29 November, 2013


Over the past two years, members of the Feminist Research Working Group have shared work and passionate discussion about performance, feminism, affect and activism in the era we are calling our neoliberal times. Symptoms of these times include: the marketization (commodification, monetization) of everyday life; pervasive precarity as economic fact and affective condition (what David Harvey calls a “new habit of the heart”); the dismantling of state funding supporting health, education, housing, and arts institutions; the privatization of industries formally in the public trust; the aggressive unraveling of collectively won gains in gender and racial equality in favor of the new cultural fetish: the virile entrepreneurial individual.

Neoliberalism grounds itself, as Raewen Connell writes, in “existing centers of power: corporate capital, white middle-class men, major professions, managers in state and private sectors.” Yet she also points out that “neoliberal regimes have been created by stitching together a coalition of social forces and finding a locally gripping ideological language to defend them.”

Performance – embodied, culturally marked, ephemeral practices – can be part of that social stitching, and can also be its unraveling; often it is both. Performance sites might include ritual spaces, traditional theatre venues, department store elevators, corporate property, village squares, city streets, parliaments, YouTube videos or massive political spectacles. Affect theory guides us to think of new forms of relationality conducive to exploring the many vectors of feeling aroused by performance. Contending that there is no activism without affect, we want to bring feminist activism in all its affective power to to the foreground of our working group agenda.

For the Warwick Working Group meeting, we invite papers on the theme of performance, feminism, affect and activism in neoliberal times. Participants may also consider the main IFTR conference theme of Theatre and Stratification (http://iftr2014warwick.org/) which for us would be multi-layered performances that engage the layered complexity of social experience under neoliberalism.

Abstracts for the Feminist Research Working Group should be submitted through the Cambridge Journals Online pages by 15th January, 2014. For more information on this process, go to: http://iftr2014warwick.org/?page_id=205

Our Process

The Feminist Research Working Group is composed of scholars from Sweden, India, Pakistan, Britain, China, Japan, South Korea, Chile, Spain, Germany, Canada, Australia, and the United States. It works by circulating papers to members in advance of the conference. Those who have circulated papers are invited to speak for no more than seven minutes and are paired with a respondent who offers a seven minute response. The 15 minute presentation and response format is structured to encourage cross-cultural exchange and is followed by 15 minutes for the group to discuss the work. The full text of the selected papers (no more than 3000 words) should be emailed to the conveners by 1st July 2014 for uploading into the group’s dropbox. We will also publish the papers on the group’s website. For further information please do not hesitate to contact the conveners. You are reminded that in order to present your paper it is necessary to formally submit your abstract according to the guidelines on the conference website, register for the conference and to become a member of IFTR. You are also reminded that papers can be given to the working group or within the main conference, but you may not do both.

NB In addition to the group’s regular sessions, members of the Feminist Working Group may wish to form a WG-sponsored panel within the conference general program. The panel will consist of three papers representing the working group. If you are interested in forming an open panel as an alternative to presenting a paper in the group’s regular sessions, please indicate your wishes to the working group convenors. Panelists would still attend the working group meetings and contribute to the discussion. Abstracts (300 words) should be sent by email to the WG conveners by 15th December 2013. We have set this early deadline in order to respond to you before you have to make a formal submission of your abstract through the conference website on 15th January.

We look forward to continuing our work and welcoming new participants in 2014.


Elin Diamond: elin.diamond@rutgers.edu

Denise Varney: dvarney@unimelb.edu.au

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