Performance, Politics, and Play

Kevin Morrison's picture
Call for Papers
September 13, 2018 to September 16, 2018
United States
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Dance and History of Dance, European History / Studies, Intellectual History, Social History / Studies

Performance, Politics, and Play

September 13-16, 2018

New York City


In response to the “performative turn” in the humanities, the ongoing interest in bio- and body-politics, and the growing attention to leisure, dance, and sport studies, the International Society for Cultural History invites paper and panel proposals for its 2018 annual conference on Performance, Politics, and Play. Scholars working on any historical period or location are encouraged to explore this theme. Topics may include (but are by no means limited to):


  performative/bodily practices of politics and play

  political performances

  substance candidates vs. performance candidates

  the relationship of performance studies to cultural history

  leisure practices (reading, cooking, hiking, feasts, travel, holidays, café culture, theater, opera, cinemas, and restaurants)

  the interconnection of labor and leisure (how the labor of some provides the possibility of leisure for others)

  performances of leisure (sports, dance, parades, colonial encounters mediated by theatrical/musical/danced “exchanges”) 

  historical reenactment

  performances of health

  histories of sports/leisure and their relationship to cultures of health and/or to unhealth

  histories of gaming 

  sports, spectatorship, and cultural practices of addiction (gambling, doping)

  sports and spectatorship (players and audiences, the sport star)

  global and local cultures of sport 


We also welcome panel and paper proposals on methods and theories of cultural history.

New York City is at the intersection of performance, politics, and play. The United Nations headquarters and Trump Tower call attention to the city’s inextricable links to global politics.   The theaters of Broadway are renowned for their nightly shows. But performance also takes place in ballrooms and recording studios, in art galleries, as well as on city streets by activists, aspiring artists, and buskers. From Central Park to Coney Island, the city has long been associated with leisure. Reflecting the diversity of the city itself, conference events and prearranged cultural excursions will take place at a variety of different institutions.


Presentations should be no more than 20 minutes in length and delivered in English:


  • Individual paper proposals should consist of an abstract (not exceeding 300 words) and a 1-2 page CV.


  • Panel proposals should consist of the name of the organizer, an overview of the panel (not exceeding 500 words), abstracts for each paper (not to exceed 300 words), and 1-2 page CVs for each presenter.

DEADLINE: January 15, 2018. Participants will be informed by February 5, 2018.

Proposals and inquiries should be sent to <>. Informal inquiries may be sent to the program chair, Kevin Morrison, at <>

Those whose abstracts are accepted for presentation will be expected to become members of the ISCH. Further details can be found on the society’s website:


Presenters are invited to consider submitting articles to the ISCH’s official peer-reviewed journal, Cultural History (published by the Edinburgh University Press), and monographs to the book series it publishes with Routledge. Links to each respective publication opportunity follow:


The main conference events will be held at Faculty House, 64 Morningside Dr., Columbia University. Further information, including hotels with discounted group rates, will be available soon on the ISCH website. This event is not affiliated with, endorsed by, or sponsored by Columbia University.

Contact Info: 

Kevin Morrison <>

Contact Email: