IFTR 2016 CFP

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 performanceandreligion@gmail.com.
  • 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 iftr.prs@gmail.com before the 15th January deadline.

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IFTR 2015 Call for Papers

IFTR/FIRT Working Group
Performance and Religion

CALL FOR PROPOSALS

for the group’s meeting
at the IFTR Conference in Hyderabad, India, July 2015

Concepts and methods in theatre, performance, religion and spirituality

The 2015 conference in Hyderabad will mark the fifth annual meeting of the Performance and Religion Working Group. While we are justly proud of the work we have done in that time, we have realized that it is necessary at this point to attempt a clearer, more precise articulation of the concepts and methods that bring together the study of theatre, performance, religion and spirituality.

To that end, the group would like to focus its 2015 meeting on a few basic conceptual and methodological questions that will help it develop a more coherent and useful programme of working going forward. This year’s call asks for papers, proposals, interventions and provocations that respond specifically to one of the three questions outlined here, which will be subject to rigorous discussion in Hyderabad. Proposals which do not specifically address one of the three questions below will not be accepted.

Those who may wish to participate in these discussions but would like to present a more general paper are advised to submit it to the general panel sessions or new scholars’ forum, as appropriate, and to participate in the working group’s sessions as a discussant. We encourage all those who would like to be part of the discussions but do not wish to submit a proposal to participate in this manner.  If you are interested in doing so, please email the conveners on performanceandreligion@gmail.com.

The three questions available for proposals to respond to are:

  • How can performance help us to make sense of spirituality, especially in the context of contemporary secularism?
  • How can the methods of research and analysis developed by theatre and performance studies help us to understand the workings of religion and spirituality?
  • How ought the key concepts of performance, religion and spirituality be most precisely and usefully defined?

While this call asks for responses to these specific questions, it does not demand that these responses be in any particular form. 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 31 January 2015. Please note that for those members who wish to be considered for an IFTR bursary, the deadline is 15th December 2014. 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 performanceandreligion@gmail.com.

Notice on acceptance will be given by 28 February 2015.

Finalized papers are to be submitted by email by 1 June 2015.

Papers will then be distributed to the groups’ members for discussion about a month before the conference. Rather than reading out papers in Hyderabad, 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. Please visit http://www.iftr2015hyd.in/call-for-papers/

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 performanceandreligion@gmail.com before the 31st January deadline.

All questions or concerns should be sent to the group’s conveners, Joshua Edelman (Birkbeck, University of London) and Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen (Department of Musicology and Performance Studies, Stockholm University) at performanceandreligion@gmail.com.

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IFTR 2014 WG Schedule

Current Schedule of the Performance and Religion Working Group Meetings, 2014

Sat. 26 July (Optional)

11.00-21.00: Workshop: “The Bible as Theatre” lead by Prof. Shimon Levy (Room: G55 Studio One)

11.00-13.30: Part 1

14.30-17.00: Part 2

18.30-21.00: Part 3

Sun. 27 July (Optional)

19.00 Informal Pub Gathering: Dinner in Coventry. Meeting place to be announced

Mon. 28 July

8.30-10.30: WG Session 1 (Room: G52 Studio Three)

8.30: Opening Words by the Conveners

8.50: Irma Ratiani: “Georgian Drama and the Significance of Ancient Rituals and Religious Belief”

9.20: Joshua Edelman: “Clerical Betrayal and Christian Affirmation” 

9.50: Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen: “Redemption through Secular Reinvention: Staging a Community of Dissent in Contemporary Liturgical Drama”

11.00-12.30: WG Session 2 (Room: G52 Studio Three)

11.00: Jenny Wong: “Belief and Prejudice: Interrogating the Christian Dimension in The Merchant of Venice through the Lens of Chinese Directors”

11.30: Silvia Battista: “The Challenge of the Infinite: On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God by Romeo Castellucci, and the Catholic community.”

12.00:Traian Penciuc: “The Thin Line Between Ritual and Performance – Theatre, Eating and Bathing at Kumbh Mela”

Tue. 29 July

16.30-18.00: WG Session 3 (Room: G52 Studio Three)

16.30: Susan Studham: “Theatre Hierarchy and Deities in Bali”

17.00: Amit Ranjan: “Comb On! This common commune ain’t so common: Gambhira, the ritual performance of Bengal”

17.30: Alvin Eng Hui Lim: “The Christmas Shows of Protestant Communities in Singapore” 

Wed. 30 July

8.30-10.30: WG Session 4 (Room: G52 Studio Three)

8.30: Louise Bagger: “Realization of the spiritual in interactive theatre”

9.00: Daniel Reis Pla: “The path of cultivation: Dharma Art and Art as Vehicle” 

9.30: Roberta Mock: “’The tyranny of the middle-class Jewish family’: Performing gendered roles in hip comedy communities”

11.15-12.45: General Panels 3

3.1 Performance and Religion WG Sponsored Panel: The performative strata of religion and the religious strata of performance”

Co–Chairs: Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen and Joshua Edelman 

Room: MR2, SH

Shimon Levy: Biblical Metatheatricality: King David isn’t trapped again” 

David Mason: The Limits of Mimesis in Religious Performance”

Ruthie Abeliovich: The Jewish Liturgical Soundscape in Hanna Rovina’s performance of the Messiah’s motehr monologue in The Eternal Jew”

Thurs. 31 July

16.30-18.00: WG Session 5 (Room: G52 Studio Three)

16.30: Themed Discussion on Religious Community and its Performativity (based on a inspirational text read by all prior to the meeting)

17.15: Discussion on The Group’s Work, Part 1: Perspectives on Performing Religious Community

Fri. 1 Aug

14.00-15.30: WG Session 6 (Room: G52 Studio Three)

14.00: Discussion on The Group’s Work, Part 2: Where do we want to go from here?

15.10: Summation and concluding words

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FIRT/IFTR 2014 CFP

CALL FOR PROPOSALS
for the group’s meeting at the IFTR World Congress, Warwick, July 2014

The Performance of Religious Community

Performance, when used as a part of religious life, frequently both serves to construct and define a religious community, and depends on the support of that community for its meaning and vitality. Performance is a key means by which religious communities are maintained and renewed, and it is also frequently used as a means through which to challenge them. When religion is affirmed performatively – as opposed to by doctrine or belief – the ways in which it is deeply bound up with the patterns and affects of community are often readily apparent. When aesthetic performance makes use of religious material or gesture, it often does so to make use of or interrogate the communitarian nature of its audience. Similarly, radical performance also often offers a potent means of critiquing the constitution or practices of religious communities; it can, for instance, challenge exclusions or taboos, or propose new models of worship and devotion for communities to take up. And finally, contemporary political theory has begun to recognize the importance of religion and religious performance in the formation of the kind of strong social bonds, which can serve as a strong basis for a democratic society.

The Performance and Religion Working Group welcomes proposals that interrogate the role of the religious community in performative practices. We are interested in proposals, which describe or analyse performances that work to build or critique existing practices of religious community. Proposals may deal with historical and contemporary performances of all the world’s religious, spiritual, theatrical traditions and practices.

The working group will accept proposals for a variety of academic interventions. 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 alongside. The group cannot, of course, accommodate all requests, as resources are limited, so those submitting proposals are advised to indicate how flexible they can be in their requests. Particular attention is drawn to the fact that, in order to accommodate a wider variety of contributions, the group may hold a pre-conference meeting over the weekend of 26/27 July, immediately before the World Congress, either in Warwick or in London. Applicants are asked to indicate if they would be available to present in those dates.

Abstracts (up to 300 words) will be accepted in English and French. The group’s primary working language is English.

The following is the schedule for proposals for the meeting:

  • Abstracts are due no later than 15 January 2014.
  • Notice on acceptance will be given by 28 February 2014.
  • Finalized papers are to be submitted by email by 1 June 2014.
  • Papers will then be distributed to the groups’ members for discussion about a month before the conference. Formal papers will not generally be read out in Warwick. Rather, group members will be expected to read them in advance, and we will use our time in Warwick to discuss them.

We welcome both new and current members to join the meeting, from graduate students to senior scholars. We are particularly keen to ensure the group’s membership reflects the geographic and theoretical diversity of the IFTR. This 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 submitted through the IFTR’s online system, managed by Cambridge Journals. Please visit http://iftr2014warwick.org/?page_id=144. 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 performanceandreligion@gmail.com before the 15th January deadline.

All questions or discussions should be sent to the group’s conveners, Joshua Edelman (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London) and Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen (Department of Musicology and Performance Studies, Stockholm University) at performanceandreligion@gmail.com

For more information on the working group, please see our website: home.performanceandreligion.org

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CFP FIRT/IFTR 2012

CALL FOR PAPERS

for the group’s main meeting in
Santiago de Chile, 22 to 28 July 2012
and its ancillary meeting at a location TBA (likely London), September 2012

Performing Transcendence

At the Performance and Religion Working Group’s founding meeting at the IFTR 2011 conference in Osaka, it was decided to make the publication of an anthology the main output of the working group’s four-year research plan. This work will begin at the July 2012 IFTR meeting in Santiago. However in the interest of accommodating as many researchers as possible, we will add an ancillary meeting with the same call for papers for those who cannot attend the primary meeting in Santiago. The papers presented at both meetings will form the basis for developing the publication.

Transcendence is a key concept in religion and spirituality, but one that often evades easy description, discussion or analysis. The transcendent is connected to what Geertz calls the “uniquely realistic”—it may be conceptualised as God, a supernatural order, the human community, the Big Other, an ultimate truth, and so on. As the transcendent evades human language, it is often the subject of performances, whether aesthetic or ritual, which seek to embody or present it. In these performances, transcendence is evoked or experienced before it is understood.

We are interested in exploring transcendence as an experiential concept of theatrical and ritual events within and outside religious and theatrical institutions, from historical or contemporary perspectives. Questions considered may include the conceptualisation, staging, politics, ethics, meaning and function of transcendence in a variety of religious and performative traditions. What artistic and liturgical strategies are used to evoke transcendence in performance? How are these strategies constituted and performed from the perspectives of different participants (celebrants and congregants, performers and spectators)? How may these performances be seen to uphold or challenge systems of belief or ideas of faith?

The working group is interested in proposals that interrogate these or related questions. Abstracts (ca. 250 words) will be accepted in English and French. The group’s primary working language is English.

The following is the schedule for proposals to both meetings:

  • Abstracts are due no later than 30 January 2012
  • However, members who wish to apply for IFTR bursaries to attend the Santiago meeting should note that such applications are due 1 December 2011. Bursary applicants are thus advised to submit their abstracts as soon as possible. (IFTR bursaries are not available for the ancillary meeting.)
  • Notice on acceptance will be given by 28 February 2012
  • Finalized papers are to be submitted by email by 15 June 2012
  • Papers will then be distributed to the groups’ members for discussion before the conference. In Santiago (and at the ancillary meeting), we will discuss the papers rather than taking time to read them out.

Note: If you can, please attend the main meeting rather than the ancillary meeting. All papers will be distributed to the whole group, whether they are discussed at the main or ancillary meeting.

We welcome new members to join the group, from graduate students to senior scholars. We are particularly keen to ensure its membership reflects the geographic and theoretical diversity of the IFTR. This 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 submitted through IFTR’s online system, which is managed by Cambridge Journals. For instructions, please visit http://www.firt2012chile.uc.cl/index.php/en/conference/papers

If you are submitting a paper for the ancillary meeting only, please indicate that in your submission.

All questions or discussions should be sent to the group’s conveners, Joshua Edelman (Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London) and Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen (Department of Musicology and Theatre Studies, Stockholm University) at: performanceandreligion@gmail.com

For more information on the working group, please see our (new) websites, home.performanceandreligion.org or www.yavanika.org/pandr

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Performance and Religion Purpose

This working group seeks to examine the interconnection between the forms, institutions, practices, traditions and impulses of religion and theatrical performance. We seek ways of  examining how performance and religion have come into conversation, cooperation and  conflict, both historically and in the present.

We wish to place our work at the intersection of the scholarly traditions of theatre studies and  the study of religion. Both are committed to the critical inquiry of their material, and both are  committed the joint participation of scholars from all corners of the world. This group is open to  members from all national and cultural backgrounds, and it interests itself in 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 longMlasting 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.

Topics of interest might include (but are not limited to):

  • The use of performance within religious practices (i.e., ritual or spirituality) and its  relationships to secular performance
  • The interactions between structures of religious institutions and theatres, politically,  economically, or legally
  • Traditions of religious antipathy towards the theatre, and vice versa
  • The secularity of performative aesthetics and ways in which this has been challenged
  • Attempts to bridge religious divisions by means of performance
  • The nature of the theatrical spectator compared to the religious worshipper or  congregant, as well as the theatrical performer as compared to the religious practitioner  or celebrant
  • The transcendent or supernatural in performance
  • A comparative analysis of religion and theatre as phenomenological and/or  epistemological systems
  • Religious performances, including as an ecological engagement or as a “theatre” of the  oppressed
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