the Unsanctioned

Leon J. Hilton, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania Iván A. Ramos, UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow, UC-Riverside

This working group proposes to investigate the figure of the amateur in historical and contemporary theater and performance, with a particular emphasis on minoritarian, experimental, and avant-garde traditions. We understand the term “amateur” not merely in the commonly referenced vernacular sense of the unprofessional who performs simply out of “love” (from the Latin amator) but more expansively as an ethos that performance makers of all kinds have engaged in all sorts of imaginative ways. We are interested, that is, in how the amateur has been conceptualized (variously) as an attitude, a state of mind, and even an insult. In accordance with this year’s ASTR theme, we view the amateur as a figure that transgresses and transcends aesthetic hierarchies by exceeding (or failing to meet) expectations of mastery, virtuosity, and professional achievement—and therefore as a queerly magnetizing topic for theater and performance studies to take up. At once fetishized and scorned, the amateur elicits unnerving responses: embarrassment and anxiety, but also envy, passion—and yes, even love. These feelings will be the working group’s terrain.

The amateur, we propose, offers a powerful analytic for theorizing minoritarian performance practice, especially as it arises within the “unsanctioned” precincts of the bar, the basement, the alleyway, or the bedroom. The amateur here might refer not only to human performers, but also the illicit or unofficial use of spaces, methods, and genres. We are especially interested in how the presence of the amateur’s “untrained” body disrupts and unsettles the formal/aesthetic hierarchies of theater, performance art, music, dance, and other performance modes. We are also concerned with the ever-expanding topographies of amateur performance in contemporary digital culture, and would like to query how new forms of amateur performance can be situated in relationship to aesthetic genealogies of the amateur that stretch back at least as far as the Modernist roots of the avant-garde. And we are keen to consider how and why amateur performances appear (or do not appear) in the archive. How might our understanding of theater and performance history be expanded if we place the amateur at the center of our analysis? What archives must be consulted in order to discover projects and performers that exist outside of the bounds of institutional memory? How does the category of the amateur interface with race, class, gender, disability, sexuality? Pursuing these questions will require exploring amateur modes of temporality, spaciality, spectatorship, and circulation.

Possible projects might address the conceptual figure of the amateur as it relates to:

  • minoritarian aesthetic traditions
  • collaborations between non-professional and professional performers
  • untrained bodies
  • the affects of the ordinary, the quotidian, and the non-spectacular
  • “deskilling”
  • community-based performance
  • political actions and public demonstrations
  • performance in alternative spaces (backyards, parking lots, squats, street corners)
  • nightlife performance
  • performance on YouTube and other online platforms
  • the amateur within the space of the arts institution
  • the affect economy and the casualization of artistic, intellectual, and other forms of labor
  • the amateur within theater and performance archives

The working group convenors will circulate a set of short readings relating to the group’s themes two months before the conference. One month before the conference convenes, participants will be expected to submit to the group 1-page “position papers” in responding to the readings in relationship to their own projects. Group participants will be divided into three subgroups of four participants each (approximately, depending on the number of submissions received). They will circulate drafts of their papers (10-15 pp.) to their subgroups one week before the conference. At the conference session, we will begin with introductions (participants will give brief summaries of their work to the group) and the convenors will pose a few guiding questions drawn from the position papers. The remaining part of the first hour will be spent discussing individual papers in subgroups. For the second hour, we will reconvene and share some our findings, propose further questions, and suggest potential directions for future research.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at leon.hilton@gmail.com. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Beyond the State: Performances of Trans-Bodies in Central-Eastern Europe, Eurasia and Russia

Jacob Juntunen, Southern Illinois University
Margarita Kompelmakher, University of Minnesota
Yana Meerzon, University of Ottawa

In The Political Lives of Dead Bodies, Katherine Verdery describes how the discovery of mass graves, the reburial of national heroes, and the removal of monuments depicting extraordinary Soviet figures formed a body politics that facilitated the post-1989 process of transition in former Soviet territories and satellite states. According to Verdery, the unique advantage of the body in politics is that it provides “a concreteness that nonetheless transcends time, making past immediately present” (Verdery: 2013). Building on this insight, this working group takes trans- as a point of departure to investigate the body as a performing site that shifts and challenges our understanding of politics in the region prior and post-1989. We invite participants whose work examines bodily practices in excess of state-enforced censorship historically and today, as well as projects that address the proliferation and institutionalization of forms of trans-performance under the demands of global capitalism and human rights.

Accordingly, we are interested in a wide-range of topics including, but not limited to: bodily practices among refugees, migrants, and minorities; medical and scientific uses of bodies; virtual technologies and prosthetic-bodies such as performing objects and puppets in memory politics; performance protocols of being “human” and influence of discourses such as human rights; forms of cultural diplomacy and cross-cultural exchange; and trans-body performance in the region’s historiography.

In early September, convenors will circulate three short readings on trans-bodies to build a foundational vocabulary among group members. Drawing on the vocabularies and trajectories of trans- presented in the readings, group members will write a 5-7 page position paper by mid October that situates their research in the field of trans-body studies. In Minneapolis, participants will be asked to bring an object, document, article or ethnographic anecdote specific to their position paper research. For the first half of our meeting, we will split up into small groups where members will (a) discuss their research object and the question that object situates about trans-bodies (b) respond to the group’s position papers and broader theoretical intersections. In the second half, groups will create a “graphic recording” of their discussion and present it to the other three groups and the audience at large. Lastly, we will reserve time at the end of the session to discuss the prospect of an edited anthology on the subject of trans-bodies and performance in Central-Eastern Europe, Eurasia and Russia.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at jjuntunen@siu.edu, komp0026@umn.edu, and Yana.Meerzon@uottawa.ca. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Bodies out in the Open, Mourning as Transgression: Necropolitics and Performance

Eylül Fidan Akıncı, The Graduate Center CUNY Sevi Bayraktar, UCLA

In this working session, we will investigate the relationship between necropolitics and performance. The political status of those killed by the state or by the systemic instabilities that the state allows hovers between life and death, creating an ontological transgression, a colossus as Giorgio Agamben describes. Both the necropower and counter/publics it produces have to reinterpret and reconfigure this transgressive status through public performances (such as graphically disposing or laying bare of the corpses, or collectively grieving in protest). Such ontological transversality is not only what we seek to decipher by analyzing performances around necropolitics, but it is also situated at the core of political subjectivity at the current moment of “war on terrorism,” which expands the sovereignty of the nation-state into a transnational context.

Building on Achille Mbembe’s definition of the term, we propose that necropolitics deploys spectacular and performative aspects in governing over populations through killing and letting die. Although the logistics behind wars, camps, genocides and colonialism rationalize the deaths of massive amounts of bodies by re-territorializing and rendering them invisible or inconceivable, the modern state has to reframe these deaths in a rather spectacular narrative to fully legitimize its actions. Thus, the state summons its public by the very force of that spectacle. These forms of legitimized killing also interpellate counterpublics, whose grief is no less spectacularly intervened in, doubling over the performativity of necropower. With this session, we want to unpack these various social and artistic performances around organized death and collective mourning.

The goal of this working session is to create a discussion particularly on three critical questions: First, how performance is situated and in dialogue with the matrices of organized death and precarious life; and second, how performance and choreographic analyses provide tools to understand potential tactical acts against the spectacular necropolitics.

Because the sovereign power as the war machine has transformed within the neoliberal economy and postcolonial capitalism, the modes of signification and affects through which individuals and collectives make sense of and react to the necropolitics have also changed. The third question, then, aims to examine the transformations of affects and dramaturgies that articulate and accumulate around the responses to the necropower, including performances of collective mourning.

The discussion is open to a variety of case studies, archival research, and ethnographic fieldwork besides theatre and performance studies literature that has an expansive repository of responses to letting die and murder as sovereign gesture. The working group will embrace research on theatre and performance responding to issues involving but not limited to:

  • Black Lives Matter movement as well as other instances of racial profiling and police violence;
  • Post-colonialism, refugees, camps, new technologies of letting die;
  • Military coups, curfews, and other forms of permanent/temporary states of exception;
  • “War on terrorism,” drone wars, the entertainment culture and media on war;
  • Femicidad as well as mutilations and murders of women in a transnational context;
  • Occupational and labor- related mortality under performance based working regulations;
  • Queer necropolitics, such as trans murders and interdictions around AIDS.

Once participants have been selected and notified we will circulate selected parts from Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer, and Achille Mbembe’s article “Necropolitics” to provide a common ground for our conversation, though papers need not address them or use their frame. Two months prior to the conference, participants will submit their short papers (8-10 pages). Participants will then be divided into smaller groups based upon thematic and theoretical interests, and will begin to share feedback and ideas with these smaller groups. During the conference session, participants will have the opportunity to share papers with the larger group and discuss connections between the papers and the larger session themes.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at efakinci@gmail.com, and sevibayraktar@gmail.com. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Ecology and/of/in Performance Working Group

Angenette Spalink, Independent Scholar-
Jonah Winn-Lenetsky, Northern New Mexico College
Lisa Woynarski, Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, University of London

Climate change and large scale ecological conundrums could be described as “trans” in nature as they traverse recognized categories, borders or boundaries. They are trans-national or trans-global in scale and affect all living beings: humans, animals, plants and other organisms. Growing out of the performance and ecology seminar at ASTR 2005/Toronto, and continuing as a research group at ASTR's 2010/Seattle, 2012/Nashville, 2014/Baltimore, 2015/Portland conferences, this research group has been at the fore of the emergent field of performance and ecology. In 2016, in response to ASTR's theme “Trans-”, we turn our attention to the intersectional nature of ecological performance, with particular focus on recent developments in posthumanism, trans-corporeality and material feminisms, queer ecology, and transdisciplinary practice and activism. Pursuing what Theresa May calls “ecodramaturgy” (2011), this year's session will focus on how theatre and artistic performance engages three emerging threads under the umbrella of posthumanism and their relevance to theatre and performance: 1) Trans-corporeality (Alaimo), and the effects/consequences/stakes of the intermeshing between human and more-than-human “bodies”; 2) Queer ecology and Greta Gaard’s proposition of ecofeminism as a way of radically re-conceiving what she calls “normative dualisms” in and through performance: such as nature vs. urban, or interior and exterior; 3) The necessity of transdisciplinary thinking and practice in understanding and acting on climate change and other complex ecological issues. Through putting these seemingly disparate threads of environmental activism in concert, we propose to debate their interrelatedness and efficacy for and within theatre and performance.

We welcome proposals for both traditional and creative/artistic scholarship (including performative writing, practice-as-research documentation, etc). Specifically, papers might want to pursue the following lines of inquiry:

  • Trans-corporeality and how it might shift or alter our approaches to theatre and performance.
  • The effects or stakes of acknowledging more-than-human (and often invisible) “bodies” on stage or in a performance
  • Material feminisms and the performativity of nonhuman “matter,” including postcolonial perspectives.
  • Queer ecology and the “queering” of performance and ecology discourses. Queer ecology as the radical dissolution of binaries (Morton, Barad, Mortimer-Sandilands).
  • Transdisciplinary practice or transdisciplinary imagination towards addressing “wicked” problems.
  • Trans-national and trans-disciplinary performance as a questioning of received notions of borders and boundaries
  • The relationship between activism and material agency in performance.

In advance of the conference, session participants will exchange papers and engage in peer review of one another's work in order to raise key questions around the threads of the trans-corporeality, queer ecology, and transdisciplinary practice/thinking/activism. We will be holding online discussions around these themes and relevant, related practice, through the ASTR website Group function (as we did last year). During our working session, we will be undertaking small group discussions with in-depth analysis and critical review of papers/ideas around the threads by sub-sets of participants, followed by a plenary discussion in which the sub-groups share the key connections and conundrums emerging from their joint discussion of research and propose new areas of research development. We will also discuss possible formats for dissemination of the research coming out of the working group.

Drawing together research and performance from the Global South and the Global North, and building on the anthologies (such as Readings in Performance and Ecology, edited by Theresa May and Wendy Arons, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), publications, and research-engaged performance spawned by this working group over the past decade, this session will forward the conversation by calling for inquiries into how theatre and artistic performances, in an age of intense climate change and other ecological dilemmas, can engage/critique/reveal ecological dialogues embedded in posthumanist discourses.

As a research group, we plan on engaging with the locality of the city. We will be taking a field trip to a site in the city to supplement our working session and build on some of the relevant ecological issues addressed in our discussions.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at angenette.stacer@gmail.com, winn0044@gmail.com, and lisa.woynarski@cssd.ac.uk. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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History Has Its Eyes on You: Musical Theatre’s Moments of Transition

Laura MacDonald, University of Portsmouth
Bryan M. Vandevender, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

American musical theatre history is often told through investigations of landmark works whose form and content represented a deviation from the genre’s prevailing conventions at particular moments in time. These properties are frequently mythologized given the ground they were breaking introduced new approaches to song, story, and dance that altered musical theatre’s identity thus far and helped to expand its repertoire. Of late, critics and musical theatre enthusiasts have hailed Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton (2015) as the latest game-changer, demonstrating radical new possibilities for how musicals can be written and staged. Similar claims of remarkable transformation in the form are made of earlier watershed musicals such as Rent (1996), Company (1970), Hair (1967), Cabaret (1966), West Side Story (1957), Oklahoma! (1943), Show Boat (1927), and Shuffle Along (1921).

Investigating moments of transition in form and content allows musical theatre scholars to examine not only the genre’s aesthetic transformation, but also the cultural forces and material conditions that encouraged its metamorphosis, thereby providing a richer and more consequential account of the musical that stands counter to the idolatrous and anecdotal histories challenged by David Savran, Stacy Wolf, and Raymond Knapp. Furthermore, moments of transition ask us to consider how the genre’s continual transformation affects performance, pedagogy, and the archive, and in doing so, necessarily transforms the work of musical theatre practitioners, educators, and historians. This working session asks participants to select a moment of influential transformation in musical theatre history, theorize and justify its significance, and then identify and explain its performative, pedagogical, and archival consequences.

Interested scholars should submit an abstract of no more than 500 words to the ASTR website. Proposals addressing musical works outside of the conventional repertoire are welcome, as are proposals that attend to current moments of transition. Selected participants will compose a 1,000-word manifesto that addresses their chosen transitional musical, which can be written in the style of a traditional academic paper. In addition, participants will outline a practical exploration of the chosen musical's “transition.” Participants can choose between performance, pedagogy or research (recognizing that these intersect but for the purposes of the working group, focusing on one approach). Performance explorations could take the form of a pitch to direct, design, or choreograph the musical; or a plan for the rehearsal of a particular scene or song. Pedagogical explorations might take the form of a lesson plan for teaching the chosen musical in a lecture, seminar or practical class, with undergraduates or postgraduates. A research exploration could introduce relevant archival material documenting the musical's innovation; or survey existing historiography, identifying gaps and introducing strategies for expanding musical theatre historiography. In addition to providing a justification for the chosen transitional musical, abstracts should include a description of the scholar’s intended practical exploration.

Based on the submissions received, the convenors will craft a program for the working session allowing for a balance of manifesto discussion and testing out of practical explorations (interested participants may therefore be asked to briefly participate as students or performers). In order to encourage participants to think broadly about the topic, all participants will read and comment on each other’s manifestos and proposed explorations in advance of the meeting. The convenors will also suggest 1-2 relevant readings in advance, which may prove useful while preparing final drafts and as the basis for common ground during group discussions. The group as a whole (including observers) will reconvene for the latter part of the working session in order to tie together conversations and practical work, and to consider the implications of the working session for future performance, pedagogy and research.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at laura.macdonald@port.ac.uk, and vandeveb@uwosh.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Methodological Transfiguration: Transforming Artist-Scholar Relationships in Indigenous Performance Research

Co-Conveners: Jill Carter, University of Toronto
Adron Farris, University of Georgia
Heidi L. Nees, California Polytechnic State University

Ric Knowles states, "the Indigenous world has always been...a performative one," and "relationships between Indigenous communities and nations have always been negotiated in large part through performance.” To do their work, theatre and performance studies scholars must enter into a relationship with artists, texts, and the communities for and about whom they create and in which their performed (hi)stories are rooted. These transcultural/transdisciplinary encounters are performed regularly in the “dramas” of information gathering, data interpretation, knowledge creation and the dissemination of results/findings. At the end of the day, the product of the research encounter is a performance of relationships across disciplines and cultures.

Oftentimes, instead of constructive sites of collaboration, the research process becomes a site of collision, in which relationships become strained. Many Indigenous artists express unease and/or confusion when they consider the aftermath of their performative encounters with the scholarly adventurer. At the same time, Indigenous artists continue to cry out for relationships, enacted through a more informed and rigorous “critical discourse” around contemporary Indigenous performance than has heretofore been manifested (Yvette Nolan). Time and again, across National and International landscapes, transcultural conversations regarding Indigenous performance practices have engendered great discussion at conferences: however, a large majority of critical scholarship fails to acknowledge Indigenous knowledge systems outside of European-Euroamerican critical frameworks. Thus, well-intended research collaborations inevitably perpetuate colonial mentalities, even when decolonization is at the forefront of such work. How then might we develop and perform generative research collaborations governed by the ethics of respect and reciprocity?

This year, the working group will take the form of a collaborative working session during which all participants will contribute to a vision-plan that imagines a process through which to recover “old networks of trade and exchange [and through which to create] new networks of [trans] Indigenous [and transcultural] interactions as yet unimagined.” We seek to transgress rigid notions of scholarship with the hope of establishing prudent transcultural frameworks and partnerships in Indigenous Studies. Through this working group, we hope to explore and foster trans-methodological approaches to Indigenous performance research and consider frameworks across cultural and regional lines. What do transcultural relationships look like? Who is initiating the crossing? From which direction, for what direction? When working with sacred knowledge systems, how does one go about establishing frameworks that are transparent, healthy, productive, and easily understood?

Over the months leading up to the conference, group participants will reflect on their practices as scholars/artists and generate ideas for working conditions through which research collaborations may successfully be carried out. Through a process of sharing research findings, informed critical materials, interviews, and group discussions, we will collectively (re)define discursive boundaries with the intention of transgressing and reimagining the field’s limitations.

We ask that interested scholars and artists submit a proposal that includes a brief bio that outlines their research/artistic practices, the pressing questions they pose in their work, and the issues they seek to explore. Rather than working through individual papers for this year's working session, we will work collaboratively to generate a set of working conditions and methodologies for future research partnerships.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at jill.carter@utoronto.edu, cafarris@uga.edu, and hnees@calpoly.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Performance In The Age Of Transparency: Biopolitics, Biotechnology & Biogenetics

Dr. Gabriella Calchi Novati, ISAP ZURICH
Dr. Malin Palani, Macalester College
Dr. Andrew Wilford, University Of Chichester

This working session will explore intersections of performance and theatre with biopolitics, biotechnology, and biogenetics by looking at the ways in which life increasingly resides in a transversal realm of indistinction, which produces live (i.e. concrete and tangible) consequences within digital and embodied environments. The working session seeks to understand what theatre and performance studies can learn from a critical inquiry into biopolitics, biotechnology, and biogenetics to examine ways in which contemporary ideology gravitates towards concerns regarding transparency. By drawing on the etymology of transparency—from the Latin trans- “through” and parere “come in sight, appear”—we propose to investigate transparency and its absence as it occurs across wider areas of study which may include cinema, visual and performance arts, video gaming, and digital humanities.

As contemporary philosopher Byung-Chul Han claims “such insistence on transparency is occurring in a society where the meaning of ‘trust’ has been massively compromised,” this working session invites participants that aim to untangle how transparent biopolitics permeate our everyday and how transparency has become a major political means of power, empowerment and disempowerment. From governmental performances to activism, from CCTV cameras to airport body-scans, from the online response of the Paris attacks to the propaganda of terrorist organisations such as ISIS, from Wikileaks to Vatileaks, from whistleblowers to Anonymous—what is at stake is the problematic issue of transparency, that is, of what our “right to know,” or “not to know” actually means.

Further, for bio-transgenic corporealities—from biomaterial markets to Bodyworlds—the stakes of transparency are also rooted in the passage of biomaterials across, beyond, and outside of bodies in biotechnological transformations. The trans-actions of power in the practices of biotechnology—including gene mapping, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and blood and tissue sample collection—are embedded in questions concerning transparency, namely the mapping of the human genome, the rights to biomaterials, the profits and markets associated with biomaterials and the apparent reduction of life to scientific codes of identification through information.

Through paradigms of transparency and opacity, the working session will aim to pose and examine questions concerning:

  • How are boundaries of bodies produced, contested, transformed, abstracted and managed?
  • How are the transpositions of power embedded in the blood, fat, tissues, cells, DNA, and other bio-materials moved through multiple performing embodiments and contexts?
  • How might the paradigms of transparency-opacity inform biopolitics of capitalist economies and definitions of value for bio-materials and bio-information?

The main aim of the working group is to further engage with the conference’s theme “trans-“ by proposing a close investigation of the critical concept of “transparency” through biopolitics, biotechnology and biogenetics.

How are the biological boundaries of bodies produced, contested, transformed, and managed in our biotech age; how might performance practices draw attention to and stimulate discussion around the ethics and politics of biotechnology; how does the technologically-enabled mobility of bio-materials participate in a capital economy; and how might performances reveal and/or conceal biotechnological transpositions of power embedded in the blood, fat, tissues, cells, DNA, and other bio-materials that move through multiple performing embodiments and performance contexts.

In order to make more apparent some of the daily performances of transparency, group members will be invited to join a field trip to visit urban sites and architectures within Minneapolis’ design narrative of transparency: from the Minneapolis Central Library to the Weisman Art Museum, from the glass curtain wall of the IDS Center to its Crystal Court. Please note that it is likely that this activity will take place before registration, on the day that the conference begins, in order not to coincide with any of the scheduled panels of ASTR.

In addition the working group welcomes participants from all disciplines, including (but not limited to) critical theory, political philosophy, performance studies, cultural studies, theater studies, anthropology, sociology, geography, visual culture and digital humanities. We would welcome proposals from established scholars, independent scholars, and post-graduate students.

Sharing the ethos of ASTR conference, this working group invites inter-disciplinary, cross-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary approaches. For the working group we propose the following schedule:

  1. Scholars submit up to 500-word abstracts. Interested participants will submit a 500-word abstract with a short bio.
  2. Upon acceptance, scholars will develop 10-12 page papers, which will be circulated to the group.
  3. All participants will read their colleagues’ papers.
  4. Participants are grouped according to interests and to complement each other.
  5. An online platform will be arranged for participants’ intellectual exchange throughout the process (i.e. from commenting on each other’s abstract to the paired dialogues ahead of the working session).
  6. Interest groupings dialog about how the others’ work fit into the session’s theoretical framework.
  7. The working session will focus on inciting theoretical dialogue amongst individuals’ research.

We propose that:

  • Hour one: Each participant of the working session will offer a short provocation of the main points of their papers to the group and open audience.
  • Hour two: Group discussion on the overall issue of transparency in the intertwining of biopolitics, biotechnology and biogenetics.
  • Hour three: Workshop exploration and discussion of the field trip alongside evaluating potential publishing directions for the working group to consider.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at calchinovatig@gmail.com, mpalani@macalester.edu, and A.Wilford@chi.ac.uk. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Performing War: Acts of Transgression and Transformation

DeAnna Toten Beard, Baylor University
Jenna L. Kubly, Independent Scholar

This body will convene a diverse group of scholars, methodologies, and research interests to participate in an ongoing conversation about the complex relationship between war and performance. In concert with the larger conference theme, the working group is interested in projects that consider the many ways that transgressive acts associated with war—for example, physical destruction, psychic violence, border crossing, political betrayal—both transform performance and are transformed by/in performance.

Papers might address how theatre, drama, civic performances, musicals, operas, popular entertainments, re-enactments, and dance relate to the following ideas:

  • How does the environment of violence impact theatre in a war-zone? On the Home Front? In a P.O.W. camp or concentration camp?
  • What are the artistic and ethical implications of presenting images of wartime violence on stage?
  • How has war-time drama supported soldiers and citizens negotiating the transition from peace time to war time—and then back again?
  • How might war and war-time theater offer a liminal space for explorations of transgender/sexuality?
  • How do voices of pacifism and reconciliation become transgressive during the climate of war?
  • How does the literal act of border crossing by combatants in times of war create opportunities for transcultural performance? How is artistic border crossing made suspect by war?
  • How do translations or transmissions of war-time texts operate as propaganda, modes of resistance, or documents of “truth-telling”?

The goal of the working group is to form a community of scholars and practitioners invested in this unifying theme. Through two rounds of paper exchanges with small subgroups, each participant is offered the change to give and receive feedback and suggestions on the completed 15-20 page work. During the conference session, participants will caucus in groups over questions suggested by the convenors, before coming together for a discussion that will include all participants.

Images, video, music or other multimedia to accompany the papers are strongly encouraged, but the participant must be able share it with the group prior to the conference (i.e. via a website link or Dropbox). There will be no media provision in the conference session.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at DeAnna_Toten_Beard@baylor.edu and JLKubly@yahoo.com. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Puppetry and Material Performance

Alissa Mello, Independent Scholar
Dawn Brandes, University of King’s College
Lawrence Switzky, University of Toronto
Veronika Ambros, University of Toronto

Throughout its history, puppet and material performance have embodied what could be termed a trans-state. Objects fluidly transition between states—life and death, animacy and inanimacy, puppeteer and puppet—as performers work through material to create the appearance of life. Puppet and material performance play diverse roles and cross apparently impermeable barriers: through the dissemination of cultural knowledge, as agents of dissent, as a means of voicing the socially unvoiceable, as pastime and amusement. Performers and early itinerant players cross or transcend national boundaries. This Session will explore puppet and material performance through various notions of trans-, including transgender and representation, trans-nationality, transgression, transitional states, translations, and transformations (of materials, persons, spaces, ideologies). Working Group participants are invited to engage in theoretical, historical, or contemporary analyses of puppetry and material performance. Individual case studies might investigate, but are not limited to:

  • The transgender gaze in puppetry
  • Trans-gressive and trans-formative aesthetics and dramaturgies of puppet and material performance
  • Transitional states of material performers and live actors, or of puppet and puppeteer
  • Trans-fusions of persons and matter, e.g. bio-objects
  • Trans-national and trans-disciplinary puppet and material practices and performance
  • Translation in and as puppet and material performance
  • Trans-disciplinary approaches to research
  • Transitional objects i.e. ritual objects, psychological objects
  • Trans-lingual exchanges between the voices of subjects and visual or sculptural objects (e.g. ventriloquism, voiceovers, ekphrasis, and other forms of vocal projection)
  • Trans-cultural performance practices, productions and dramaturgies
  • Transfers between "high" and "low" culture

Papers (8-10 pages) should be distributed to all session participants by October 1. Leading up to the conference, the moderators will divide participants into smaller thematic groups, and participants will be asked to read and comment on the papers in their subgroup by November 1 using our online discussion board. At ASTR, participants will first present brief (1 - 2 minute) abstracts of their papers at the start of the session in order to help familiarize audience members with each project. Participants and audience members will then divide into their subgroups to discuss the themes that linked their papers, and then reconvene with the larger group to exchange ideas. The goals of the Working Session are to provide a broader critical context for puppetry scholarship and to develop essays for publication.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at alissa.mello@gmail.com, dawn.brandes@ukings.ca, lawrence.switzky@utoronto.ca, and veronika.ambros@utoronto.ca. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Race and Performance in Transnational East Asia

Soo Ryon Yoon, Northwestern University
Ji Hyon (Kayla) Yuh, CUNY Graduate Center

This working session invites papers in conversation with emergent scholarship on race and performance in the transnational East Asian context. Largely because of assumed homogeneity of the people of East Asia, many theatre and performance scholars have not centered this site in discussions around race and racism. The region’s dynamic history, however, shows that East Asia as a region and an epistemological concept has moved beyond its juridical and geographical borders through the circulation of people, goods, and ideas, producing racial and ethnic heterogeneity that often manifests in aesthetic forms such as performance. This porous and transnational nature of East Asian culture and performance merits further scholarly investigation. That the term “race” itself to a certain degree was introduced as part of colonial Western system of knowledge production at the end of the nineteenth century sometimes disengages us from attending to longue durée of performative manifestations of racial consciousness internally shaped in the sociopolitical conditions of East Asia. In reality, indigenous performance genres in East Asia as well as performances developed within the Western theatrical traditions have offered a space to interrogate the boundaries of race. Within this context, we will raise questions of how race is understood and racialization takes place in the transnational East Asian context by looking at various modalities of performance. In keeping with the conference theme, we intend to discuss the circulation and movements of ideas, individuals, and organizations that create porous and hybrid identities and positionalities. We encourage papers that engage with scholarship that operates outside of the dominant Anglocentric narrative and discussions of race and racism.

We aim to cover some of the topics listed below:

  • Legalities around race and citizenship in East Asia
  • Transmedial performance, identity, and race
  • Authenticity and appropriation
  • Performance, racial consciousness, and decolonial possibilities
  • Global comparative race and performance in the Cold War era
  • Performances and studies of inter-/trans-(超-)East Asia
  • Performances of East Asian diaspora, border crossings, and mobility
  • Efficacy of the existing theories of race within East Asian contexts
  • Indigenous origins and developments of racial and ethnic categories in East Asia
  • Intersections of race, gender, class, and other axes of personal and collective identity in East Asia
  • Origins of geopolitical concept of East Asia

As a working group, participants will be asked to share and discuss short papers (8-10 pages excluding notes and bibliography) that explore various themes pertinent to the relationship between race and performance in the transnational East Asian context. We will ground our conversations in a few shared readings, including the first chapters of Race and Racism in Modern East Asia: Western and Eastern Constructions (Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel) and The Globalization of Racism (Donaldo Macedo and Panayota Gounari). Once we finalize the list of participants, we will make the readings available using a WordPress blog. This blog will serve not only as a platform for uploading our papers and exchanging comments, but also as an archive and an open forum for sharing our resources on the subject of race, racism, and racialization in East Asia to build a working bibliography of this emergent field. About one month prior to the conference, the members of the working group will be asked to share their papers (submission deadline TBA). Participants will be divided into smaller discussion groups based on the affinities of the papers, and they will share comments during the weeks leading up to the conference. At the conference session, we will have a chance to further engage with the comments and papers in small and large group settings.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at SooYoon2014@u.northwestern.edu and jyuh@gradcenter.cuny.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Resisting the Margins: Positioning Transgender Performance Center-Stage

Rye Gentleman, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Joshua Bastian Cole, Cornell University

Transgender performance practices resist hegemonies informed by rigid constructions of sex and gender. However, as Transgender Studies gains recognition and currency as an interdisciplinary field, the specificity of trans embodied experience and cultural and intellectual production runs the risk of becoming subsumed, generalized, and, ultimately, re-marginalized within academe. Directly responding to the theme of this year’s conference, we are interested in focusing on the specificity of transgender theatre, performance, and activist practices in order to locate and theorize the potential for counter-hegemonic resistance they might offer.

Our working group will engage with questions such as: How are contemporary trans theatre- and performance-makers staging trans experience or trans politics? How have trans performance artists investigated, revealed, or altered the body onstage in or as an act of resistance? How have trans activist movements utilized theatre or performance? How do issues of intersectionality, assemblage, or multiply marginalized identity(ies) inform trans performance or activism? How are trans artists positioned and taught (or not) within the academy? How do trans studies and/or trans cultural practices alter or contribute to interventions made by related (but sometimes opposed) disciplines such as feminist or queer theory?

Submissions may address various aspects of trans performance through such lenses as:

  • Foucauldian biopolitics
  • Borders, surveillance technologies, and security techniques
  • Digital/media/communication technologies
  • Medical/biomedical discourses; bioethics
  • Geographies/geopolitics of identity
  • Techniques of the self
  • Affect theory
  • Utopias/futurity
  • Political economy and resistance to neoliberalism
  • Posthumanism
  • Transnormativity

Participants will circulate 8-10 page papers via an online platform seven weeks prior to the conference date. These papers will be organized into subgroups with thematic similarities. In the weeks leading up to the conference, subgroups will exchange feedback and identify key issues and questions for discussion to bring to our in-person meeting. Our meeting will begin with a brief presentation of key issues by each of the subgroups followed by commentary from the Conveners. We will then move to a large group discussion with questions drawn from the full range of papers submitted. We will end by taking questions from observers.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at gentl014@umn.edu and jbc276@cornell.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Shakespearean Performance Research Group

Catherine Burriss, California State University Channel Islands
Franklin Hildy, University of Maryland
Robert Ormsby, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Don Weingust, University of California, Berkeley
W.B. Worthen, Barnard College/Columbia University

The Shakespearean Performance Research Group of the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) provides an ongoing home for the study of Shakespearean performance within ASTR.

Like performance generally, perhaps, Shakespeare performance takes up theory and practice of "trans": as a site of cultural production, Shakespeare performance is at once productively between cultural categories--literature and/or theatre; theatre and/or other media; acting and/or "acting"; history, histories, the present; the Globe and the globe; normative and/or subversive enactments of identity – and, sometimes at least, transformative of them. In 2016, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's mortal transformation, we invite papers that take up the question of the trans: the translational, transadaptive, transnational, transplanetary, transidentitarian, transdisciplinary, transmedial, transversal, transgressive problematics of Shakespeare performance.

As the conveners continue preparations to publish an edited volume on the subject, stemming from the work of the Research Group, we continue to welcome proposals for papers meeting the larger conference and Research Group theme that may consider the topic of “original practices” in Shakespearean performance.

Selected papers will be assigned to subgroups by the group’s conveners, Catherine Burriss, Franklin J. Hildy, Robert Ormsby, Don Weingust, and W. B. Worthen, and the conveners will organize on-line communication of subgroup members before the conference. At the conference session, papers will be discussed first within subgroups, after which the subgroups will come together to exchange ideas.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at astr.sprg@gmail.com. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Site-Based Theatre as a Trans-Contextual Experience

Rand Harmon, University of Northern Colorado
Penelope Cole, Independent Scholar

The past 20 years have witnessed an explosion of site-based, immersive theatrical events in Britain and, more recently, in the US and across the globe. Site-based (or more commonly, site-specific, site-responsive, or immersive) production capitalizes on a multitude of audience perceptions both empirical (i.e. spatial, kinetic, chromatic, thermal, temporal) and ideological (i.e. iconographic, historic, societal). These ideological resonances comprise the contexts of the site. Cultural, political, historical, and societal contexts arising from previous occupations of the site naturally may have significant ramifications for both the creation and the resulting perceptions of the performance that inhabits each unique site. The trans-contextual interface, or, the engagement of the performance, performer, and audience participant at the junction of, or across multiple contexts, lies at the very heart of the site-based theatre event and experience. As Mike Pearson and Michael Shanks illuminate in their book Theatre/Archeology (2001),

[Site-based] performance recontextualises [. . .] sites: is the latest occupation of a location where other occupations – their material traces and histories – are still apparent: [. . .] Interpenetrating narratives jostle to create meanings. (23)

In this working session, we are seeking to examine how site-based theatre performances exhibit, enact, enable, and exhume a multiplicity of, and the intersections between, contexts. More specifically we are interested in exploring moments of trans-contextuality, or how the creators, performers and audience participants negotiate and travel between and among the disparate, and often competing, contexts of the theatrical event. By exploring the trans-contextual dynamics between the site-based theatre performance, performer and participants, we seek to more fully understand the potential and importance of this transitory and transitional experience. We also aim to further the theoretical methods through which site-based performance is studied, through an expansion of the lexicon used to describe and discuss these events. We invite papers which engage with or examine any of the following:

  • The development of concept, process, participation and transactions between contexts in site-based work
  • The trans-contextual nature of identity for site, performer, and audience participant
  • Directorial conceptualization in site-based theatre
  • The audience experience of shifting contexts
  • A trans-contextual analysis of a specific site-based performance
  • The pedagogical ramifications for the training of performers of site-based work
  • The theory behind site-based performance

Once the working session participants have been chosen we will arrange them into small groups who will share their research and engage in a discussion of key questions that the conveners will provide. On site at the conference during the working session each group will be called upon to present their findings. After this we will rearrange the groups and pose further questions that have been raised in the papers and discussions thus far. One method of inquiry at this point could potentially be examining these questions through the development of a brief (3-4 minutes) performance piece that interrogates a moment of trans-contextuality that all the working session members can experience. Finally, we will reconvene as a full working group to present the ideas, as well as further questions, inspired by the discussions and creations. Ultimately, we will end the working group with a “what next” query, seeking articulate where the research into the topic(s) needs to go and what questions were not either asked or answered to the individual scholars’ satisfaction. All papers will be available for everyone to read, although each working session member will be primarily responsible for the papers of the other members of their small group. We hope that these papers and our discussions will lead to publication, further research, and provide tools for the creation of site-based theatre that unlocks the potential of the trans-contextual nature of the work.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at Rand.Harmon@gmail.com, and pwcole@yahoo.com. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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The Future in the Present: The Transtemporalities of Minoritarian Performance

Both “performance” and “race” exist in complex temporal dimensions, shaped by fluctuations of linear time, repetitions and revisions of prior acts, and durations and intervals that provide counter temporalities to calendar or clock time. From the ethnographic work of Clifford Geertz and Victor Turner; to E. Patrick Johnson’s continuation of black queer southern lives on stage; to the directorial theories of Richard Schechner; to James Snead’s and Fred Moten’s philosophies of “the break” in black cultural production; to Saidiya Hartman’s incisive distinction between spectacular acts of violence and mundane scenes of “innocent amusement” in nineteenth-century performances of power; to Judith Butler’s theories of identity, performance studies assumes that behavior accrues meaning over time. Performative theories of identity account for the temporal drag of twice-behaved behavior even as they attempt to theorize emancipatory possibilities for the future. Operating under different temporal logics, race and ethnic studies have shown how Western concepts of history and time have rendered minoritarian subjects frozen in the past or otherwise lagging behind, even as historical traumas continue to erupt into the present. One effect of this work is that minoritarian racial categories develop meaning through a dizzying back-and-forth toggle in time, in which multiple temporalities are experienced simultaneously or out of joint. For example, consider how a discourse of post-racialism and a practice of redlining can coexist in Chicago at the same time; how the rise of mass incarceration has been likened to Jim Crowism in a new guise; or how the apparition of the confederacy continues to appear in the twenty-first century as flags, monuments, and street names persist as a site of struggle.

This José Esteban Muñoz Working Session considers how the prefix “trans-” can describe conceptual, physical, and structural shifts in time. “Trans-” insists upon the ability and possibility for change. Given the various temporal experiences that inform the thought and lived experience of “performance” and “race”— repetitions, folds, doublings and multiplications, durations, intervals, afterlives, rehearsals, revivals, the ephemeral, the residual, and the emergent, to list only a handful of terms— this Working Session explores how theater/performance studies account or fail to account for the transtemporalities of minoritarian performance. The Age of Obama continues to be marked by national reckoning with structural inequities that persist in the US, as his tenure in office and the victory it signaled for racial equality coincide with the unrelenting public deaths of people of color at the hands of law enforcement and vigilante justice seekers. Indeed, The Age of Obama has called into question the very idea of national citizenship: from the ongoing deportation of Central American immigrants from Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina, to the lack of accountability for perpetrators of police violence and the rolling back of central aspects of the Voting Rights Act. Nevertheless, the possibility the election of Obama signaled in “majoritarian institutions” in which “the production of minoritarian knowledge is a project set up to fail” (as José Esteban Muñoz puts it) has not been completely foreclosed. The election of Obama, that is, signaled the possibility of new ways of knowing, being, and participating in U.S. culture, including colleges, universities, and other institutions of research and knowledge production. This session will explore the historical occlusion of race in one of the founding principles of performance studies, namely, that performance functions through accrual. Ours will be an effort not only to rethink what bodies of knowledge cohere within Theater/Performance Studies, but also how minoritarian knowledge production requires rethinking how we work. How do ontologies of race challenge the operation of identity, including the institutions and organizations that support research in theater/performance studies? What are the temporal logics of identity-based fields of knowledge, which includes those that traffic within the invisible guise of whiteness? How does accounting for all performance as racialized reconfigure the positions of performer and audience? What are the chronopolitics of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender as they are performed at their intersection? How might specific instances of theater/performance open up new transtemporal dimensions in the study of minoritarian history and experience?

This working session is the first in a projected three-year ongoing working session organized to bring new voices and perspectives into ASTR. While we expect that not all participants will continue for all three years, our hope is to produce a sustained conversation that will culminate in a published collection of essays. This first year, we may have some modest funding available to help defray the costs of attendance at the conference. If you are a graduate student, contingent faculty, or have other financial constraints, please include a short rationale explaining why you would like to be considered for this funding.

Please submit 500-word proposals and a brief bio through the ASTR website. Accepted papers (10 – 12 pages) will be grouped into thematic clusters. These clusters will circulate and comment upon papers by October 15, 2016 in preparation for more detailed conversations at the conference session.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at Soyica.Colbert@georgetown.edu, douglas.jones@rutgers.edu, and shvogel@indiana.edu Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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The Transglobal and Transmedial Eighteenth Century

Pannill Camp, Washington University in St. Louis
Lisa A. Freeman, University of Illinois at Chicago

In just the last year, two of the most prominent journals in eighteenth-century studies have published special issues focused on theatre and performance, one with a transglobal focus (Eighteenth-Century Studies), and one with a focus on the transmedial (Eighteenth-Century Fiction). Just this past year, Elizabeth Dillon's New World Drama: The Performative Commons in the Atlantic World 1649-1849 was awarded the Barnard Hewitt Award. These achievements speak to the large body of generative and rich work that is being done in the field and to the critical mass of scholars who have made theatre and performance studies an enlivening engine of insight and expansion in eighteenth-century studies. This working group aims to bring together scholars who are working on the transglobal, transmedial eighteenth century under the auspices of ASTR. Theatre in the eighteenth century was a cultural focal point at a time that saw the first truly global economy, when imperial and colonial ambitions came to be realized in systematic ways, when press freedom and salons produced new public spheres, and when racialized bodies emerged as a fulcrum of anxiety in the western imaginary. The theatre—whether in England, Germany, France, or Jamaica—became the site for distilling, filtering, reflecting, and producing a sense of public engagement. This working session will gather scholars working on the eighteenth century from a variety of historical and methodological perspectives, addressing such questions as:

  • How did theatre act as a technology or mediating force for cultural, political, social and economic concerns?
  • How do the various media and mediating forms of the period intersect to produce a theatrical public sphere?
  • How did the theatre function across a transglobal space, both as a technology of cultural extension and political imperialism and as a space of colonial critique?
  • What are the methodological challenges of engaging theatre across media and global spaces in an age when those conceptual categories were emergent?

Selected participants will be asked to submit a (maximum) 12-page excerpt of writing from a current project by October 1. The session leaders will divide the group into three sub-groups and frame key ideas and questions to pursue in discussions. In the two weeks prior to the meeting, each sub-group will engage in on-line exchange, review, and comment about its set of submissions and formulate a response to the framing questions. The working group discussion will be structured with the aim of generating insights and provocations for each participant as well as producing an understanding of the set of conceptual, methodological, and historical concerns that might be particular to eighteenth-century theatre and performance studies. Through these methods, this working session hopes to provide all participants with a rich sense of the practical, theoretical and critical issues that lie at the intersection of theatre and performance and eighteenth-century studies.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at pamp@wustl.edu and lfreeman@uic.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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The transitive is transformative: Opportunities and Constraints in Performative Social Practice

Laurie Beth Clark, University of Wisconsin Madison
Michael Peterson, University of Wisconsin Madison

This working group brings together artists and scholars whose work is grounded in social practice. An increasingly common way of making theatre and art, “social practice” includes or is related to traditions known variously as social sculpture (Beuys), relational aesthetics (Bourriaud), and relational or social performance (Clark and Peterson).

In particular, the term relational performance draws attention to the transitive qualities of social practice, in which relationships or relationality constitute the very medium of the art making-- the constitution or enactment of relationships is the performance. In grammar, transitive verbs are “verbs that affect a direct object”. In social practice, it is these transitive properties--the very intimate human connection of one-to-one relationships and their direct impacts--that are considered transformative. Grand claims have been made on behalf of social practices that they will make the world a better place to live (e.g. Kester, Finkelpearl) and these claims have been robustly problematized (e.g. Bishop, Jackson).

This working group will be informed by such overarching concerns, but will focus on the problems of practice itself--the individual transactions and project decisions that constitute the works. Social practice performance is a particularly clear instance of the social reality of all performance, of the transformative as inter-acted.

The organizers have work together on social practice projects as Spatula&Barcode; they are known for transforming some recent ASTR conferences with performative interventions. The idea for this working group was developed during their participation in the “Problem Solving Social Practice in Art” workshop at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at Iowa University in 2014. Spatula&Barcode are currently artists in residence at Victorian College of the Arts / University of Melbourne, Australia, where they are developing a six month-long social practice work that will include events organized for the Performance Studies international conference in July. For more about past work see: http://spatulaandbarcode.net/

We invite proposals from both practitioners and theorists for a dialogue about the way that social performance is practiced, to discuss the pleasures and problematics of making social practice art. These may include works that are intimate or expansive, actual or virtual, ameliorative or agonistic, historical or contemporary, conversational or dramatic. Our preference is for participants who will focus on ongoing or in-progress works, addressing the difficulties of our artistic and scholarly practices. Participants will need to devise appropriate mechanisms for sharing their work samples with the group and pose a series of questions revealed through that work for discussion. The working group hosts will distill from the shared materials an agenda for discussion that will emphasize shared challenges and strategies, rather than solely turn-taking discussions of individual contributions.

Somewhat transgressing standard procedures of conference participation, we also ask working group members to develop low-profile relational/social performances that can be enacted in Minneapolis during the conference. (Scholars without a social arts practice are strongly encouraged to apply; we can help you develop a micro-practice for the conference that is within your interests and capacities.) These brief moments of practice will help to further ground our discussions.

In your 500-word proposal please be sure to include:

  • a concise description of the actual work you will be discussing (it can be your own or someone else’s)
  • the mechanism will you use to circulate information about the work (narrative, photographic, other)
  • a one-paragraph position statement about social practice performance that highlights some issues you hope to discuss
  • a short professional biography that includes your prior engagement with theorizing social practice (if any)
  • optional: your ideas for social practice performance during the conference (this can be developed later in collaboration with the group’s organizers and members)

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at spatulaandbarcode@gmail.com. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Theater and Transmedia

Sarah Bay-Cheng, Bowdoin College
Christopher Grobe, Amherst College, cgrobe@amherst.edu
John Muse, University of Chicago, jmuse@uchicago.edu

In film studies, the gaming world, the marketing business, and the digital humanities, one word best describes the contemporary media environment: “transmedia.” This term describes how, in a “convergence culture” (Jenkins) where lone media give way to complex “media ecologies” (Postman), our experience—of a story, of a brand, of an event—emerges dynamically across several platforms. Theater and performance scholars used to define their subject as irreducibly immediate. Today, it’s more common to think of performance as a complex act of mediation—as intermedial, or as the quintessential “hypermedium” (Kattenbelt). How might theater and performance studies benefit from a transmedia perspective? Is theater transmedial? Has it always been? How are contemporary theater-makers and performance artists engaging a public newly accustomed to cross-platform cultural experiences? To what kinds of performance might a convergence culture of media given rise? The rise of transmedia also requires a reassessment of theater and performance scholarship itself. Performance studies has long presumed the transmedial nature of its subject. (Consider Peggy Phelan’s study of performances of the “unmarked” in theater, performance art, film, photography, everyday life—and, most of all, in their interaction.) What might a presumptively transmedial theater studies look like? And how might theater and performance scholarship itself become transmedial?

Accepted participants will share 8-10 page papers with the entire seminar by October 15 to provide time for preconference reading and discussion. We will divide the papers into three or four subgroups according to topics that emerge. The members of each subgroup will read their group’s papers closely and engage in online discussion before the conference, drawing parallels among the papers and laying the groundwork for their presentation. At the session, each subgroup will give a ten-minute presentation including a 1-minute peer summary of each paper, a summary of the online discussion, and a discussion question for the seminar. A discussion period of 15-20 minutes (depending on the number of groups) will follow each presentation. In the final 15-20 minutes of the two-hour block, the conversation will be opened to auditors.

Applicants are asked to share a 500 word abstract for their papers, including how this proposal fits into larger research inquiries. For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at sbaychen@bowdoin.edu, cgrobe@amherst.edu and jmuse@uchicago.edu Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Theatre and Real Estate

Michael McKinnie, Queen Mary University of London
Louise Owen, Birkbeck College, University of London

Though perhaps infrequently identified as such, real estate has long been a key preoccupation of theatre and performance. This working session aims to investigate how. The past two decades have seen a marked growth in scholarship examining the relationship between theatre and spaces of performance. It has paid particular attention to a number of key issues: theatre's built form, its spatial dramaturgies, urban performance, and site-specific or environmental performance. Taken together, such work demonstrates that theatre and performance studies has made a distinctive contribution to the broader "spatial turn" within the social sciences and humanities. It is also the case, however, that some complex economic, and especially property, relations underpin many of the practices considered by theatre scholars. How these condition theatre's spatiality has received less critical attention. For example, performance outside conventional theatre venues may be caught up in processes of commercial development, with developers seeking temporary tenants for buildings awaiting planning approval, or landlords seeking to monetize disused spaces. Theatre companies are also often acutely aware of real estate markets. On one hand, they may hold substantial equity in properties, and seek to capitalize upon this, fiscally and culturally – ambitions that may also be influenced by the protected historical status of some theatre buildings. On the other, theatres may be squeezed out of their existing locations in city centres as rising property values make other uses more profitable. Theatre may also have historically been a place to reflect upon changing property relations outside the walls of the theatre. In convening this working session, our aim is to contribute further to the field by undertaking important groundwork in the economic geography of theatre and performance.

Participants are welcome to address any topic within the remit of the session, including, but not limited to:

  • The imbrication of theatre production with real estate markets (the buying, selling, and renting of land);
  • Theatre and performance in urban development;
  • Property-driven theatre financing and urban governance;
  • Site-specific performance and real estate;
  • Theatre and the rentier class;
  • Theatre, performance and property speculation;
  • Equity (cultural and fiscal);
  • Performance and gentrification;
  • Property and exchange as objects of spectacle;
  • Historical relationships between theatre and real estate.

Participants will be expected to circulate papers (approximately 3000-4000 words) in advance of the group's meeting in Minneapolis, where we will explore contributions in depth, and identify and discuss shared interests, themes, and findings.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at m.mckinnie@qmul.ac.uk, and l.owen@bbk.ac.uk. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Theorizing from the South: Contemporary Theater and Criticism in Latin America and Transections: Performance Studies in/from the Global South

Please note that participants from both working groups, “Theorizing from the South: Contemporary Theater and Criticism in Latin America” and “Transections: Performance Studies in/from the Global South,” will come together for the third hour of their separate sessions to hold a conversation on the contextual differences in scholarly approaches to Latin America and the Global South, which can be traced, in part, to different colonial histories and disciplinary trajectories. Applicants should submit an abstract to only one of the two sessions.

Concurrent Session I
Theorizing from the South: Contemporary Theater and Criticism in Latin America

Patricia Ybarra, Brown University
Cláudia Tatinge Nascimento, Wesleyan University

"Theorizing from the South" is an ongoing working group that explores how contemporary Latin American theater and performance theories respond to questions posed by recent social, political, and economic shifts, and the continuing legacies of colonialism. We look for papers that engage deeply with Latin American theatre, theatrical criticism, and theories. Inspired by this year’s conference theme—“Trans-” we also welcome papers that theorize transnational work (i.e. theatre and performance that engage issues faced by Latin American populations living in other parts of the world), articulate comparative approaches (i.e. pieces that analyze conditions or art forms in two or more countries in Latin America, or those that compare conditions in one Latin American country with another outside of it), or investigate issues over a longer historical trajectory. We also are interested in papers that openly engage issues of translation—both cultural and linguistic—especially given how few Latin American texts are translated for use in Anglophone academic work. We ask: what is particular to Latin American theatrical forms and criticism? At the same time, how do Latin American theories articulate the continent’s experiences, engage with its international politics, performance, and intellectual trends? We seek papers that identify intellectual discourse; interrogate alternative dramaturgies; consider the legacies of political theater produced during dictatorial regimes; articulate emerging modes of spectatorship, cultural policies, and forms of censorship; model new approaches to artistic human rights activism; analyze the role of group theater; and consider performances that expose challenges faced by democratic processes, economic mobilization, and social trauma, including specific historical events. In conjunction with participants and coordinators in the “Transections” seminar, we plan to interrogate how the term Global South, as an analytic term, functions in relation to Latin American theatre practice and theory.

Concurrent Session II
Transections: Performance Studies in/from the Global South

David Donkor, Texas A&M University
Laura Edmondson, Dartmouth College
Karin Shankar, University of California at Berkeley

Since “Performance Studies in/from the Global South” was launched as a working session at the 2012 ASTR conference, the term “global south” has increasingly crept into both academic and popular discourse, as scholars and journalists alike embrace the term as a welcome alternative to colonial or development paradigms. As Ananya Roy warns, however, “to assert the global south as a signifier of theory requires constant vigilance.” In the spirit of vigilance, we ask, how are the disciplines of theatre and performance studies defining the global south? Organizers of past working sessions have observed that the global south is cohering around south Asian and sub-Saharan African area studies; what does the relative lack of perspectives from Latin America, East Asia, and Western Asia/North Africa reveal about our investment in the term? Given that hierarchies and exclusions have an insidious way of cropping up even in dynamic, inclusive space, how might we use the conference theme as a means to explore multiple entry points in order to enhance our understanding of this sizable part of the world? “Transection” means to “cut across” and thus straddles both division and moving beyond—a concept that seems especially timely in light of the continuing mass migration movements from the Western Asian south to the European north. We wish to embrace the tension in this term as a starting point for our explorations of how people, capital, knowledge, cultural expressions, and materials move (or are disallowed from moving) across and beyond the global south. Potential questions to explore include:

  • How do the performances and cultural texts that we study theorize the idea of the global south?
  • How is the discourse of the global south reshaping (or perhaps limiting) the discipline?
  • Which southern theorists and artists might help to reconceptualize and/or reinvigorate discourses of the global south?
  • What alternatives to the “global south” prove more useful in specific contexts and/or case studies of performance?
  • What are the emerging forms of collectivity in the global south? How do social media and digital activism, for example, reshape parameters of margin/center and north/south?
  • What kinds of new hegemonies and formations of “soft power” are emerging in the global south?
  • What alternative does theory from the south offer to address planetary crises of climate change and ecological disaster?

Session III: A Shared Discussion
Following the suggestion of the conference organizers, the working groups “Theorizing from the South:” and “Transections: Performance Studies in/from the Global South” will convene to discuss the points of connection and disjuncture between these two fields of study, including our discipline’s conceptualization of geopolitical territories and formations.

Format
Accepted participants to “Theorizing from the South: Contemporary Theater and Criticism in Latin America” and “Transections: Performance Studies in/from the Global South” will circulate 10-page papers to their respective working groups in advance of the ASTR 2016 conference so that writers have ample time to receive/offer input and engage in additional close revisions before meeting in Minneapolis. Within each working group, papers will be grouped based on thematic, theoretical, or methodological interests, to engage in online conversation between the early fall and conference dates.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors for either session at Patricia_Ybarra@brown.edu and cnascimento@wesleyan.edu or dador@tamu.edu, laura.edmondson@dartmouth.edu, and kshankar@berkeley.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Theorizing Transtemporality and Performance

Benjamin Gillespie, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Stephanie Vella, The Graduate Center, CUNY

In recent years, the turn toward temporality studies in the humanities has seen rigorous development as the result of applying transdisciplinary methodologies that take issue with historical assumptions surrounding the organization of time and the prioritization of space. Since performance is a durational concept necessarily engaged in alterations of time—be they diachronic, synchronic, episodic, dissonant, repetitive, distorted, situational, queer, lapsed, or otherwise—it is an ideal paradigm through which to explore and measure the collision of multiple temporal arrangements in bodies and worlds, both human and nonhuman. Speaking directly to the conference theme, this working session will consider how “trans” might widen discourses of temporality in theatre and performance studies and potentially disrupt histories and critiques that position bodies inside or outside of time along vectors of race, class, gender, ability, and age.

We offer the following prompts for thinking theatre and performance anew through the transtemporal:

  • What are the potentials for measuring the body in, through, over, and across time in theatre and performance, as well as measuring time’s effect on performing bodies?
  • How might transtemporality reconfigure aesthetic and cultural periodizations such as modern, primitive, classical, post-modern, post-colonial, avant-garde, contemporary, early, and late?
  • How does transtemporality intersect with queer, disability, gender, trans, indigenous, age, and critical race studies?
  • How does transtemporality move across or through fast, slow, extended, suspended, and condensed time frames?
  • Can the transtemporal disrupt the flows of labor and capital?
  • How do the scholarly uses of archives, images, memories, and gestures potentially transcend singular temporalities?
  • Can transtemporality point to the limits of historiography, periodization, genre, and the methodological concerns of performance studies itself?

Accepted participants will share 8-10 page papers with the entire group by October 1st. We will then divide the papers into subgroups of 3-4 participants according to the topics that emerge. The members of each subgroup will read their group’s papers closely and engage in an online discussion before the conference, drawing parallels among the papers and organizing their presentation for the in-person working session. During the session, each subgroup will give a 10 minute presentation including a short summary of each paper, an overall summary of the online discussion, and a focused discussion question for the larger group developed out of common themes. A discussion period of 15 minutes with the entire group will follow each presentation. The final 20 minutes of the session will open up the conversation to auditors.

Interested participants should submit the following detail: your name, institutional affiliation, and both a paper title and 500-word abstract suited to the interests of the working group.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at bgillespie@gradcenter.cuny.edu and svella@gradcenter.cuny.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Training/Trans—: Performance Training as Translation, Transfer, Transformation, and Transition

Broderick Chow, Brunel University London
Eero Laine, University at Buffalo, State University of New York

“Train” and “trans”, at first glance, seem etymologically opposed. While “to train” implies adherence to a discipline or following a particular line, “trans” connotes moving across or beyond a boundary or threshold. As a process, however, training might open spaces for acts of trans—. At this juncture, this working group examines theatrical, artistic, and athletic training, with an emphasis on forms that encompass physical and embodied transactions and training regimens.

Physical training and embodied discipline has long been central to many theatrical performance forms. We explore such training as a site of trans— through acts both historical and contemporary. We are interested in exploring training that encompasses translation (e.g. Japan’s all-women musical theatre revue Takarazuka), transfer (e.g. noh, kathakali, and other traditional forms practiced for generations), and transformation (e.g. strongmen/women from the Victorian Music Hall onwards). Discussions may also focus on recent artists and performers who are reframing training as an act of transformation and transition; from Cassil’s engagement with bodybuilding within a project exploring the body as “social sculpture,” to Jamie Lewis Hadley, whose work draws on his training and career as a professional wrestler, to PanicLab Dance Theatre, who have both transformed and translated the disciplines of ballet and Mixed Martial Arts. Finally, we aim to examine questions raised by performance training as a method of research (rather than an object of study): as an embodied practice, training is always in transition and therefore open to and in the process of revision and variation.

In exploring the notion of training as a site of translation, transfer, transformation, and transition, the primary goal of this working group is to explore many and disparate forms of “training” as possible. As a working group, we are especially interested in interrogating the theoretical and practical intersections of athletic training and artist training. The working group is additionally interested in submissions on work that engage the aesthetics of sportiveness and the physical aspects of art and performance. To these ends, after the working group is formed, working group members will exchange one to two page written provocations that explore and build on the working group theme. These opening papers might address:

  • Traditional theatrical forms as practiced historically or contemporarily;
  • Performance art that engages with training as a site of trans—;
  • Forms of training that cross disciplinary borders;
  • Training as an act of gendering and troubling gender;
  • Physical training as sociality and transfer;
  • Performance training as a site of translation and communication across linguistic, cultural, national, and other boundaries;
  • Training as an embodied process and research method.

This initial exchange will form the basis for pre-conference discussions, which will be facilitated through a shared online document where working group members will post and respond to text, comments, and links related to the initial papers. One month prior to the conference, members will share longer working papers with the group and will be responsible for providing feedback on two other papers via email. During the working group session at the conference, working group members will work first in small groups, which members of the audience will be invited to join. The second half of the session will involve a large group discussion on the working group themes and the topics that emerge from the small groups.

In addition to the written exchanges and the working group meeting, we will facilitate an off-site two-hour training session on one of the mornings of the conference. This additional session will take advantage of the conference location, Minneapolis and St. Paul, which have rich histories of both physical sport and theatrical performance. Our aim with this session is to have working group members share in the process of physical training as research method, which might take the form of traditional theatrical practice, athletics, or other embodied practice. To this end, proposals should address the ways that the training session might inform or otherwise connect to their proposed papers. The conveners especially welcome particular ideas for the training session. The specifics of the session will grow out of the initial exchange of short papers and the interests, skills, and prior training of the working group members.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at eerolain@buffalo.edu and broderick.chow@brunel.ac.uk. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Trans Methods for Trans Materials

Glenn Odom, University of Roehampton
Bryan Reynolds, University of California Irvine

The profusion of intersections, liminal spaces, hybridities, crossings-over, medial spaces and third spaces suggested in the conference description gesture to areas of theatre and performance studies that have rapidly grown in the past twenty years: the CFP suggests that we have all been living in a trans (in a multitude of senses) world since the turn of the century. This working group seeks to examine corresponding changes in methodologies - have our approaches kept pace with the subject matters that are our focus? Is the idea of the trans an object of study or an approach to study - or both? Have theoretical paradigms for approaching the”trans” become more fluid, mobile, adaptive and processual or have our approaches stayed largely the same despite shifts in disciplinary focus? Are methods based on or driven by object oriented ontology, neuro-cognitive research, transversal poetics, theological perspectives, ethnographic studies, new technologies, translation studies, among other recently popular approaches, particularly well suited to address the”trans’? In what ways have theories of translation, transmission and adaptation changed in response to changing conceptions of the transnational and the hybrid? Are there certain historical methodologies that are incapable of dealing with the trans and is there a way of salvaging value from these frameworks? What new methods have arisen or are arising in relation to trans material? What are the challenges faced when deploying such new methodologies? Can”trans” methodologies shed light on material that is not explicitly trans?

Prior to the conference, group members will submit work up to 8000 words for general consideration. This work may address specific case studies, but will focus on interrogating the methodology used to analyze these case studies. These papers will be submitted to an online discussion board where the session moderators will pose some initial questions as the work is coming in. The moderators will also divide the incoming work into affinity groups according to the questions above. Time in the working group will be divided between a general discussion of the idea of trans methodologies, suggestions for overcoming the difficulty in implementation of trans methodologies, and questions of the applicability of such methodologies to non (or less) trans materials. This question is particularly suited to the working group format given the diversity of approaches likely to be put on the table. Goals: Rather than pursuing a single period / genre/ or thematic issue, to determine the degree of overlap between methods of scholars working on a diverse array of case studies within the paradigm of trans. To generate a combined, conscientious, truly interdisciplinary vocabulary to communicate across approaches and theories of the trans. To inspire more transdisciplinary collaborative research across a broader range of communities. To consider profitable exchanges between methods that have developed around diverse case studies within the paradigm of trans. To consider more broadly the efficacy of matching approach to material rather than using a consistent approach across materials.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at Glenn.Odom@roehampton.ac.uk and Bryan.Reynolds@uci.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Transfeminisms: Translating, Transgressing, and Transforming Feminisms

Sarah Bess Rowen, CUNY, The Graduate Center
Amy Meyer, Tufts University

In January 2016, President Obama became the first president of the United States to mention the term “transgender” in a State of the Union address. Simultaneously, Planned Parenthood and abortion rights remain under attack by Congress, and sexist, racist, and bigoted remarks are bandied about by presidential candidates on a national stage. Issues of feminism and trans rights are vital in our current sociopolitical climate.

Though performance and activism have brought us far, feminist and trans-positive voices are still often treated as discrete. While feminists fight to break down binary models of gender, many misinterpret trans activism as a discordant movement advocating for “traditional” performances of the gender binary. Yet, trans activism strives for much more. As trans author and activist Julia Serano describes in the Ms. Magazine article “Trans Feminism: There’s No Conundrum About It,” transfeminism reaches across borders, signaling “a move away from viewing sexism as an overly simplistic, unilateral form of oppression, where men are the oppressors and women are the oppressed, end of story.” There are undeniable intersections between feminism(s) and trans activism; feminism(s), too, cross borders of all kinds, thereby lending themselves to further iterations of trans theorizing.

Considering the 2016 conference theme of “Trans-”, exploring questions of crossing and mobility, this working group seeks to push beyond boundaries of what is considered “feminist” theatre and performance by engaging with the presence of transgender identities on historical and contemporary stages. It asks how combining trans activism with feminism(s) might trans-late, trans-gress, or trans-form the definitions of feminist theatre and performance. Participants will examine the ways in which potentially conflicting ideologies of the trans and feminist movements work across and with each other through performance and activism. This working group also welcomes papers that model how feminisms have embraced other causes and identities, in order to reveal possibilities for new types of transfeminisms. Paper topics may focus on specific productions, scripts, performance groups, protests, or performances of identity.

The task of this session will be to nuance the notion of feminist performance by affixing the “trans-” prefix, and considering its implications. Participants will debate: 1) Issues of representation in staging gender expression and identity; 2) The possibilities of performance pushing “across, through, beyond” feminisms; 3) The ways in which performances have constructed, affirmed, or challenged the nature of transfeminism.

Papers might address the following questions:

  • How have historical or contemporary theatre and performance addressed gender transgression and transfiguration? How has this reflected and/or refracted the ways in which society at large addresses trans topics?
  • How does intersectionality inform transgender performance?
  • How is contemporary theatre, performance, and/or activism staging trans identities?
  • How has trans activism incorporated theatricality and/or performance?
  • How have trans performance artists explored, exposed, presented, or performed the body on stage?
  • How are trans artists and scholars situated and taught in academic institutions?

To better shape our conference session around the themes and issues raised by members of the working group, organizers will divide papers into subgroups based upon topic. Initial drafts of 10-15 pages will be circulated to subgroups in late September to receive feedback by early October. Participants will have the opportunity to make revisions before papers are shared with the whole group. At the end of October, organizers will facilitate a group chat online as a forum for participants to discuss themes, pose questions, and narrow in on crucial discussion points for the in-person session. At ASTR, we will spend the first part of the two-hour session working on these discussion points within our subgroups, and in the second part of the session we will come together for a full-group conversation.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at bess.rowen@gmail.com and amy.meyer@tufts.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Transfigured Performance

Gwyneth Shanks, UCLA
Areum Jeong, USC
Lilia Adriana Perez Limon, University of Wisconsin Madison

Religious Studies uses the term transfiguration to describe bodily transformations, which result in a more ‘divine’ form within Abrahamic traditions, particularly Christian theology. The verb transfigure implies to change or transform; it is an act of “cut[ing] across, break[ing], or shatter[ing] the subject.” Feminist religious studies scholar Virginia Burrus writes that to theorize transfiguration one must think across multiple disciplines, attentive to the distinct ways the suffix ‘trans’ and the root ‘figure’ function. Following Burrus, we ask: how does Theater and Performance Studies define transfiguration? In what ways are our disciplines’ understandings of the term indebted to other disciplines? And how can performance offer new understandings of transfiguration?

We wish to question how transfiguration might be a space of between-ness in which becoming other is held open and realized, if only briefly. What sorts of figures render legible a politics or an aesthetic of transfiguration? How do bodily transfigurations push against gendered, national, technological, and temporal boundaries? How does a theory of transfiguration open performance and performers to those boundaries, which once exceeded, become sites of emergent possibility?

This working session aims to explore 1) how performance itself contains acts of transfiguration and 2) how performance becomes transfigured by its afterlives or ephemera, challenging the ways in which ideas of disappearance and ephemerality has been theorized within Performance Studies.

The goal of this working session is to: expand conceptual frameworks for theorizing aesthetics through transfiguration and question how transfiguration re-frames notions of the human. This working session encourages topics not only on stage and screen but also beyond. Our working group considers how transfiguration reconfigures what it means to be human, linking the term to scholarship on posthumanism, new materialism, animal studies, and biopolitics. By turning to previously marginalized bodies (the queer, the animal, the disabled) this working group attempts to imagine non-humanist or in-human forms of political being. By focusing on acts of transfiguration within performance and on how performance’s afterlives transfigure the form, we believe this working group addresses and expands scholarship that frames performance’s ontology.

We invite papers that question representation and affect, complicating discourses of material bodies, and we are interested in papers that engage a transdisciplinary and transnational framework, emphasizing the fluidity of disciplines and fields. This working session welcomes papers on amongst other topics:

  • Posthumanism
  • Mew materialism
  • Animal studies
  • Biopolitics
  • Robotic performances
  • Museum performances

The working group will take the form of a roundtable discussion focused on ideas and questions, prompted by participants’ papers. Each participant will be asked to pre-circulate a 10-12 page paper at the end of September and read the papers of other members of the group. During the first hour, the group will offer feedback to each individual paper, and in the second hour, the group will explore larger themes and questions. Our aim is to encourage feedback for each participant as well as discuss the implications of theorizing transfiguration.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at gwynethj@ucla.edu, areumjeong@gmail.com, and perezlimon@wisc.edu Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Transfusions and Transductions: Science and Performance as Permeable Disciplines

Vivian Appler, College of Charleston
Meredith Conti, James Madison University

Transmit, transmute, transduce, transfuse: scientific and medical discourses have long relied upon the prefix “trans” to convey the mutability and permeability of living organisms, distant or tiny objects, and inorganic matter. Change is both a celebrated result of scientific advancements and an ominous harbinger of malignancies, disruptions, and decay. As with the clinical laboratory and astronomical observatory, the theatre serves as a reflexive and generative site of transformations, a place to penetrate barriers and test innovative ideas, approaches, and practices. This working session places transdisciplinarity at the core of its mission to identify and explore meaningful convergences of the fields of science and theatre. Embracing the guiding prefix of the conference, we seek submissions that foreground notions of transmission, transduction, transfusion, transmutation, and transformation within overlapping domains of science, medicine, theatre, and/or performance. We welcome the use of diverse theoretical frameworks and discursive approaches to an array of topics that include but are not limited to:

  • The ways in which theatre records, responds to, or disputes significant transitions in scientific or medical knowledge (both theoretical and procedural)
  • Illness as a transformative and/or performative experience
  • Representation of women, minority, and disabled people in the role of scientist
  • Plays on science or scientific methods employed as models for theatre-making
  • Theatrical processes transposed into scientific disciplines
  • Constructions of the theatre as laboratory, or, laboratory as theatre
  • Site-specific performance interventions into science problems
  • Interrogations of science processes as performance
  • Theoretical approaches that apply to both science and the arts
  • Disciplines that serve as transitional between the arts and science discourse (history and philosophy of science, sociology, cognition, for example)
  • Considerations of “transitional” objects necessary to the performance of science

There are two primary goals of this working session: to assist participants in making productive and substantive improvements to their articles-in-progress through a pre-conference peer-review process, and to initiate a session format that combines mini-presentations with a facilitated discussion that is fully inclusive of conference participants. Working group members will prepare an 8-12 page paper (inclusive of footnotes) by September 15, 2016 to be disseminated via email to the full group. Each member will then provide written feedback on two colleagues’ papers by October 15, 2016. During the conference session, participants will present “lightning talks” on their research (lasting five minutes) to the working group and observers, followed by a facilitated discussion. To submit your work for consideration, please follow the submission guidelines outlined on the ASTR website.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at contima@jmu.edu and applervr@cofc.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Transgressions and Translations in Early Modern Spain

Harley Erdman, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Susan Paun de García, Denison University

The “Trans” theme of ASTR’s 2016 conference speaks directly to the theater of Golden Age Spain and Latin American, whose plays over and over again dramatize the transgression of gender norms. It has been estimated that as many as a quarter of the plays by Lope de Vega revolve around the trope of the “mujer varonil” (manly woman). Other representative plays from the repertory, which have been the focus of recent scholarship, include Pérez de Montalván’s La monja alferez (The Lieutenant Nun), based on the true story of Catalina de Erauso, who passed as a male solider in Chile and Peru and eventually received the blessing of the Pope; Guillén de Castro’s La fuerza de la costumbre (The Force of Habit), about a brother and sister each raised as the opposite gender; El parto de Juan Rana, (Juan Rana’s Birth), about a man who has a baby; and the loas of Sor Marcela de San Félix, short burlesque dialogues written for performance in a convent in which women mockingly took on the role of men. This working session invites position papers in response to the question: How does our contemporary transgender “tipping point” invite new consideration of early modern Spanish theater and performance? And how does this tipping point inflect another key ‘trans”-action that brings these plays intro conversation with us today: the act of translation for performance?

The Working Session will invite proposal for focused position papers that stake a claim in relation to the above questions. These papers should be approximately 2000 words in length. We welcome position papers that deal with theory and/or practice, including examples of new translations of works that speak to the topic.

The goals of this session are to:

  • Stimulate new lines of research in early modern Spanish theater inspired by the “trans” moment, testing whether “trans” is a concept that fruitfully opens up new thinking about these plays;
  • Explore what “trans” implies for choice of repertory and production choices today;
  • Examine how the “trans” moment activates new strategies for translation, for works of all periods and languages;
  • Expand the canon by showcasing little known writers and genres
  • Continue to bridge the gap between theory and practice in comedia studies;
  • Diversify ASTR’s conference membership by inviting contributions in Spanish, from scholars and practitioners from both Spain and the Americas.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at harley@theater.umass.edu and garcia@denison.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Transhistorical and Transdisciplinary: Emotions and Affect Across Time, Space, and (Scholarly) Traditions

Bruce McConachie, University of Pittsburgh
Ariel Nereson, University of Buffalo
David Bisaha, State University of New York

The topic of emotion invites trans-disciplinary conversation. Furthermore, many anthropologists, psychologists, and historians understand that basic human emotions are transhistorical: they derive from our evolutionary past, recur throughout history, and express themselves in both diverse and universal ways in different human cultures. This is the assumption, for example, behind anthropologist Anna Wierzbicka's EMOTIONS ACROSS LANGUAGES AND CULTURES: DIVERSITY AND UNIVERSALS (1999). Roman historian Garrett Fagan, whose THE LURE OF THE ARENA (2011) uses contemporary psychology to explore the gladiatorial games, adds that, as a consequence, "mind and culture should be seen as interlocking cogs in a behavior-generating machine rather than as distinct drives acting independently."

In contrast to Fagan, most theorists and historians of performance have not fully explored emotions as an interdiscipline -- despite their general understanding of the importance of the emotions for making meaning. Affect studies, the broader field in which emotions are studied, is only beginning to shape the writing of performance theory and history. This is partly because affect studies is divided among groups of scholars who disagree on the nature and operation of our emotions. In order to bridge these divides, this working session posits emotion as a concept reaching across disciplinary, temporal, geographic, and cultural boundaries. The session will explore theoretical orientations to the emotions, apply them to past and present performances, and discuss methods for applying theories of affect, broadly speaking.

To this end, this CFP includes some major questions and orientations in the field of affect studies. Contemporary orientations range from various theories in the cognitive sciences (such as THE FEELING OF WHAT HAPPENS [1999], by Damasio) to poststructuralist approaches (such as THE AFFECT THEORY READER [2010], edited by Gregg and Seigworth). Recent studies that have integrated emotion and performance include Jill Stevenson’s investigation of Christian fear across the centuries, SENSATIONAL DEVOTION (2013), Mark Pizzato’s application of Lacanian ideas to theorize the emotion-laden GHOSTS OF THEATRE AND CINEMA IN THE BRAIN (2006), and Bruce McConachie’s exploration of links among emotion and meaning-making in EVOLUTION, COGNITION, AND PERFORMANCE (2015). Potential participants may turn to these and other texts we will mention for introductions to specific approaches to the study of human emotions in performances.

Among possible questions to investigate are:

  • What is the relation between theatrical and performance genres and the emotional response of the audience?
  • What emotions have been the most resistant, or dangerous, to theatrical representation and why?
  • In what ways are relationships between emotions and embodiment theorized and enacted in specific performances?
  • How might a focus on emotion encourage points of connection between empiricist and anti-empiricist modes of understanding?
  • What can the study of emotions tell us about the possibilities for helping victims of post-traumatic stress disorder through performance?
  • How have emotions encouraged empathic understanding among audience members, or between performer and audience?
  • What is the relationship between emotional response and movement, gesture, objects, or performance environments?
  • What are the impediments to engaging empathically with emotional situations in past performances and how can they be addressed?
  • What do the historiographical challenges of investigating our emotional pasts suggest for the writing of performance history?

We will accept abstracts for papers that demonstrate evidence of some familiarity with one or another theory of emotion in affect studies and that promise a persuasive application of that theory to one performance or question. Potential participants should keep their papers short (8-12 pages) so that the theoretical outline of their argument remains clear.

Participants’ papers will identify an approach to emotion drawn from one affect theory and investigate a problem or performance within this area of scholarship involving a specific context and culture. Participants will then compare methodologies and results with those of others in the group.

Given our goals, we will seek to accept abstracts that explore diverse and varied performance cultures (especially but not limited to nationality, geography, race, class, gender, ability, etc...)

Following the exchange of papers and initial comments a month before the conference, we will invite each participant to write a one-page précis of the approach to the study of emotions that each has used. Given the current range of approaches to emotion, we expect that this one-pager will be useful in facilitating further discussion. We expect to divide participants into smaller groups for pre-conference discussions on the basis of their similar perspectives. Then, at the conference, we will meet in mixed groups and invite participants to assess the merits of their approaches.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at bamcco@pitt.edu, anereson@buffalo.edu, and dbisaha@binghamton.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Transient Performance

Sean Metzger, University of California, Los Angeles
Kimberly Welch, University of California, Los Angeles

Ernst Bloch suggests that we live in the “not yet.” Following this provocation, José Esteban Muñoz has argued that queerness facilitates and describes a “forward dawning futurity.” Performance often expresses this dynamic, one that we might trace in a vast array of expressive cultural forms from insurgent actions to religious rituals to revolutionary projections.

The “transient performance” working session seeks to elaborate on the contingent performances that shape our lives now and in the past. How do we understand performance as a time-based art and/or practice? In what ways do new temporal configurations shift our understanding of the terms and contexts of cooptation or resistance? In what ways is transience a possible alternative to performance understood as either ephemerality or representation without reproduction? What material instantiations and lingering effects does performance enable? What is gained and/or lost in the transit of performance practices across spaces, both material and virtual? The “transient performance” working session welcomes proposals that treat any form of transient performance, including but not limited to: diaspora and migration, itinerant theatrical practices, performances of homelessness, riots and insurrections, and sexual subcultures. We are particularly interested in submissions that speak to the experiences of minoritarian communities in the US and around the world.

Because we seek a wide variety of topics and perspectives on these issues, the working session will run in two parts to which all participants must commit. The first is an online reading group which will include two online meetings and/or exchanges that will occur over the summer and early fall of 2016. To establish a common, but not exclusive, critical vocabulary for the participants in this year’s session, we will read together various selections from a list of works (2-3 readings per meeting) based on the participants’ work. The list of readings will be sent out with acceptance notifications.

To be considered for the working group, please submit an abstract (500 words max.) addressing transient performance. Accepted participants should expect to present/discuss a 10-12 page paper at the 2016 ASTR conference during our 3 hour working group session.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at smetzger@tft.ucla.edu and duke.kcw10@gmail.com. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Translating beyond text: bodies, cultures, epistemologies

Jennifer Thompson, CUNY Graduate Center
Mara Valderrama, CUNY Graduate Center
Bhargav Rani, CUNY Graduate Center
Alison Walls, CUNY Graduate Center

Translation studies has provided theatre scholars with fertile opportunities to consider how works of art move between cultures and contexts. It has emerged as a critical analytical rubric that posits questions surrounding the work’s relationship to its specific linguistic and cultural context as well as the political ramifications of its traversal beyond those contexts.

This session aims to push translation studies beyond its traditional focus on text and language. In keeping with the conference theme of trans—, we would like to focus on the hyphen, which we interpret as the sphere of ambiguity and potentiality surrounding the moment of transit between languages, spaces, cultures, and bodies. As Walter Mignolo has pointed out, languages are embedded within specific epistemologies and rationalities that situate the individual in specific relation to others and the world (2011). To move between languages is to invite an epistemological leap, one that has significant ramifications for the structuring of human relationships that might not always “translate.” In our globalizing world, these leaps that must constantly be made are embedded within the hegemonic primacy of English and thus carry freighted political implications. Furthermore, in theatre and performance, a multiplicity of non-linguistic “translations” propose radical epistemological leaps from the “archive” of the textual to the “repertoire” of the embodied. We will therefore ask: what nuances does the transfer between and beyond languages, semiotic systems and modalities introduce to the political and ethical ramifications of translation? How do these ramifications influence the power dynamics that inform and structure epistemologies?

Participants are invited to consider the political and ethical implications of translation beyond purely textual choices, or translations in which either the target or source language is not a natural language, such as Spanish, English or Hindi, but is rather embodied, acoustic, or multi-semiotic. During our working session, we will explore the political potential in the interstitial leaps between radically distinct epistemologies. Following Mignolo, we will attend to the decolonial options and opportunities present in theatrical translation, particularly within the spheres of ambiguity that these moments of translation open up. In addition, we will interrogate how translation in theatre creates—deliberately or inadvertently—conflicting, potentially subversive, ambiguous, or contradictory “texts” once the concept of language is broadened.

Papers might engage with these questions through (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • The political implications of translation and its decolonial possibilities
  • Translations of acting and performance style
  • Translations of bodies and abilities
  • Translations of gender and sexualities
  • Translation of non-linguistic cultural codes, including cultural tropes or stereotypes
  • Translation of multi semiotic texts (including musical texts or scientific texts) into performance
  • The untranslatable in performance
  • The role of translators, particularly in the translation of or into non linguistic texts, and their ethical and political responsibilities
  • Translation’s role in the homogenization or preservation of cultural difference

Once participants are notified, we will circulate a few shared texts, including excerpts of Walter D. Mignolo’s The Darker Side of Western Modernity and Gayatri Spivak’s “Translating into English.” These selections will provide a common ground for our conversation, though papers need not address the shared texts directly. In early September, session members will post abstracts of their papers via an online platform where members will comment. In early October, participants will submit short papers (8-12 pages) via the online platform and will share feedback and ideas with smaller groups based on thematic and theoretical interests. At the conference, we will begin with a group discussion prompted by larger questions raised by the papers. Then we will breakout into the smaller groups to discuss the papers specifically. Finally, we will reconvene to discuss connections between the papers and consider how the rubric of translation studies might productively and critically function beyond text-based scholarly practice.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at jenniferjoanthompson@gmail.com, maravalderrama@gmail.com, Bhargav.rani@gmail.com, and awals@gm.slc.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Transmedia Fan Culture: Performers across Platforms and their Audiences

Lauren Beck, Northwestern University
Seth Soulstein, Cornell University

Transmedia is a term created by television scholar Henry Jenkins referring to a process in which a story unfolds across more than one platform. In this “convergence culture,” as he describes the phenomena/experience/event of content flowing across multiple media platforms, Web 2.0 often provides sites of participation for fans of commercial works. This process can be intentional and controlled by the producers of a work; for example, a television show might also have a web series in which audiences can view and comment on additional content online. The process of creating a transmedia work can also, however, be unauthorized, such as when fans of a work circulate their own fanfiction for free online. Such transformative work shifts the focus of spectatorship from interpretation to participation, creates new and contested sites of labor and engagement, and disrupts traditional notions of authorship, inviting the question: does participatory culture enable trans-authorship? Given Peggy Phelan’s infamous claim that “[p]erformance’s being...becomes itself through disappearance,” where do we find performance in a cultural practice defined by remixing, pastiche, repetition, and transformation? Can live performance reverberate?

The study of fan culture has been primarily associated with television and mass media. However, the internet is full of communities of theatre fans who are participating in similar behaviors - writing fan fiction, creating costumes for elaborate photo shoots, imagining alternative casting decisions, and more. While immersive, participatory theatre becomes more and more common, might fan culture invite similar immersion and engagement with more conventional theatre? How does fan culture and practice add to, transform, and inform theatrical works? Does the widespread distribution of fan texts, made possible by the Internet, alter our approach to or understanding of source texts? How are fans transcending boundaries between performer and audience, and between consumers and creators? What insights from the centuries’ worth of our discipline’s focus on theatrical audiences can be applied to current understandings of fan culture and transmedia reception? We are interested in both in analyzing the practice of fans today as well as tracing a genealogy of fan culture and practice from the past. This working group seeks to bring together a diverse group of scholars interested in technology, new media, fan culture, participatory theatre, and transmedia storytelling to generate dialogue about the role fans can play in theatre.

The session conveners will divide participants into thematic sub-groups based on the content of their abstracts. Participants will post 7 to 10-page papers (nor more than 2500 words) on a blog, and carefully read and respond to papers in their sub-groups. Participants are also encouraged to read the other papers, making note of key ideas and questions to bring to the session. When we meet at ASTR for our two-hour session, we will break into our sub-groups to discuss questions and key ideas. We will then reconvene as a group, with individuals reporting back about key insights drawn from the small-group discussions and drawing connections to the other sub-groups. Finally, we will discuss the current state of and the future for fan culture studies within theatre studies.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at sethsoulstein@gmail.com and L-Beck@u.northwestern.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Transplants: Food/Theatre/Performance

Susan Bennett, University of Calgary
Kristin Hunt, Arizona State University

As subjects of scholarly inquiry, modes of creative practice, and commonplaces of everyday life, food, cooking, and eating regularly inhabit and enliven transdisciplinary spaces. This working group invites transdisciplinary work on food and performance from scholars, practitioners, and those who cross or trouble these categories. Inspired by the trans theme, this proposal asks how doing, thinking, seeing, and experiencing food, eating, and cooking through the lens of theatre and performance might open new scholarly and creative vistas, and, by the same token, how thinking and doing theatre and performance in transdisciplinary conversation with the scholarship and practice of food and cooking might create new aesthetic, theoretical, or political possibilities for the (trans)discipline.

Potential Topics Might Include:

  • Transplantation and hybridity as a performative issue within local and global food supplies
  • Performance across, through, or beyond traditional sensory boundaries
  • Transcultural or transnational intersections between food and performance
  • Issues of transformation and translation in doing-cooking and doing-performance
  • Transglobal economic, social and/or political impacts of performing food culture
  • Transubstantiation and theatricality
  • Transitions between states of matter, bodies, and foodstuffs onstage and in everyday life
  • Transdisciplinary theories and practices of food, eating, and performativity
  • Local translations -- food and performance networks
  • Affective performances of food production and consumption
  • Transformed pedagogies through the performance of food

Building on the success of 2014’s “How to Do Things With Food(s)” and 2015’s “Debating the Steaks,” this working group seeks to spark scholarly and creative exchanges about theatre and performance within transdisciplinary conversations about food, eating, labor, and identity. In keeping with this year’s conference theme, participants will translate their work between and across disciplines and modalities, from written scholarship to edible and/or embodied components. Participants will exchange 10-12 page research papers in advance of the conference, with conveners facilitating a series of pre-conference discussions around these essays. In an effort to explore the potential of the trans prefix as a provocation not only across disciplines but across senses, affects, and modes of creation, participants will create edible elements that translate, transubstantiate, transfer, or otherwise respond to the possibilities of trans by pushing their scholarship or creative practice into or through food and eating as medium, method, and/or event. Participants will have a 10-15 minute period in which to present their trans(edible) offering, after which participants and audience will explore relationships between and among the papers and edible elements, creating new lines of inquiry. Finally, through the use of a curated set of ingredients offered by the conveners and participants, the group will collaboratively create a shared performative meal that both provokes transdisciplinary conversation and provides commensal context for wider discussion of the implications of thinking trans in regards to food, eating, theatre, and performance.

Submissions should not only outline the research to be shared with the group, but also how the participant plans to extend or translate that research into edible elements.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at sbennett@ucalgary.ca and kristin.m.hunt@asu.edu Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Transposition & Transformation: Medieval Performance in Contemporary Research and Production

Lofton L. Durham, Western Michigan University
Jenna Soleo-Shanks, University of Minnesota Duluth

During the thousand-year period known as the Middle Ages, performance served as a primary means through which diverse groups articulated their beliefs, celebrated their histories, promoted their power, and escaped their realities. Performance, transacted within the space of the city, often transformed not only the urban space but also the very bodies of the citizens as well as the relationships among them. Thus, medieval performance traditions were strongly connected to the communities by which and for which they were created.

It is perhaps no surprise, then, that twenty-first century producers and audiences may be resistant to medieval plays. In her 1983 essay, Sue-Ellen Case proposed one reason for that resistance:

Shakespeare productions have prepared an audience for the Elizabethan world of superstition and Greek plays have prepared them for a world of pagan mythology, but the relative absence of medieval productions leaves the world of medieval Christianity to be understood by personal opinion about Christianity instead of a sense of it as a historical world view (“Re-viewing Hrotsvit,” Theatre Journal 35 (4): 533–42).

For modern playmakers to prepare audiences in their appreciation of medieval performance dramatic texts and traditions, however, they need to actually produce those texts. But to do so, producers must confront the fact that staging medieval dramatic texts is an act of linguistic, temporal, and cultural translation and transposition. This Working Session seeks to examine the role of, and methods used in, contemporary stagings of medieval texts and/or performance events. To begin with, we ask: what is the value of staging medieval texts or traditions today? What is the value for researchers who use Practice-based Research (PbR) or Practice-as-Research (PaR)? What is the value for contemporary artists and audiences?

This Working Group on medieval performance has convened since 2010 and we invite new scholars to join our on-going work. We envision a 2-hour Working Group that would prioritize Practice-based Research (PbR) or Practice-as-Research (PaR), but we also welcome written work on:

  • modern stagings of medieval plays
  • medievalism or the use of medieval settings or themes in contemporary performance
  • influence of the Middle Ages on twenty and twenty-first century theatre theory
  • material practice and medieval performance histories
  • sound, speech and/or language in medieval performance
  • translation of archaic languages
  • medieval stagecraft and/or processional staging
  • props and staging, for instance in the context of reconstructive critical work
  • engagement with fragmentary or ambiguous evidence and methods for revealing traces of performance practice
  • a focus on manuscripts, specifically in the form of non-dramatic literature and medieval performance practices

Please submit an abstract of 500 words describing your proposed paper and/or your proposed use of the performance workshop, if appropriate, by June 1. Please ensure that your proposal describes the role Practice-based Research (PbR) or Practice-as-Research (PaR) might play in the development of your argument. Completed papers (of no more than 8 double-spaced pages) will be due by September 15 for circulation and discussion.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at lofton.durham@wmich.edu and jsoleosh@d.umn.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Trans-racial Performance, Identity, and Belonging in the 21st century

Christiana Molldrem Harkulich, University of Pittsburgh
Maria Enriquez, University of Pittsburgh
Lisa Jackson-Schebetta, University of Pittsburgh

In Borderlands: La Frontera, Gloria Anzaldúa asserts, “...before the Chicano can have unity with Native Americans and other groups, we need to know the history of their struggle and they need to know ours. Our mothers, our sisters and brothers, the guys who hang out on the street corners, the children in the playgrounds, each of us must know our Indian lineage, our afro-mestizaje, our history of resistance.” Anzuldúa’s popular construction of “mestizaje” as a consciousness that transcends notions of separate racial dualities exemplifies the work of scholars exploring complex and overlapping notions in race studies. Across casting practices, political processes, and everyday life, racial tensions are at the forefront of 21st century culture. Studies in afromestizaje and blanquemiento identities and representations, among others, are fruitful in examining an ever-changing global and racial landscape.

For ASTR’s 2016 conference, which asks, “How does the notion of trans-racial thinking challenge and/or enrich ideas of theatre historiography?” this working session will explore how a variety of transracial representations, performances, or identities, reveal the complex dynamics of race and ethnicity in the global 21st century. What might transracial performances with a broad/diverse audience appeal expose about transformative concepts of race and identity? How do notions of transracial performance, identity, or belonging uncover the complex associations in racial and cultural imbrications, and in what ways do these performances challenge, disrupt, reify, reimagine, or intersect with historically static notions of race?

The goals for this working session are to invite and circulate an expansive scope of papers engaging with the critical thought and discussion surrounding the shifting and intersecting fields of performance and critical race studies. For narrowing purposes, this working session primarily focuses on 21st century contemporary performances of trans-racial identity However, an understanding of the historical trajectory within both fields is highly valued for the larger conversations during the working session. Essays that incorporate past and current scholarship in both fields, as well as other disciplines such as cultural, gender, and queer studies, are welcome and especially fruitful for the conversation. Session discussions may include the following topics:

  • Identifying and positioning current performance practices and productions within the shifting fields of performance and critical race studies. Topics can include non-traditional performances, as well as large-scale popular productions such as Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, and anticipate the forward trajectory of race and performance. Performances outside of the United States are welcome.
  • A thoughtful reflection and interrogation on the intersections and progressions of performance and critical race studies, and how each reveals deeper understandings of each field.
  • Explorations of the transmission process of racialized knowledge through performance, and how that impacts theatre’s function as a trans-disciplinary pedagogical tool, as well as an object of study.
  • Considerations that incorporate the impact of globalization and neoliberalism on the performance of culture, ethnicity, and race.

In advance of the conference, papers will be circulated to other members, and the group will be subdivided for peer review and online discussion. The format of the working session will begin with a rapid presentation of each group member’s research to familiarize the working group and outside observers with the overall scope of the session. After the short presentations, the room will divide into small discussion groups based on themes and prompts synthesized from the working group, world café style. Observers of the working session will be encouraged to engage in the discussion, or move freely between tables, based on their preference. The facilitators will introduce topics for each table, with 15-20 minutes given for small group discussion. After three small-group discussion rounds, the entire room will come back together for a large group discussion, based upon points brought up in the small group discussion, and guided by the facilitators.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at cmolldrem@gmail.com, mariasoyla@gmail.com, and lisajsch@pitt.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Transspecies Performance

Marla Carlson, University of Georgia
Kim Marra, University of Iowa

The biological sciences most often use the term “transspecies” in reference to transmission of a virus from one species to another or in studying evolution at the genetic level. Within geography, transspecies urban theory considers animals as agents that both shape and are shaped by urban structures. Transspecies tissue and organ transplants have advanced the biomedical care of human beings, and therapeutic engagements with non-human animals continue to expand and become formalized. This working session invites scholars to consider all parameters of a transspecies performance studies. Participants may engage with some of the following questions:

  • How do transspecies, transgender, and transracial performatives intersect and impact one another?
  • What makes an exchange across the species boundary transformative in performance?
  • Given that “trans-” entails movement from one place, individual, or category to another, does this inevitably require maintenance of existing categories? To what extent does “trans-” require an Other?
  • How does transspecies differ from interspecies? What are their respective advantages and limitations for performance research and practice?
  • When and how does performance scholarship transform (for better or worse) the lives of animals, the relation of humans to other animals, or performance practices relative to animals?
  • How can Animal Studies transform human performance practices and performance theory?

The session welcomes work engaging with theatrical performance, popular entertainments, live art, and also with performance studies as more broadly conceived, including transspecies performances that do not include human participants. We hope to engage with diverse transhistorical inquiries as well as scholarship focused on current phenomena.

This working session aims to arrive at different understandings of transspecies; to engage in lively discussion that will advance individual research agendas; and to get more performance scholars thinking across species. We propose to work with but reformulate ASTR’s familiar structure for working sessions:

  • We invite applicants to provide (1) a 150-word articulation of the research question that they propose to address in this working session; (2) a 150-word description of the larger research project to which their work on transspecies performance will contribute (such as an article, book, dissertation, or performance); (3) a brief biographical statement, no more than 200 words.
  • Working from participants’ research questions, the organizers will frame a series of questions for discussion beginning 8-10 weeks prior to the conference. Each participant will then contribute approximately 2000 words to one of our topic-oriented blogs hosted on the ASTR website, comparable to a position paper but developed through exchange with the topical subgroup.
  • Influenced by this preliminary discussion, each participant will prepare a five-minute presentation of research for the working session in Minneapolis. These presentations can take various forms including performance; embodied participation or other form of experiential investigation and provocation for those present at the session; a talk supported by a poster; images or creative video shared via laptop or tablet. Unfortunately, ASTR cannot support digital projection for working sessions.
  • We will use these five-minute presentations to open up in-person group discussion during the session about the meanings, possibilities, and transformative potential of transspecies explorations in performance contexts.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at marlac@uga.edu, and kim-marra@uiowa.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Transverting Whiteness

Megan Lewis, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Shannon Walsh, Louisiana State University

In keeping with ASTR 2016’s theme of Trans-, we propose a working session that aims to transvert whiteness: to transform, transgress, turn about, reverse or overturn; to think through, across and beyond whiteness. The discussion of whiteness, white privilege, white-washing, and white supremacy has gained renewed traction in the post-Ferguson moment. In this election year--when candidates are running on platforms of both veiled and explicit whiteness, where media attention is being paid to institutional systems of privilege and oppression that place whiteness and white bodies at the top of social hierarchies and brutalize black and brown bodies, when whiteness has entered the common lexicon and is receiving attention in both the popular press and the academy, and where whiteness is garnering greater scrutiny because of the #BlackLivesMatter movement—it is both timely and pressing that we attend to whiteness in its many performative iterations.

While these political and social critiques represent our current moment, they are certainly not new. Whiteness has been deployed as a culturing force in order to enact violence on indigenous populations and communities of color for centuries. Whether justifying mass extinction through genocides, secret sterilizations of women of color during the height of the eugenics movement, or the mass incarceration of generations of black men under the new Jim Crow, whiteness is both an unnamed assumption and the unassuming foundation upon which current biopolitical warfare is waged.

A racialized system of imbalanced power that refuses to acknowledge its own construction, whiteness functions predominantly as an invisible, unmarked norm that has been naturalized as the default category of existence. It has gone unmarked for so long that it has assumed a ubiquitous status in culture that perpetuates systems of inequality. We seek to un-assume whiteness. By putting whiteness “under erasure” as Louise Bethlehem (2013) suggests, by critiquing its existence as it remains legible and examining its paradoxes, inadequacies, and ambiguities, we can begin to dismantle its power. We place whiteness under scrutiny in order to trouble it, to understand and re-imagine how it is created, enacted, and contested.

Critiquing white privilege necessarily calls into question the frameworks that uphold the very institutions within which we work and the academic organizations within which our work circulates. Acknowledging the navel-gazing critique that by focusing on whiteness we risk re-centering its privilege, we invite papers that engage whiteness transnationally and scholars from a diverse array of positionalities. Understanding that as academics, we risk replicating systems of power, we welcome rich and robust debate in this Working Session that transverts whiteness and shifts our understanding(s) of the question of representation itself.

We invite papers that address a spectrum of perspectives, interrogating topics such as:

  • white-sight
  • white-washing
  • whiteface
  • white trash
  • making whiteness strange
  • color blind casting debates
  • artistic interrogations of whiteness
  • hybridized whiteness(es)
  • trans-gressions of power
  • trans-figurations or trans-formations of whiteness
  • whiteness as a framework

We will ask participants to submit papers that will be pre-circulated and read in advance of the conference. We will form smaller groupings based upon thematic, theoretical or methodological commonalities in the papers. Each small group will be invited to do some advance preparatory work to initiate the conversations prior to ASTR. As a group, we will also imagine new ways of structuring our conference session that address white privilege and work towards de-centering knowledge production and exchange.

Submit a brief bio and an abstract of no more than 500 words at the ASTR website. 10-page papers will be due September 16, 2016 and we will group authors to exchange feedback in early October. Our online discussion of how to structure the session in Minneapolis will take place in October.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at meganlewis@theater.umass.edu, and swalsh@lsu.edu. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Traumatic Structures Working Group: Trans-forming Trauma?

Mary Karen Dahl, Florida State University
Deborah Kochman, Florida State University

The Traumatic Structures Working Group explores violence and its effects on individuals, cultures, and histories. We consider performance broadly and interrogate the ways in which performance interacts with individual and cultural experiences of trauma. In 2016 we will re-assess performance as a form of “working through” trauma, a route or transition to healing or redress. Recognizing the fallacy of popular representations that enclose trauma and its treatment within the narrative of recognition, reversal, and implied catharsis, we ask how stressing notions captured by the prefixes “trans” and “inter” might complicate or dispel expectations of closure or cure and enable greater clarity in our claims for the affect/effect of performances that take trauma as their subject. Could such formulations enable a conceptual shift that replaces paradigms rooted in narrative structure with more fruitful and analytically powerful considerations of the processes that generate trauma (individual, vicarious, and cultural) and that the subjects live through and with?

The Working Group invites proposals that re-assess performance as a form of “working through” trauma, a route or transition to healing or redress. We seek projects that:

  1. Work at intersections between trauma theory and related discourses (violence theory, critical race theory, queer theory, postcolonial theory), in order to complicate our research into performance responses to cultural events.
  2. Explore the interaction of personal history, situation, and culture that shapes specific performance responses to individual, vicarious, or cultural trauma.
  3. Evaluate contributions non-Western ways of conceptualizing and responding to horrendous cultural events and histories make to our theoretical and performance paradigms.
  4. Ask, should we dare to, whether performance effectively transmutes the traumatic experience or produces transfiguration.

Proposals should specify the theoretical perspectives used. Attach a brief bio. Group work: Using a secure electronic site, all members of “Traumatic Structures” contribute 10-page papers and respond to each member's abstract and then to each paper in advance of ASTR. These online exchanges produce the plan for our ASTR session and prepare us to think hard and out loud together at ASTR. As is our custom, in advance of our session, the group will visit a site that memorializes a cultural trauma specific to the region. We also may schedule conversations to supplement our conference session. This format promotes in-depth collective thinking that sparks insights at the conference, strengthens individual research and performance projects, and stimulates new directions in trauma studies.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at mkdahl@gmail.com, and debkochman@gmail.com. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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Video Games and Gaming: Towards a Transmedial Analysis

Mike Sell, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Alan Filewod, University of Guelph
Kimi Johnson, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Alan Filewod writes, “Digital gaming may not be theatre, but it is a theatricalized activity, and it has a place in the wider sphere of activities that theatre embraces, where we trace a spectrum of related activities involving participatory play, narrative simulation, enactment, and spectatorship.”

Though digital performance studies has grown at pace with digital technologies and techniques, scholars have not investigated video games with the same level of enthusiasm. Theater studies, which has benefited from a robust exchange of ideas and methods with its digitally dedicated scholars and practitioners, has similarly kept games and gaming at arm’s length. Perhaps this is due to anxieties about gaming’s connections to profit and pleasure or to the challenges of theorizing a medium deployed across multiple platforms and spectatorial settings. Too, departments that focus on games and gaming are few and generally focus on design and development rather than critical, historical, and aesthetic study. And like performance, video games demand an interdisciplinary approach; without institutionally supported coalitions, scholarship is hampered.

And yet theatre studies is perfectly poised to engage video games and the cultures that surround them. Indeed, as a hybridized, interdisciplinary, and transnational field, it can provide unique insights into individual game texts and their specific configurations of play, simulation, enactment, and spectatorship. And it can clarify the economic, social, performative, ideological, and geopolitical dynamics that shape how players construct and transgress identity, how they challenge and consolidate community, how they participate in, resist, and intervene in the gamification of social and economic life.

This working session seeks to explore, identify, invent, and consolidate vocabulary, methods, and exemplary texts for those who work transmedially between digital gaming and theatre and performance scholarship. We seek to work with a community of interested scholars to promote critical video game studies both within ASTR and in academia more broadly. We seek to intervene in the explosive growth of the media, markets, and discourses of games and gaming. And we seek to develop a collaborative critical-scholarly project that will build a foundation for future scholarship and pedagogy in the field.

To these ends, we will expect participants to draft and share a 10-15 page essay, participate in structured peer-review groups, and play two or three exemplary game texts to be decided upon in response to participant interests and research foci. The conference session will be structured to facilitate the identification of key terms, methods, and future directions for the field, including strategies to improve the institutional and discursive position of theater- and performance-oriented critical video game studies.

We welcome proposals on all aspects of digital games, including individual game texts, mechanics, platforms, game communities (players, designers, scholars), and genres. However, we will especially value those proposals that aim towards broader methodological, critical, or disciplinary claims concerning digital games and theatre and performance studies.

Topics might include:

  • Transnational communities and identities organized around particular games (i.e., fighting games, multi-player arena battles, massive multiplayer online role-playing games), platforms, or software (i.e., Twine).
  • Identity formation, masquerade, and passing in ludic digital worlds, especially as they concern race, gender, class, and ability.
  • The application of acting theory and method to the design, play, and history of role-playing games and other character-centered genres and game texts.
  • The politics and pleasures of avatar construction; e.g., the micro-transaction market for gear, game-inspired cosplay, or the mutual influence of game design and fashion (i.e., Louis Vuitton licensing the Final Fantasy character Lightning as model for its Spring 2016 line).
  • The theatrical and performative dynamics of white heternormativity, including online, in-game, and real-world sexual harassment, racism, able-ism, and transphobia (i.e., #Gamergate).
  • Games as sites and vehicles for acts of transfer.
  • Examples of adaptation and transmediation between games and theatre.
  • Performative and social transgression and discipline as it concerns such things as mechanics, genre, sociality, collectivity, and game criticism.
  • Pedagogies of digital play and gaming, as both content and method.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at msell@iup.edu, kimidjohnson@gmail.com, and afilewod@uoguelph.ca. Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website, at http://www.astr.org/page/16_WGSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third -choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2016 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. As this is the first year of this new process, please contact the conference organizers at astr2016@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.

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American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR)

1000 Westgate Drive, Suite. 252 | St. Paul, MN 55114 | Phone: 651.288.3429 | Fax: 651.290.2266 | Email: info@astr.org