Call for proposals

Rationale and Structure

The Performance in Historical Paradigms stream provides a dynamic forum to discuss performance studies for those who engage with multiple (inter-)disciplinary paradigms, and who use performance theory to think historically (or think historically about performance). We invite scholars, artists, and activists to propose panels, papers, roundtable discussions, as well as performances or other actions related to the intersections between performance studies and history. Questions to 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 study of the past?
  • How do different research methodologies enable a historical perspective? What are their advantages and drawbacks?
  • What constitutes evidence at the intersection of performance studies and history?

We will examine the social, political, and artistic themes of radical care; immigration and forced migration; processes of assimilation and disidentification; the archive; the palimpsestic, (in)visible histories of the city; as well as the expulsion or inclusion of (un)desired bodies through the interdisciplinary lens of performance studies.

On-site Explorations and Performance Actions:

  • PSi #26 will take place in the city of Rijeka. What are the different traces that build the historiography of this city? What are the dominant narratives that this city aims to construct? Is it possible to detect traces of silenced voices and erased experiences in this city? How can these be activated?
  • Rijeka is one of the European capitals of 2020. Does this powerful and financially supported position change how Rijeka represents and performs its history?

Rijeka Palimpsest Project: The Performance in Historical Paradigm Stream invites conference participants to extend the multitude of the city’s history by individually excavating and identifying traces of the past. The project, which will generate an interactive map and narrative, aims to uncover the ways in which different layers of history overlap, cover, or penetrate one another.

Call for Proposals

We invite multimodal proposals that engage with the following questions:

+ Archives

 What forms does the care for and of the archive take?

  • How do archival practices expose the abuse of genealogical legacies that—by determining the policies of dominant social groups and institutions—attempt to construe and homogenize local identities?
  • The use of historical evidence promises authenticity and accuracy in the purportedly fictitious world of the performance. What are the structures of contemporary feeling that might cause anxiety over the desire for an authentic experience of the historical past?
  • What can be construed between the archive and embodied praxes to generate material and immaterial contents? In the case of the state archive, for instance, how do state and private agents consolidate and/or subvert the operations of the state?

+ Histories of Migration and Praxes of Care

 What theoretical and methodological contributions do the nexus of history and performance studies offer to the ongoing debate on immigration and the crisis of care?

  • How does history shape understandings of quotidian experiences and embodied practices of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers? How have intersectional identifications and the performance of diasporic identities construed different (im)migrant experiences across time?
  • How do historical antecedents to activism take form in political and aesthetic interventions to the current refugee crisis undertaken by artists, scholars, human rights activists, and others?
  • What are the ideological and material conditions of the reception of displaced persons—from performances of hospitality to the spatial practices of the carceral state such as refugee camps and detention centers?
  • What are some of the historical instances of coalitional work across diverse communities, and how were these manifested in aesthetic and activist practice? How might these legacies shed light on contemporary performances of care and solidarity?

+ (In)Visible Histories and the City

Cities are repositories and archives of a multitude of histories.

  • How do city designs construct “authorized” histories while erasing others? What are the performances of resistance through which minoritarian and subcultural communities rewrite the official histories of a city?
  • How do digitalized practices of activism transform the virtual visitors’ or local residents’ perception of the multitude of histories of the city and the embodied experience of moving through the city?
  • How can the often-forgotten histories of care—such as the medieval sanctuary churches, which inspired the Sanctuary City Movement of the 1980s—inform our current moment?

Historically, we have seen how refugee camps—over the course of years—have transformed into permanent cities. How can the spatial practices and living strategies of refugees reconfigure our understanding of cities and their histories?

Presentation Guidelines

Panels will use 90-minute morning slots. However, other activities for afternoon and evening sessions may be proposed (in which case, be explicit about what is envisioned).

How to Apply

To submit a proposal for the stream Performance in Historical Paradigms, please fill out the online application form, which can be found here.

The deadline to submit a proposal is December 31, 2019All other conference dates and deadlines can be found on the conference timeline.

Please direct any questions regarding your application to