International Federation of Theatre Research
Performance and Religion Working Group
Stockholm, June 2016
The performative present of religious, ritual and spiritual traditions
Within their complex of texts, affects, values, beliefs and practices, the world’s religions contain some of the oldest and most venerated traditions of human culture. But in order to make these traditions vibrant and active in contemporary life, these traditions need to be made present, often by means of performance. For its 2016 meeting, the Performance and Religion Working Group calls for research presentations that examine the ways in which these traditions are made active, present and relevant by means of performance. Presentations may choose to focus on, amongst other topics:
- Ritual innovation in contemporary religious life
- New religious or spiritual movements and their invocations of tradition
- The performative creation and re-creation of tradition
- The relationship between tradition, authority, and affect
- Inter-religious performances and the performative negotiation of multiple traditions
- ‘Post-religious’ invocations of religious, spiritual or intellectual traditions in ritual
- Performative appeals to tradition in cases of conflict or crisis
- Invocation of tradition in ‘spiritual-but-not-religious’ performance
- Tradition, colonialism and legacies of political authority
- The performative assertion of ownership or distance from a tradition.
We are also particularly interested in research that overlaps between this call and the interests of other IFTR working groups. We are exploring the possibility of sponsoring joint panels (either open or closed) with other working groups. If your proposal might be appropriate for a joint session, please note that on your application.
Conventional papers, curated panels, performances, workshops, and provocations of all sorts are welcome. If additional time or space is required beyond 20 minutes in a typical seminar room, these needs should be submitted clearly in the proposal or by email. The group cannot, of course, accommodate all requests, as time and resources are limited, so those submitting proposals are advised to indicate how flexible they can be in their requests.
We welcome both new and current group members, from graduate students to senior scholars, to submit proposals or to participate as discussants. We are particularly keen to ensure the group’s membership reflects the geographic and theoretical diversity of the IFTR. This working group is open to members from all national and cultural backgrounds, and it interests itself in all the world’s religious, spiritual and performative traditions. Both religion and performance are, in our view, sets of social and cultural practices that have a profound and long-lasting importance to those involved in them. Because these practices are so important, we are committed to a nonsectarian inquiry of them. We assume no particular faith or religious affiliation for our members or our work.
Abstracts should be between 250 and 300 words. The group’s working language is English.
The following is the schedule for proposals for the meeting:
- Abstracts are due no later than 15 January 2016. Please note that for those members who wish to be considered for an IFTR bursary, the deadline is 1 December 2015. Because of the tightness of this deadline, the convenors will make every effort to respond to all questions and submissions that aim for a bursary as quickly as possible. Applicants with concerns should contact the convenors on firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Notice on acceptance will be given by 28 February 2016.
- Finalized papers are to be submitted by email by 1 June 2016.
- Papers will then be distributed to the groups’ members for discussion about a month before the conference. Rather than reading out papers in Stockholm, we expect participants (including discussants) to read them in advance so that we can maximise the time we have available for discussion.
Abstracts should be submitted through the IFTR’s online system, managed by Cambridge Journals. Details will be available at the IFTR website (http://www.firt-iftr.org/) in due course.
Please note that accepted abstracts will be published in the Congress’s Abstracts Book. Additional information such as the form the proposed submission will take, or information about available dates, should be included on the online form under ‘Equipment required.’ Should this prove insufficient, additional information should be emailed (no attachments, please) to email@example.com before the 15th January deadline.