02 October, 2020 by Ruthie Abeliovich | 0 comments







12 July — 16 July 2021
National University of Ireland, Galway



The IFTR Historiography Working Group will be meeting during the IFTR conference in Galway, 12 to 16 July 2021. The working group welcomes papers from new and existing members dealing with any possible period or topic in theatre history, but as the group is dedicated to theatre historiography, authors are asked to focus on methodological and epistemological problems related to the history of theatre and performance. Historiographical questions discussed by participants may be illustrated through specific case examples, and there are no restrictions on the historical time or place a proposal might involve or on the kind of historiographical approach explored. This is a new Call for Papers for IFTR 2021


The Historiography Working Group welcomes, but does not confine itself, to papers addressing the theme of the conference. The general theme of the 2021 conference, Theatre Ecologies: Environments, Sustainability, and Politics, has various critical implications for theatre historiography, which in recent years has seen an interrogation into the roles theatre plays in cultural and physical eco-systems, and the myriad ways by which theatre and performance are shaped by environmental factors, throughout historical periods and across geographical, social and cultural lines. 


As presented in the convenors’ description, this year's conference theme aims to address the topic of Theatre Ecologies in broad terms. Ecology is the study of the relationship between living organisms and their environments (whether cultural, political, social or biological). Naming theatre’s aesthetic and working practices as ecologies permits scholars to locate theatrical performances within not only social, political and cultural networks, but also interrelated biological systems. Inherently political, embodied and performative, theatre ecologies are constructed by – and responsive to – wider social, political, cultural, and physical environments. Taking its cue from this year’s conference theme, we also invite papers that focus on historical relationships between social, cultural and physical environments that shape and effect theatre practices. Possible topics may include: theatre as an eco-system, techniques of theatrical preservation, storage and waste; theatre and trash culture; historical intersections between theatre, politics, environment; theatre and sustainability. See the announcement of the conference for a full elaboration of the topic and subthemes, on the IFTR website at


The Historiography Working Group works by circulating papers to members in advance of the conference for in-depth discussion in sessions at the conference. The aim of the group’s discussion is always to be constructive. Submissions are normally linked to a research project that the author currently has in progress. Given the size of recent Historiographical Working Group meetings, and our commitment to including a range of voices from diverse cultural contexts, career stages, and geographical locations, our 2021 meeting will include pre-circulated papers containing no longer than a 2000-word provocation or work in progress, usually an excerpt from a draft article or book chapter, framed by historiographical questions. Scholars are invited to speak for not more than ten minutes about the context in which they have written their pieces, and about historiographical points where they would particularly welcome a response. (Participants take care to read all the papers carefully, so an oral summary of the paper is discouraged.) The group spends about 20 minutes discussing each paper, and the emphasis of the discussion is upon method rather than the detail of the content.


Following feedback and discussion during the Zoom meeting of the Historiography Working Group in July 2020, we intend to highlight our focus on methodology by convening two special panels during the 2021 meeting:

1) A roundtable discussion considering the implications of historiographical research in the age of the Anthropocene. The COVID-19 global pandemic and ongoing climate crisis demand we turn our attention to our own practices, and this roundtable will investigate the possibilities and methodologies of a ‘green historiography’. 

2) A panel discussion focusing on embodiment and historiographical research in theatre and performance, considering how and where the body and memory participates in and dictates our work. 


Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted by the deadline of 31 January 2021 via the Cambridge Core website, indicating that you are submitting to the Historiography Working Group. Please include in your abstract a clear statement about the historiographical questions raised by the work, and if you wish your proposal to be included in in either or both of these two methodology special panels.


The Working Group convenors will select proposals that best fit the historiographical theme of our group. We particularly welcome proposals from new scholars and from scholars outside Europe. If we cannot accommodate your paper, we will refer it to the conference organizers for possible placement on a general panel.


The full text of the selected paper should be emailed to the conveners by 7 June 2021, for uploading to the group’s website, where further information about the group can also be found:


Please share this call for papers with any colleagues or research students whom you think may be interested. For further information, please contact the group’s convenors. The current conveners of the Historiography Working Group are:

·      Ruthie Abeliovich, University of Haifa, Israel

·      Dorota Sosnowska, University of Warsaw, Poland

·      Chris Hay, University of Queensland, Australia


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