"Beyond the Postdramatic? The Stakes of Contemporary Performance"
Conveners: Shane Boyle (Queen Mary Univ. of London), Matthew Cornish (Ohio University), and Brandon Woolf (Freie Universitӓt Berlin)
This year’s “Debating Postdramatic Theatre” working session is a culmination of the conversations we began at ASTR in Dallas and continued in Baltimore. For our third and final meeting, we invite contributions that consider the political, philosophical, and historical stakes of examining contemporary performance practices through the category of the postdramatic. In addition to its explanatory possibilities, what are the blind spots and biases of postdramatic theatre? And what do other frameworks or lenses for studying contemporary performance provide that the postdramatic does not?
Papers may consider a range of questions within or across the categories of politics, philosophy, and history.
Hans-Thies Lehmann and other scholars often reduce the politics of postdramatic theatre to an “interruption” of the political itself. But what practices and perspectives does such a position preclude? In what ways have austerity and the recent surge in social movements globally informed the political orientation of experimental performance? And how do categories like the ”post-Brechtian,” “social practice,” or even “live art” allow us to imagine different political possibilities for contemporary performance?
Papers could also explore the philosophical stakes of postdramatic theatre. How does the postdramatic provide opportunities for philosophical reflection, or for reflecting on emerging notions of performance philosophy? What are the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of postdramatic theatre, and how do they inform what practices we consider to be postdramatic? What are other critical genealogies for putting the postdramatic in perspective, and for opening up alternative avenues to study contemporary performance?
Picking up on questions of genealogies, we also invite papers that historicize the category of the postdramatic itself, as well as particular postdramatic performances. How and why did the postdramatic become useful for describing contemporary performance? What lenses did it overtake or lead us to underemphasize? Could we develop a canon of postdramatic theatre? And what are the limitations of canonizing postdramatic performance?
Please send a 250-word abstract along with a brief bio by May 31, 2015 to the conveners:
Shane Boyle (firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Cornish (email@example.com
Brandon Woolf (firstname.lastname@example.org
Members will be notified by the end of June whether their proposals have been accepted for the working group.