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Use this blog to make update with calls for papers, requests for session participants for ATHE 2016. Remember, the deadline for proposals is 1 November 2015!


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MD panel CFP from Claire Maria Chambers

Posted By Megan Sanborn Jones, Thursday, October 15, 2015

CFP: Performing Aesthetics, Dramatizing Ideals


Sponsored by the Religion and Theatre and Theory and Criticism Focus Groups


Is aesthetic judgment necessarily bound to moral judgment? How do our changing performance aesthetics reflect our political and moral commitments? The proposed multidisciplinary panel asks whether or not aesthetic categories already perform philosophically and/or religiously as acts of moral evaluation. We are especially interested in so-called “soft” aesthetic markers (cute, charming, fun, irritating, boring, interesting) that lie between more extreme expressions of aesthetic evaluation (beautiful, ugly). How do such soft aesthetics also instantiate a moral world?  And how do performances act within aesthetic evaluation? Is a “good” performance also virtuous? But is a performance that is merely “interesting” or “dull” (rather than captivating or offensive) somehow lacking in moral conviction? When, where, and how do theatre and performance scholars and artists allow aesthetic evaluation to cross into political or moral evaluation?


From the Neoplatonic tradition extends the idea that the earthly beauty one perceives through the learned discrimination of taste is analogous to the divine beauty one encounters through intellectual study. This echoes in Kant’s claim that the beautiful is a symbol of the morally good, and Schliermacher’s argument that the most profound aesthetic experiences are also essentially religious. For modern theologian Paul Tillich, art always potentially serves a sacramental function, which means that artistic practice and art appreciation can always act religiously. This tradition has produced religious categories of experience that are also aesthetic categories: namely, the Sublime (Kant) and the numinous (Otto). In relationship to the sublime or the numinous, where is “cool”, the “interesting” or the “boring”? When a performance strikes us as entertaining and enjoyable but not necessarily life-changing or challenging, what are we saying about our moral or political convictions as well as our aesthetic sense?


Please send contact information and a brief abstract of 200-300 words to Claire Maria Chambers at by Oct. 25th. This panel is very open to including visual, tactile, gustatory, or performed examples, and seeks interventions/presentations/performances as well as papers.

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Religion and Theatre CFP!!!

Posted By Megan Sanborn Jones, Thursday, October 15, 2015


Religion and Theatre Focus Group

Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Conference

August 11-14, 2016 The Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, IL


ATHE 2016

Bodies at Work: Performance, Labor, and ATHE at 30


The Religion and Theatre Focus Group invites panels that address any issues arising from the conference theme and location. In addition to the traditional format of paper panels, we also welcome proposals in the form of roundtables, collaborations, staged readings, talkbacks, and more.

Our 2016 conference theme, “Bodies at Work: Performance, Labor, and ATHE at 30,” invites participants to consider the relationship between labor and performance, performance and/as work, and our own labor as teachers and scholars of theatre history. The conference will address the following key questions:

How does performance help us understand bodies at work, inside and outside theatre? How have theatre and performance historically put bodies to work, for better and for worse? How are bodies disciplined by routines of theatrical labor—or routines of teaching and learning? How can we understand different modes of labor as performances? How do we engage both the pleasure and precarity of bodies at work? How might we choreograph new ways of working?

There is much that can be said for the relationship between religion, performance and labor. One of the most striking internet memes of the last year revolved around critiquing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’s refusal to sign marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples. The “Do Your Job, Kim Davis” or “Still Does His/Her Job” meme, to say nothing of the labor of the political theatre surrounding the controversy, point to powerful intersections of work, spirituality, and performance in public life. We invite scholars and artists in higher education to consider how performing and laboring bodies make theatre and religion work.

In Chicago in 2016, we are excited to explore the rich connections between the conference theme and the particularities of Religion and Theatre. In addition to the issue of labor, we invite you to consider other implications of ATHE at 30. For example, where has scholarship of religion and theatre been over the last 30 years? And where is it going? What is the state of theatre education in religiously affiliated colleges and universities? What pedagogical interventions does consideration of religion bring to the theater classroom?

Remember that panels are not just an opportunity to showcase the work of people already active in the field, but also to bring in fresh ideas and new faces. We encourage you to distribute your CFPs widely and to think creatively about how to engage in new conversations in your sessions.

Submission Deadlines:

Complete Sessions (recommended):

Submit online directly to ATHE ( by 1 November

Individual paper proposals or session ideas:

Submit to Allan Davis ( by Wednesday, 21 October and he will work with you create a complete session.

Multidisciplinary Sessions:

Multidisciplinary (MD) panels must be sponsored by at least three different focus groups.

All MD session organizers must contact the conference planners of all three sponsoring groups before submitting their session directly to ATHE by 01 November.

Starting the conversation:

Come to the Religion and Theatre Focus Group webpage at the ATHE Website ( to find colleagues with shared interests, participate in the discussion board, coordinate efforts to propose a panel, and learn about recent publications pertaining to our field of study.

Get Started!

Now is the time to begin your own conversations, brainstorming, and calls for participants on the Religion and Theatre page at the ATHE website. If you have any questions, confusion, or just need general advice about navigating the proposal process, feel free to email conference planner Allan Davis ( We are looking forward to an exciting and thought-provoking conference in Montréal and hope to see you there.


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