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ASTR 2020 Annual Conference
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ASTR Vice President for Conference Jimmy Noriega recently announced the postponement of the 2020 Annual Conference until 2021. His message follows:

"On June 13, 2020 the Executive Committee of ASTR voted to postpone the 2020 Annual Conference until 2021. This postponement will allow the current conference co-chairs—Soyica Diggs Colbert, Douglas A. Jones, and Shane Vogel—to plan and execute their conference theme, “Theatre and Performance After Repetition,” for the meeting that will take place in San Diego, October 29-31, 2021. We understand that this is disappointing news to many of our members, but the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the uncertainty surrounding employment and funding at many institutions, makes this the best path forward for our organization.

Individuals who submitted working session proposals should hear about acceptances by June 23. I encourage everyone to confirm their participation with the working session organizers so that their names appear in the online program.

In place of this year’s conference, we will be hosting a “pre-conference” that will allow working session participants to share their work and build a scholarly community for continued research support. This pre-conference will not be an online conference, but rather a series of loosely connected activities for members to voluntarily participate in exchanges and other discussions in advance of next year’s meeting. Details on the pre-conference will be shared in August, but it is worth noting now that there will be no costs associated with any of the activities. Plenaries, curated panels, and other conference wide-events will be postponed to the following year and those members will be hearing from the conference co-chairs soon.

We understand that people will have many questions about how we will proceed for 2021. I kindly ask for your continued patience and understanding as we find ways to move forward with the conference planning process. Our decisions will be based on giving members a choice: those who wish to have their accepted work continue as part of the 2021 proceedings will be given that opportunity; individuals who do not want to continue into next year will be respected; presenters will have the chance to revise their paper titles for the 2021 program; and a new call for additional participants or new proposals will be circulated in advance of the San Diego meeting as a way to create an opportunity for more scholars and artists to participate in those proceedings. As you can imagine, there are a lot of moving parts to this complicated process and we will keep you updated as information becomes available. As a general guideline, we will follow the usual conference planning timeline, which means that further information on the CFP for the San Diego conference will be released in December.

Again, I would like to thank Soyica, Doug, Shane, and all of their team for the dedication that they have put into planning their conference and for the work that they will continue to do on behalf of ASTR. I also want to thank Tom Robson, Jennifer Kokai, and Sam O’Connell, who were initially selected as the 2021 conference organizers. They have graciously offered to delay their co-chair responsibilities and will now plan and organize the 2022 conference.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Jimmy Noriega, VP for Conferences ( or Aimee Zygmonski (, our Executive Director."


Conference Theme

Repetition repeats itself. Theories of repetition inform theatre history across periods, methodologies, theoretical frameworks, and approaches to examining theatre history and historical practices. From descriptions of repetition-with-a-difference and performative iteration to twice-behaved behavior and staged revivals, repetition has become an axiomatic starting point for understanding the complex temporality of theatre—sometimes at the expense of other ways of imagining performance in time and as time. Among other entities repetition might be (an ontological allegory, a rhetorical operation, a signifying chain, a rhythmic pulse, a well of influence, a technology of discipline, a comfort, a nightmare), it is a temporal mode that marks a series or sequence. It is the interplay between linear time—existing on a chronological line where things recur again after they have previously occurred—and cyclical time—since if tomorrow is a repetition of yesterday, then yesterday is already tomorrow and tomorrow yesterday. In toggling between line and cycle, repetition gives us seriality, division, memory, and difference. But there are other ways to contemplate and inhabit difference than via repetition.

While appreciating the inestimable value that theories of repetition have contributed to the study of theatre and performance, the conference seeks to center other time signatures that may be related to, but diverge from, repetition. Repetition is but one way that past/present/future can be configured in relation to each other, but it is not the only one. What other temporal arrangements organize theatre and performance? How else does theatre and performance temporalize the relationships between identity and difference, between chronos and kairos, between the past and the present? Are there other ways of understanding difference, power, and resistance that are not necessarily shaped by repetition? What are the limits of repetition for comprehending the historicity and phenomenology of theatre? How do ecstatic temporalities alter the linear and cyclical patterns of repetition? How does performance interrupt repetition, rather than rely on it, for its effects? How have new media technologies changed how we think of repetition and performance? What other lexicons might we develop to understand the relationship of performance to time and history?

This conference theme developed out of the first José Esteban Muñoz Targeted Working Group, a multiyear ASTR initiative to increase the diversity of the organization and the research produced under its auspices. The development of the Muñoz Working Groups provides an opportunity for the organization to take stock of the state of the field and the institution of ASTR, shaping both moving forward. Our conference aims to extend the conversations originating from the Muñoz Working Groups to the organization as a whole. Of all the ideas that organize the field’s critical protocols, repetition is almost certainly the most ubiquitous. In the spirit of the Muñoz initiative, we invite submissions that explore how repetition—of performances, institutions, or practices—reproduces institutional exclusion and segregates knowledge production. Proposals that bring minoritarian knowledge and global perspectives to bear on theatre studies and performance studies are especially welcome.

2020 Conference Program Chairs

Soyica Diggs Colbert, Georgetown University
Douglas A. Jones, Jr., Rutgers University
Shane Vogel, Indiana University

2020 Conference Program Committee

Joshua Chambers-Letson (Northwestern University)
Julia Fawcett (UC-Berkeley)
Ellen MacKay (University of Chicago)
Patrick Maley (Centenary College)
Jade Power-Sotomayor (University of California San Diego)
Alexis Riley (University of Texas, Austin)
Rachel Smiley (AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts)
Catherine Young (Princeton Writing Program)
Jimmy A. Noriega (College of Wooster), ex officio

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