CFP: Performance of the Real Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Symposium
An international symposium hosted by the ‘Performance of the Real Research Theme’ at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
June 8th – 10th 2016
Keynote speaker: Dr Bree Hadley (Queensland University of Technology)
This symposium invites submissions from postgraduate students, early career researchers and other interested academics on the theme ‘Performance of the Real’. The event asks what it is about representations, mediations and performances of the ‘real’ that makes them so compelling in the contemporary moment. This symposium is necessarily interdisciplinary and takes a broad understanding of the ‘real’ in lay terms, but also as a critical theoretical concept. At its core, we consider how ‘realness’ is performed and encountered by subjects through representations and embodiments such as those related (but not limited) to disaster, trauma and Dark Tourism.
We encourage papers relating to:
- The politics of performing the real in terms of events such as (but not limited to) disasters, trauma, war, terrorism and ritual
- Representations of the real in documentaries, performance or the media (news or social)
- The ethics of the real in terms of psychoanalysis
- Psychoanalysis and the real in contemporary scholarship
- The real as a discursive enactment evident in practices such as Dark Tourism
- The desires, issues, politics and challenges involved in performing the real
- Embodying ‘realness’ in performative contexts
Questions that accepted papers might address include (though are not limited to):
- How does the real operate performatively?
- How does one ethically perform the real?
- How are social or cultural power relationships negotiated or maintained via performances of the real?
- How and why is realness performed?
Paper abstracts (no more than 250 words) and bios (100 words) should be sent to the symposium organising committee. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30th April 2016.
Registration: postgraduate / casual rate: $30; waged / academic rate: $60 (includes catering)
Keynote abstract by Bree Hadley: ‘It’s A Social Experiment: Pranks, Political Activism, and Performing Marginality for a Politically Correct Mainstream Audience’
In this paper, I investigate the phenomenon of so-called ‘social experiments’, where pranksters perform stigmatised identities in public spaces and places – from breastfeeding mothers, to Muslim women wearing burqas, to disabled people using canes, crutches and wheelchairs – to prompt a response from passersby. Though cast as politicised performances of the real designed to draw attention to the prejudices of the average passerby, the structure of these ‘social experiments’, frequently focused on candid camera style pranks they film, and upload on social media for all to see, with the hope of going viral and getting a run on morning television, raises performative, political and ethical questions. In this paper, I unpack some of these questions, using examples of social experiments focused on (dis)ability, race, religion, and gender identity. I examine some of the different effects these social experiments can produce, depending on whether they are performed by actors, pranksters or political activists, and whether they are performed by people who really occupy the stigmatised identity they perform or people who are simply wanting to say something about a fraught social topic. I ask whether these social experiments, when they go viral online, produce bonding social capital within communities impacted by current social prejudices, bridging social capital between these and broader communities, both, or neither.
Keynote workshop: In this workshop, I invite participants to investigate different ways of performing the real in public spaces and places for activist purposes, including the different effects of more and less metaphoric representations of the real in prompting passersby to stop, look and think about the political statement the performer makes, and think in the short, medium or long term.
Bree Hadley is a Senior Lecturer in Performance Studies at the Queensland University of Technology. She is currently a Director of Performance Studies international. Hadley’s research investigates the construction of identity in contemporary, pop cultural and public space performances, and concentrates on how work by artists marked by disability and other bodily differences mobilise media. She is currently working on two books: Theatre, Social Media and the Democratisation of Spectatorship and The Performativity of Pranks – Dark Play, Spectatorship and Subversive Social Practice. Her work has been published in Performance Research Journal, Liminalities, M/C and Australasian Drama Studies.