Theatre History Symposium Mid-America Theatre Conference ( Cleveland, March 6-9, 2014

Revision “We seek high stakes choices in theatre production.”

For MATC’s 2014 Theatre History Symposium we ask participants to engage the question: What might high stakes history look like and what roles might “revision” play in that process? ‘Revision’ conjures multiple meanings: crisis, rebirth, renaissance, struggle, restoration. For the historian, the question of ‘revision’ brings to the fore acutely challenging questions: whose stories get told? How? When? By whom, for whom and to what ends? Stephanie Leigh Batiste writes, “The performance acts as an embodied commitment to a hypothetical present and a possible future,” suggesting a certain contingency between performance and revision. Where or how does history figure in such a formulation? Historian Sam Wineburg cautions, “the relevance of the past may lie precisely in what strikes us as its initial irrelevance,” while Anais Nin astutely reminds us, “It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with, we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.” As historians, how do ideas of revision challenge our relationship to geographical, cultural, and temporal sites beyond our own? To the ‘seemingness’ of sites we presume to be our own? How do Wineburg, Batiste, and Nin dare us to look anew—perhaps revise—our interpretations not only of the theatrical past, but also of the present and future of our field?

Possible topics might address the above questions or explore one or more of the following:

–  What does one lose and what does one gain through revision?

– How is the labor or process of revision made visible in our historiography?

–  What roles does revision play in how we commit to and formulate projects of theatre history?

–  What is the relationship between political imperatives, the moment of the event, and the way the event is historicized over time?

– What are the opportunities and challenges of categorical reconfigurations of space (i.e., “global,” “world”, “transatlantic,” “Americas”)?

Please direct proposals and queries to the Theatre History Symposium co-chairs:  Dr. Lisa Jackson-Schebetta Dr. Chrystyna Dail, University of Pittsburgh Ithaca College at:

Please submit proposals via email in Word or PDF Format to the gmail account above, including the following:

—Your name, title (student, faculty, independent scholar), academic affiliation, and a brief biography.

—Your contact information (particularly email).

—The title and abstract for your paper. Please limit abstracts to 250 words.

—Any audiovisual elements you request for you presentation. We cannot always guarantee audiovisual support, but will endeavor to take requests into account. Late requests may not be honored.

—We also welcome proposals for full panels. Contact the co-chairs for more information.

All proposals must be received by October 15, 2013

Robert A. Schanke Award
The Robert A. Schanke Research Award is given annually to an untenured faculty presenter of the Theatre History Symposium and carries a cash award of $500 as well as consideration for publication in Theatre History Studies, the journal of the Mid-America Theatre Conference. To be eligible for the Schanke Award, candidates must submit full, conference-length versions of their paper to the co-chairs at the addresses above by February 15, 2014.


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