CFP- Theatre and Racial Justice Anthology

Lisa Biggs's picture
Call for Papers
November 15, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Theatre & Performance History / Studies, Race / Ethnic Studies


Applied Theatre and Racial Justice: Radical Imaginings for Just Communities

Edited by Eunice S. Ferreira and Lisa L. Biggs

To be published by Routledge; Abstract proposals due by November 15, 2021

Applied Theatre and Racial Justice: Radical Imaginings for Just Communities is an intervention to redirect dominant applied theatre discourses by centering the experiences and expressive cultural practices of grassroots artists and scholars of the global majority. 

Black, Indigenous and other communities of color (BIPOC) have historically rooted their artistic practices and advocacy work in the rich soil of human experience with a desire to protect and preserve lives, affirm and recognize people’s inherent dignity, and inspire hope as they work towards racial justice and positive social change. This book will document, amplify, and share lessons from practitioners and scholars who use performance (e.g. theatre, dance, spoken word, ritual, performance art) to create models of collective solidarity, transformative justice, and liberation. In doing so, the book will complicate the history of applied theatre, which often overlooks the importance of knowledge and cultural practices developed by historically marginalized communities (including social activists, community organizers, artists, religious leaders, and teachers) who have been doing the work long before academic training programs developed the terminology of “applied theatre.”

The scholarly, pedagogical and collaborative spirit of the book is rooted in the practice of call and response to amplify the multiplicity of voices, needs, and agency to define conditions of justice by, for, and about Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, people of color, and/or people of the global majority communities. 

We seek to decenter Eurocentric practices, a mandate that extends from our individual work aligned with  antiracist, decolonization, and reparative strategies. As scholar artists of the global majority who teach in U.S. academic programs and whose work have both a domestic and global scope, we additionally seek contributors who can expand the scope of the book with a global perspective by engaging topics such as migration, borders, transnationalism, diasporic connections, and global protest movements. Essays may address work across institutions, disciplines, and communities to promote collective imagination, foster dialogue, engender knowledge-making, prompt civic action, and seek racial and social justice. 

We invite creative formats, collaborative writing, and a range of approaches such as case studies, ethical frameworks, theoretical and critical analysis, praxis, interrogations of power, community histories, and educational/training models to address the efficacy of applied theatre as a practice of racial justice in a myriad of settings. Possible section topics include: 

Performance, race, and public health; anti-racist and decolonizing pedagogies; trauma and healing; policing, protest, and safety; housing, poverty and human rights; gender and sexuality; applying critical theories of race, queer of color, gender, and disabilities to applied performance practices; work with justice/legal system-impacted people; human flourishing, land reparations, and environmental sustainability; hip hop pedagogy, digital performance and social media activism; equity, solidarity, liberty and social transformation; interfaith, cross-border and cross-cultural collaborations; post-quarantine strategies for rebuilding community collaborations; protests and global movements (e.g. Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, #StopAsianHate). Many of these topics may overlap as they address intersectional identities and shared goals in community-focused practices generated by, for, and about Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, people of color, and/or people of the global majority communities.

Contributors are asked to consider the following as they define racial justice according to their own vision, practice, histories, and community needs:
  • How can applied theatre amplify, strengthen, and contribute to ongoing community efforts to redress systemic racial injustices and produce greater health, joy, peace, safety, and equity?
  • What are some of the key challenges of doing this work and how best to overcome them?
  • What are key philosophical values or commitments that underpin the work?  What ethical values are important; what are the ethical dangers?
  • What is the benefit for participants of applied theatre (artistically, socially, intellectually, politically, economically, emotionally)? 
  • What can we learn through and about collaboration, whether among team leaders, with community partners, or across/within different institutions of higher education and/or professional companies/organizations?
  • What can a global perspective on applied theatre for racial justice contribute to our collective knowledge and understanding of the field and of this moment in human history?
Interested contributors should send a bio (300 word max.) and abstract proposal (300 word max.) by November 15, 2021. 
Early submissions are welcome. 

Essay format and length (2,500-5,000 words) will vary in consultation and collaboration with the editors and submission deadlines will be assigned throughout early 2022. Each thematic section will contain three essays addressing the sample topics and questions outlined above. As part of the book’s interactive format, the editors will facilitate a roundtable discussion amongst the writers in each section to expand and deepen the discourse. An edited transcript of what we anticipate to be a rich dialogue will conclude each section. All inquiries and submissions should be sent to co-editors Eunice S. Ferreira and Lisa L. Biggs.

Contact Info: 

Eunice Ferreira and Lisa Biggs, Co-Editors