Monday, September 13, 2010

ATHE Theatre History Focus Group, 2011 Conference in Chicago

ATHE Theatre History Focus Group Call for Proposals

The Theatre History Focus Group of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education invites proposals for next year’s conference, to be held at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, August 11-14, 2011. The overall conference theme, “Performance Remains, Global Presence: Memory, Legacy, and Imagined Futures,” advocates interdisciplinary and transnational investigations of how theatre and performance remember the past and imagine the future. The Theatre History Focus Group invites proposals for panels and roundtables about histories of theatre and pedagogies of theatre history that might engage the concepts of Memory, Legacy, and Possibility in the following ways:

MEMORY (PAST): How do we use evidence in writing Theatre History? When we encounter evidence that relies on the memory of an individual or a group (i.e., journals, memoirs, anecdotes, correspondence, oral histories), how do we interrogate this evidence? How do we teach our students about such kinds of evidence? How does memory change in translation? What remains when theatre crosses national and cultural borders?

LEGACY (PRESENT): How do we as teachers and researchers represent the legacy of theatre history in the present? To what extent should our pedagogical and methodological choices challenge narratives of national legacies? How do theatre libraries, archives, museums, and theatre buildings bear witness to the presence of history? What strategies are being used for creating archives of contemporary theatre and performance? What effects have interdisciplinary approaches to theatre history had on our work as scholars and educators?

POSSIBILITY (FUTURE): What is the future of Theatre History? What new approaches to theatre scholarship and pedagogy will we see in the next twenty-five years? What is the role of imagination in our research and in our teaching?

Panels that explore ideas across these categories are especially welcome, as are proposals on other topics that would be of general interest to our membership. The Theatre History Focus Group also welcomes queries about co-sponsorship of Multidisciplinary proposals. Questions should be directed to Theatre History Focus Group Conference Planner Dan Smith:

We encourage you to use our listserv to network proposals, paper topics, and do other brainstorming. If you are not already signed up for the THFG ATHE listserv, you can sign up at and following the directions found on that page. Contact everyone on the listserv by e-mailing to We have a facebook group called “ATHE Theatre History Focus Group,” which might also facilitate this kind of networking. While we prefer to receive full session proposals, you may request assistance from the conference planner in developing a session from your idea for an individual paper. The earlier you ask for help, the more likely you are to receive it.
Complete proposals for sessions (with all presenters assembled) should be submitted directly to ATHE through the website at The deadline for all proposals is November 1, 2009. Please forward a copy of your session proposal to THFG Chair and Conference Planner, Daniel Smith at

Tips for submitting proposals:
1. Submissions may be either discipline specific or multidisciplinary. In general, we are interested in panel topics that address the history of theatrical practice, historiography, or the relation of theatre to history in a larger sense. We encourage proposals that include both senior and junior scholars, as well as graduate students. A senior scholar could well serve as a respondent. We also encourage collaborations with other Focus Groups and Committees of ATHE to develop dynamic multidisciplinary sessions. Please see below for specific rules and guidelines for multidisciplinary proposals.

2. For Theatre History-Specific Proposals:
If your session addresses primarily Theatre History, then choose “Single Focus Group” in the first selection box of the online proposal form. For Session Sponsor, select number 18, “(TH) Theatre History.” When the selection process begins, all THFG-targeted proposals will be sent to the THFG conference planner. The THFG Executive Committee will rank the proposals, and the conference committee will use those rankings to make final programming decisions. It is not necessary to contact the conference planner before submitting a THFG proposal, but please do forward a copy of your proposal to the conference planner once you have submitted it. Also contact the conference planner with any problems or concerns or if you are curious as to whether or not your proposal is appropriate for THFG.

3. For Multi-Disciplinary (MD) Proposals
If your session addresses Theatre History but is also appropriate for another Focus Group or Committee, consider THFG as one of your target focus groups. You must select 3 targeted Focus Groups or Committees for an MD panel to be considered. To make an MD proposal you must contact the conference planners for each of the targeted Focus Groups/Committees by email before submitting online in order to receive feedback and to make sure the proposals are appropriate for each FG /Committee. If one of your targeted focus groups is not enthusiastic, better to know before submission and perhaps find another FG or committee. See for contact information for Focus Group conference planners and Committee chairs. As with the THFG-specific proposals, we receive a list from ATHE of all MD sessions, and we rank those that target TH and return that ranking for consideration by the program committee.
4. Notes for the 2011 Conference:
A. There will be a charge for AV equipment. Costs will be listed on the online session proposal form. Participants requesting AV equipment may apply for grants from ATHE to cover the charge for this equipment.
B. Participants will be limited to a maximum of two presentations. “Presentation” refers to the act of delivering a paper, serving on a roundtable, or serving in an equivalent role in a different type of session. There is no limit to the number of sessions that a person can Chair or serve as Session Organizer.
C. You should expect to hear whether or not your proposal has been accepted or rejected by mid-March, 2011.