Call for Papers

17 December, 2015

Call for Papers

The Arabic Theatre Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research invites proposals for contributions to its forthcoming meeting at the IFTR annual conference in Stockholm, Sweden from 13 to 17 June 2016.

We are particularly interested in contributions that address the conference theme “Presenting the Theatrical Past: Interplays of Artefacts, Discourses and Practices.” With so much of contemporary (post-uprisings) Arab realities revolving around the rethinking of competing constructions of history and their concomitant narrative configurations of Arabo-Islamic identities, this seems a particularly timely and relevant topic for consideration.

With this in mind, the proposals we encourage for our Stockholm meeting include, but are not limited to: discussions of performances and plays inspired by or commenting upon current political events in the Arab World; the impact of current and recent changes upon particular artists, groups, theatres, or theatre cultures; and the role of performance/performance history itself in ongoing political events especially as they involve concerns such as “the relation between present and past. How and why do we deal with history? What do we do with history? To what extent is historical research an exploration of our present?,” to quote the CFP put together by the IFTR 2016 organisers.

We are particularly eager to receive submissions that seek to rethink the key terms of the discussion and maintain an interdisciplinary dialogue with cultural, literary, translation, visual, or film studies. We welcome papers that demonstrate productive connections with performance theory, theatre historiography, or the practical applications of dramaturgy. The following is a non-exhaustive list of the interrelated sub-themes provided by the organizers of the conference, most of which have special relevance for this working group:

  • Historiography – methods, theories
  • Turning points in history
  • Genealogies and traditions
  • Cultural heritage and policies
  • Oral history, performing history, re-enactments
  • Diversity/hegemony of histories
  • Archives, digital humanities and historical research
  • Traces, commodities, materialities of history
  • Crisis and trauma
  • Theatre, Philosophy and the History of Ideas

The deadline for abstract submission is 15 January 2016. Proposals for the WGs are to be submitted via the conference website: <>. The application form will be available at the conference website by 30 September 2015. However, participants who wish to apply for bursaries must submit their abstract proposals no later than 1 December 2015.

Kindly note that you must be a current IFTR member in order to send an abstract, and that you cannot present a paper within a working group and also in a general session. Abstracts should not exceed 300 words, exclusive of the title, and should be accompanied by a biographical note of no more than 200 words. The IFTR 2016 organisers will forward ATWG abstracts to the co-conveners. Additionally, you are strongly encouraged to forward a copy of your submission to BOTH ATWG CONVENERS: Marvin Carlson (<>) and Hazem Azmy (<> ).

In addition to formal abstract proposals, the ATWG convenors also welcome indications of interest from any new members who would like to take part in the group's discussion but do not wish to submit a paper. Graduate students and early-career researchers are particularly welcome, as well as practice-based researchers and reflexive practitioners. We invite all members to propose ideas as to how the ATWG may best disseminate its work in innovative ways and beyond the group’s meetings.

As one recent example in December 2014, and based on proposals made at the Warwick 2014 meeting, the Arabic Theatre Working Group, in cooperation with the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, launched the online journal, Arab Stages, which contains peer-reviewed essays as well as plays, book and performance reviews, and announcements. The journal is available at: <>.

Should enough submissions around the theme of the IFTR 2016 be gathered, the ATWG may consider proposing to the IFTR 2016 organisers a special ATWG panel within the general conference. Even more, the convenors hope that some select submissions for this year, in addition to some of the papers presented at earlier meetings across the years, can serve as the basis for a projected peer-reviewed book of articles.

About ATWG

Mission Statement:

(Revised and Approved by Membership in Dec. 2009)

Established in 2007 as the Arabic Theatre Working Group, ATWG exists to broaden international understanding of the theatre and performance cultures of the ‘Arabo- Islamic World.’ In 2009, the group voted to retain the appellation ‘Arabic’ in recognition of the historically unifying role of the Arabic language. This recognition notwithstanding, the group is neither meant to be exclusive nor to promote any nationalist or religion-based agenda. Rather, it seeks to maintain its scholarly mission by holding up its key definitional terms to ongoing critical scrutiny.

Defined in strictly geographical and political terms, the operations of the group cover theatre and performance material from the member states of the League of Arab States and/or the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. However, both the operative adjectives Arab and Islamic should be understood here to demarcate, primarily, a general cultural area of scholarly exploration and negotiation. Investigations of material from the many non-Arab and non-Muslim communities located within the Arab/Muslim world are welcomed by the group. The group equally welcomes material covering the theatre and performance activities of Arab and Muslim ‘diasporic’ communities.

Subjects can be drawn from all areas of theatre activity as well as from performance work that lies outside the traditional European concept of theatre. Methodological approaches from the fields of (theatre) translation, cultural, and postcolonial studies will doubtless be represented in the work of the group, but all approaches that will provide a better understanding of this large field of studies are welcome.

The membership of the group is open to all paid-up members of the IFTR, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or religion. Graduate students and early- career researchers are particularly welcome, as well as practice-based researchers and reflexive practitioners. In exceptional circumstances, and subject to the availability of appropriate translation arrangements, the group may consider accommodating participants who are unable to deliver their papers in English.


Marvin Carlson: <>
Hazem Azmy : <>

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