Performance, Religion, and Spirituality: IFTR 2020

04 December, 2019 by David Mason | 0 comments

Performance, Religion, and Spirituality: IFTR 2020

2020 IFTR Conference in Galway—call from the Performance, Religion, and Spirituality Working Group.

For the 2020 IFTR Conference in Galway, the Performance, Religion, and Spirituality Working Group invites proposals for conference papers, participatory activities, performances and other things that might contribute to the investigation of what constitutes a religious, spiritual, mystical, ecstatic experience in performance, within a conference setting. We are particularly interested in exploring what renders a performance religious or spiritual and what happens to perception, identity and ecological relationships during these particular kinds of experiences.

If we assume that experience rests in the body and in its interrelations with other bodies, performance is the context where the boundaries between those bodies can be explored, multiplied, erased, liquified, solidified and exploited. Accordingly, we welcome proposals that engage with embodiment as a condition of performance and as the prerequisite of spiritual and religious kinds of experiences, as well as with the question of where the boundaries between aesthetic and spiritual experiences lie. We also acknowledge that human embodiment is an ecological field of experience which involves both micro and macro environments and inner and outer landscapes, the perimeters of which are constantly in question depending on the practices in play. We therefore encourage proposals that recognize the natural world as a site for a variety of embodiments and that seek to identify, perhaps, ‘ecologies of experience’ that may be entwined with the non-human. This will hopefully touch on the politics and forms of resistance that these kinds of experiential events invite and activate.

We encourage a multiplicity of ontological perspectives inspired but not limited by the following, suggested themes: 

  • Embodied spiritualities
  • Religious or spiritual practices and ecology
  • Animistic practices
  • Ritual and resistance
  • Catharsis and/in religion
  • Rasa
  • Spirituality and identity
  • Identity construction in and through religious practice
  • Indigenous ontologies and practices
  • Religious, spiritual experiences and perceptions
  • Spiritual experiences, performance and healing
  • The commodification of spiritual experiences
  • Posthuman spiritualities
  • Sexuality, ecology and Religion

It is worth mentioning that the Performance, Religion, and Spirituality Working Group is working towards publishing an anthology of essays having to do with performance and experience. Our invitation for contributions for the 2020 IFTR conference has the development of this book in mind.

Submission Instructions:

  • Each proposal should be no more than 300 words plus a 200-word biography.
  • Proposals must be submitted through the IFTR registration process - at this address - by the 31 January 2020.
  • If applying for this year’s bursary, submit proposals – for information and instructions about bursaries, and to download the application form, please visit

For bursary-related queries, please email

The Performance, Religion and Spirituality Group (PRS) is an open network of scholars and artists interested in exploring interconnections between forms and impulses of religions, spiritualities, and theatrical performances, and in attending to the ways performance and spiritual life have come into conversation, cooperation, and conflict, both historically and in the present. The working group is affiliated with two peer-reviewed journals. Performance, Religion and Spirituality, which is an open-access journal, can be found at Information about Ecumenica, a publication of Penn State University Press, can be found at

Other Links

For any inquiry please contact the PRS conveners:

Silvia Battista
Liverpool Hope University

David Mason
Editor, Ecumenica

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