Theatre Conference Call for Papers

Querying Difference in Theatre History
Theatre History Symposium
2006 Mid-America Theatre Conference
Allerton-Crowne Plaza Hotel, Chicago
March 2-5, 2006

All-Conference Keynote (Saturday, March 4): Harry J. Elam, Jr. Professor Elam is the Olive H. Palmer Professor in the Humanities and a Professor of Drama, Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts and Director of the Committee on Black Performing Arts at Stanford University. His publications include Taking it to the Streets: The Social Protest Theater of Luis Valdez and Amiri Baraka (University of Michigan Press) and The Past as Present in the Drama of August Wilson (University of Michigan Press), as well as numerous edited works and juried articles.

Theatre History Symposium Respondent: Don B. Wilmeth Professor Wilmeth is the Asa Messer Emeritus professor of Brown University's departments of English and Theatre. He is a co-editor of the Cambridge History of American Theatre and is currently Series Editor of Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History and Culture. His publications include George Frederick Cooke: Machiavel of the Stage (Greenwood) and The Language of American Popular Entertainment (Greenwood), as well as several other books, edited works, and juried articles.

The Theatre History Symposium of the Mid-America Theatre Conference seeks conference-length papers that examine constructions and contestations of difference in the history of theatre and performance. To “query” implies both an expression of doubt as well as a question—that is, an opening for critical dialogue that generates new knowledge as often as it responds to received knowledges. We therefore invite proposals that move beyond the repetition of received categories of difference in theatre history and instead probe the boundaries and intersections of seemingly disparate identity formations. We also encourage papers that incorporate discursive modes that challenge traditional notions of the archive and the text, to give voice to the lived pasts of historically disenfranchised groups and individuals whose pasts have often gone unrecorded in academic spaces. Please note that while “difference” may immediately conjure issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and/or sexuality, we will welcome proposals that examine differences more broadly construed: nationalisms, economic gradations, and so forth.

Papers might address one or more of the following issues, though proposals are not limited to these categories:

  • Emerging critiques of “multiculturalism” and alternative discourses (“trans-“ or “interculturalism”)
  • Questions of theatre and “otherness”
  • Indigenous theatre and performance
  • Contact and border zones
  • Historic dilemmas in the practice of theatre (e.g., “color-blind” vs. race-specific casting)
  • Postcolonial and decolonial representations of racial/ethnic identity, national identity, etc.
  • Historiographic methods for researching and writing about historically disenfranchised groups and/or individuals.
  • Case-studies and analyses of performance of difference
  • Issues of difference and theatre in the American Midwest.

Abstracts must be received by November 15, 2005. Please limit abstracts to 250 words. Proposals for research groups and full panels (of three related papers) are also welcome. Contact Co-Chairs for details.

Robert A. Schanke Research Award: Prospective presenters who are interested in entering the competition for the Robert A. Schanke Research Award should indicate this on their abstract. The Robert A. Schanke Research Award is given annually to an untenured faculty presenter of the Theatre History Symposium and carries a cash award of $500 as well as subsequent publication of the paper in Theatre History Studies, the journal of the Mid-America Theatre Conference.

Email Abstracts as Word documents to both Theatre History Symposium co-chairs at the addresses below:

Ann Haugo
Illinois State University

Scott Magelssen
Augustana College

PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR NAME, TITLE (identifying whether you are faculty, student, or independent scholar) and ACADEMIC AFFILIATION with your Abstract.

Works-in-progress workshops

This year the Theatre History Symposium is pleased to offer two workshops for scholars with works in progress—one workshop for those with an article in progress and one workshop for those with a monograph in progress. If you have a monograph or article you are preparing to submit for publication and would like critical feedback and advice from your peers as well as a journal or series editor, please prepare a timeline for completion and one of the following:

a. For the article workshop: a one-page abstract of the work in progress
b. For the monograph (book-length) workshop: a draft of a publication proposal. (Follow the proposal guidelines for the press of your choice, or e-mail the symposium chairs for more information.)

Essays for this workshop will be selected based on overall clarity of the project and time limitations for the conference itself. Send proposals to both co-chairs at the addresses above. Submissions due November 15, 2005.

Ann Haugo
Assistant Professor
School of Theatre
Campus Box 5700
Illinois State University
Normal IL 61790
(309) 438-3955