CFP: "Performing In/Justice," deadline for paper proposals: Oct. 1, 2013
"America: Justice, Conflict, War"
European Association for American Studies (EAAS), 60th Anniversary Conference, The Hague, Netherlands, April 3 – 6, 2014,
This workshop-panel explores cultural performances in the construction and negotiation of ‘justice.’ The notion of justice is legally anchored in existing laws, resolutions, and acts, on national and international levels. The various interpretations of ‘justice’ become part of collective imaginations and identifications not solely because of their textual or material existence but they are also perpetuated via cultural enactments or performances. Such enactments include public acts of remembrance, holiday celebrations, or speeches. While in these cultural performances justice is linked to national or culture-specific ideologies such as freedom, democracy, equality, national belonging, and identity, it also serves as a starting point for transnational coalition-building. Yet, what has been institutionalized and executed as ‘right’ (e.g., the Dred Scott decision, 1857; the Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882; the Iraq War Resolution, or the ‘bailout’/Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, 2008), is not automatically accepted as ‘just’ but subject to multifaceted trans/national political, legal, social, and cultural debates.
This panel examines negotiations of justice via cultural performances– local, communal, and corporeal practices–that bring people together in a particular time and place, ranging from peaceful community initiatives, political debates, protests and boycotts to infringements, violent dissent, all the way to civil war. It particularly seeks to explore the tension between the cultural re-enactment of institutionalized and legalized perceptions of in/justice (such as the Constitution Day, commemorations of 9/11, presidential visits to war regions) and cultural/civilian efforts that challenge these interpretations (civil rights marches, anti-war theater, and global protests against economic injustice). By considering both the reinforcing and dissenting cultural performances, this workshop particularly seeks to problematize the notion of agency in socio-political and cultural understanding of in/justice.
This panel invites papers on cultural performances—ranging from political propaganda events, enactments of memory, and holiday celebrations to theater and music productions, art installations and festivals—negotiating the meaning and exertion of in/justice within trans/national frameworks. Potential paper topics may include:
– Performances of trans/national cultural memory: celebrations of justice (Emancipation Proclamation anniversary, Constitution Day, Independence Day); commemoration of struggles for justice (abolitionism, suffrage, civil rights); reflections on institutionalizations of injustice (slavery, Japanese internment, Chinese exclusion, the Holocaust)
– Trans/national cultural performances addressing mis-/non-executions of the law, such as war resolutions, police brutality/Rodney King riots, global Slut Walks, the prison industrial complex, Guantanamo, torture, solidarity with Trayvon Martin
– Trans/national protest against unjust economic legislature: poverty, gentrification (American Workers' Theater, Occupy Wall Street, protests against WTO and IMF, Feeding America)
– Theoretical discussions of cultural performance addressing issues of justice, such as theater (documentary theater, court plays, protest plays, anti-war theater) and music (joint concerts, alternative music cultures)
– Methodological, interdisciplinary approaches to the (trans/national) relation of justice and performance pertaining to questions of agency, power, and recognition
Paper proposals (abstracts of 250 words max) and one-paragraph bios should be emailed to both panel chairs (Benita Heiskanen: firstname.lastname@example.org and Pia Wiegmink: email@example.com) by October 1, 2013.
for more information on the EAAS conference visit:
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
FB 05: Department of English and Linguistics/American Studies
Staudinger Weg 9
55128 Mainz, Germany
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