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Call for Papers

by on August 7, 2011



Organized by

the Department of Theatre, University of Ottawa and

the Carleton Centre for Public History, Carleton University

19-21 April 2012, University of Ottawa,

Ottawa, Ontario (canada)


“History – the past transformed into words or paint or dance or play – is always a performance” (Greg Dening, “Performing on the Beaches of the Mind: An Essay”).

In the context of Paul Ricoeur’s work on the conjunctions of history, memory, and the production of narrative (La Mémoire, l’histoire, l’oubli, 2000), and heeding the invitation of Hayden White (and others) to re-think traditional understandings of historical writing and interpretation, historians such as Greg Dening have argued that historical representation, in whatever form it takes, is a performative act. At the same time, theatre scholars such as Freddie Rokem have explored the relationship between theatrical energies and performing history on stage. At the intersection of such work is the idea that theatre itself becomes a witness to history being made, a notion present in the concept of memory and the processes of remembering and forgetting. This international, interdisciplinary conference explores themes relating to history, memory and performance. We hope it will generate discussions about how historical meaning is created in the theatre and how theatrical performances shape our understanding of the past, including:

  • Museums, museality, and performance
  • Staging historical events and cataclysms
  • Theatre of (auto)biography and testimony
  • History plays, history, and historiography
  • Original practices, heritage, and innovation
  • The canon, the archive, and the repertoire
  • The body and space as sites of memory
  • History, new media, and performance
  • (Post)memory and (post)trauma
  • Memory theatre and resonant spaces
  • Theatre as / and memorial
  • Storytelling, memory, and performance

This three-day conference will feature keynote speakers including Professor Freddie Rokem (Tel-Aviv University), plenary paper sessions, working groups (theory-based), workshops (practice-based), and performance events.

To register, please select one of the following options and complete the attached registration form.     

1.     Papers: Please submit a 300-word abstract for a 20-minute paper relating to one or more conference themes. Graduate students are encouraged to self-identify in order to be considered for one of the student-curated paper sessions.

2.     Working groups (theory-based): Please submit a short (200 words or less) description of your research topic and its connection to the working group that you have selected. Participation in a working group will involve assigned reading and e-mail discussion prior the meeting of the conference. During the conference, the group will meet for a three-hour conversation arising from this preparation. Graduate students are welcome. Please indicate your first and second choices among the following:

  • Museums, objects and performance (in English)
  • Memory, autobiography, and testimony (in English)
  • Original performance practices and innovation (in English)
  • Representing history’s villains (in French)
  • Staging the historical Other (in French)
  • Archives and theatre historiography (in French)
  • Québécois theatre, yesterday and today (in French)

3.     Workshops (practice-based): Please submit a short (200 words or less) description of your current theatre project or research topic and its connection to the workshop that you have selected. The workshops are open to performers and non-performers alike, and graduate students are welcome. Participation in a workshop might involve some prior preparation (for example, memorizing a short script or watching video footage) and a three-hour activity during the conference. Please, indicate your first and second choices among the following:

  • Body as memory (Bilingual)
  • Old stories, new media (in English)
  • Storytelling (in English)
  • Space as history and memory (in French)
  • Assaulting the canon (in French)



Please see “Submission Form” on the top bar for the submission form.

All applicants will be notified of the selection committee’s decision by November 1, 2011. Delegates planning to participate in working groups and workshops will be expected to register for the conference by November 15, 2011.


The registration fee of 80$ (40$ for students and theatre practitioners) includes the opening reception, closing cocktail, and daily lunches and breaks. The optional conference dinner is $50, including a three-course meal and wine.

For more information, please contact the organizing committee at

Please save the dates, plan to join us, and share this announcement with your colleagues and contacts.


From → Call for Papers

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