Puppetry and Material Performance – American Society for Theatre Research

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We invite submissions to the following Working Session:

Puppetry and Material Performance (American Society for Theatre Research, November 16-19, 2017; Atlanta, GA)

In puppetry and material performance, objects become ?extraordinary bodies? that are both irreducibly material and implausibly, miraculously ?alive.? This Session will explore how puppets and objects become extraordinary bodies onstage; how the bodies of puppeteers and performers relate to objects in extraordinary ways; why puppetry and material performance is uniquely situated to tell stories about and/or for extraordinary bodies; and how puppets and objects act in the service of non-normative bodies politically, socially, and culturally. The Center for Puppetry Arts, located in Atlanta, offers possibilities for grounding our discussions in concrete examples, and for productive exchanges over the course of the conference.

Working Group participants are invited to engage in theoretical, historical, or contemporary analyses of puppetry and material performance. Individual case studies might investigate, but are not limited to:

–Puppet and material performance about extraordinary bodies
–Objects as extraordinary intermediaries, as in ritual, community outreach, and as psychological or educational tools
–Extraordinary interactions between puppet and performer bodies
–Performing objects as effigies, tools of protest and instruments of political dissent
–Intersections between material performance and philosophies of embodiment
–Aesthetics of difference ? the grotesque, the abject, the uncanny ? in puppetry and material performance
–How the extraordinary bodies of puppets might call attention to the overlooked or stigmatized bodies of puppetry artists
–How ?extraordinariness? in material performance might be differently defined or legible in other cultural contexts, or might emerge from the exchange between cultures

Papers (8-10 pages) should be distributed to all session participants by October 1. Leading up to the conference, the moderators will divide participants into smaller thematic groups, and participants will be asked to read and comment on the papers in their subgroup by November 1 using our online discussion board. At ASTR, participants will first present brief (1 – 2 minute) abstracts of their papers at the start of the session in order to help familiarize audience members with each project. Participants and audience members will then divide into their subgroups to discuss the themes that linked their papers, and then reconvene with the larger group to exchange ideas. The goals of the Working Session are to provide a broader critical context for puppetry scholarship and to develop essays for publication.

For any specific questions, please contact the working group convenors at alissa.mello@gmail.com, dawn.brandes@ukings.ca, lawrence.switzky@utoronto.ca, d-posner@northwestern.edu and corenste@hunter.cuny.edu.

Please note that all submissions must be received formally through the ASTR website at http://www.astr.org/?page=17_WSSubmissions. The form will allow you to indicate second and third choice working groups if you wish; if you do so, note that there is a space for you to indicate how your work will fit into those groups. The deadline for receipt of working group proposals is 1 June 2017 and we anticipate that participants will be notified of their acceptance no later than 30 June. Please contact the conference organizers at astr2017@astr.org if you have any questions about the process.