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CFP – Historiography Working Group – International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) 15—19 July 2024, Manila, Philippines

University of the Philippines Diliman, Manila, Philippines

The IFTR Historiography Working Group will be meeting during the IFTR Annual Conference in
Manila, Philippines, 15 to 19 July 2024. 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 historiography, authors are asked to focus on the methodological and
epistemological problems related to the history of theatre and performance that are raised by
their work.

The Historiography Working Group welcomes, but does not confine itself to, papers addressing the
theme of the conference, which in 2024 is Our States of Emergency: Theatres and Performances of
Tragedy. The topic of tragedy is particularly crucial for historiographers. Tragedy, as a theatrical
form that arose in Greek antiquity, is at the origin of Western theatre and has played a
fundamental role in its theories and poetics. Greek tragedy provided a model that has been
revisited, transformed, and staged in multiple ways in different periods and places. But the
examination of tragedy goes beyond the limits of Western theatre history and leads us to consider
the manifestations of the ‘tragic’ in the history of theatre and performance worldwide. How have
different theatre and performance cultures represented sorrowful destinies? How have they dealt
with tragic experiences and individual and collective states of emergency? How has the
interweaving of performance cultures influenced the history of tragedy? Furthermore, ‘tragic’ not
only denotes a quality of a theatrical genre but also describes painful events, irremediable
conflicts, and catastrophes in real life. This makes us reflect on the fact that theatre and
performance have not only been a place for the presentation of tragedy but have also been a
stage for actual tragic events, involving material working conditions within the theatre
environment, including backstage labour.

The Historiography Working Group works by circulating papers to members in advance of the
conference for in-depth discussion in the sessions. The aim of the group’s discussion is always to
be constructive. Submissions are normally a work-in-progress linked to an author’s ongoing
research project, and pre-circulated papers for our 2024 meeting should be no more than 3000
words. All papers are framed by specific historiographical questions, and authors are invited to
speak for not more than ten minutes about the context in which they have written their papers
and about the points where they would particularly welcome a response. Participants take care to
read all papers carefully, so an oral summary is discouraged; the group spends about twenty
minutes discussing each paper, and the emphasis of the discussion is on method rather than on
the detail of the content.

Abstracts of 200 to 250 words should be submitted by the deadline of 2 February 2024 via the
main IFTR submission portal on the Cambridge Core website
(https://www.cambridge.org/core/membership/iftr/conference), indicating that you are
submitting to the Historiography Working Group. Please include in your abstract a clear statement
about the historiographical questions raised by your work. The Working Group’s convenors will
select the proposals that best fit the historiographical theme of our group, with reference to
ensuring a broad balance of career stages and geographical locations among those invited. If we
cannot accommodate a paper, we will refer it to the conference organisers for possible placement
on a general panel.
The full text of the selected paper should be emailed to the convenors by 14 June 2024 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 convenors
of the Historiography Working Group are:

  • Tancredi Gusman, Tor Vergata University of Rome, Italy (tancredi.gusman@uniroma2.it);
  • Ulla Kallenbach, University of Bergen, Norway (ulla.kallenbach@uib.no);
  • Priyanka Basu, King’s College London, UK (priyankabasu85@gmail.com).