Performance in Historical Paradigms Working Group
PSi 19 – Now Then: Performance and Temporality
Stanford University, June 26 – 30, 2013
Conveners: Dominika Laster (Yale University) and Aniko Szucs (New York University)
The Performance in Historical Paradigms Working Group provides a dynamic forum for the discussion of performance studies methodologies for those who engage with multiple
(inter)disciplinary paradigms and use performance theory to think historically, or think historically about performance. We invite proposals for papers and performances, up to 20
minutes in length, that engage with the general working group focus on the intersections between performance studies and history.
Questions we address include:
• How might performance studies expand, change, or challenge the field of history — and vice versa?
• Where does the merging of history and performance studies currently occur most productively? Are there, or should there be, any limits to the use of performance theory in historical inquiry?
• How can the methods, theoretical influences, and other disciplinary preoccupations of performance studies apply to the study of the past?
• How do different research methodologies enable a historical perspective and what are their drawbacks?
• What constitutes evidence in the intersection of performance studies and history?
The theme of the PSi 19 conference, Now Then: Performance and Temporality, is particularly potent for the critical investigation of the intersections of performance studies and history. We invite proposals that engage with the following questions:
+ Immediacy and Affect
o The investigation of performance affect conventionally presupposes the immediacy of an event. However, what happens when historical distance replaces immediacy, and researchers have to replace the immediate experience of the performance with archival traces and oral histories?
o Can we make affect accessible and assessable through historiographic research? What methodologies does performance studies offer for the investigation of the affect of past performances?
o How should the grammatical/philosophical notion of ‘past anterior’ inform our research of performances of the past? How can we incorporate into our investigation the effect
and affect of a past that preceded the historical moment on which we are focusing?
o How does affect contest, distort or transform existing temporal structures that determine
our experience of time?
o What temporal zone(s) does the archive occupy, and how do archiving and counterarchiving practices construct temporalities?
o What are the productive tensions between the archival document – so often conceptualized as a trace remnant of the ‘past anterior’ or the pluperfect of history (from
the Latin plus ‘more’ + perfectus ‘completed, perfected’) – and the fragmented, incomplete, and partial qualities that constitute its very nature? What are the theoretical
and methodological implications of this precarious and contradictory function of the archive and archival practice?
o What are the ways in which performance defies the purported completedness or disappearance of the pluperfect? How does performance extend its duration past its
contractual ‘end’ through various afterlives in the form of documentation, embodied memories, testimonies and other circulating modalities?
+ (Re)Constructing Performance (in practice and/or theory)
o How do projects that attempt to reconstruct historical performances – such as the Rude Mechs’ reconstruction of Schechner's Dionysus in 69 or the Wooster Group’s Poor
Theater: A Series of Simulacra – activate the comingling of multiple temporalities?
What are the cultural and socio-political repercussions of such temporal shifts, pairings and displacements?
o What are the ways in which historians excavate and reconstruct performances from the more distant past? How can the coupling of performance studies and history mobilize
new theoretical perspectives and creative methodologies for the investigation of historical performances on and off the stage?
Please submit proposals for papers and praxis sessions to the conveners: Dominika Laster firstname.lastname@example.org and Aniko Szucs email@example.com by November 30, 2012.
Proposals should include your name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address, phone number, technical requirements for your presentation (PC, projector, DVD player, internet access), a title and 350-word abstract, as well as a 150-word bio.
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