CFP: Global Africa, Session of the African and Caribbean Theatre and Performance Working Group, IFTR 2022

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Call for Papers
January 31, 2022
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Black History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Race / Ethnic Studies, Theatre & Performance History / Studies

CFP: Global Africa: Shared Futures of Mobility and Repair, IFTR 2022

The African and Caribbean Theatre and Performance Working Group invites proposals from researchers and practitioners for our meeting during the 2022 IFTR Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland: Shifting Centres (in the Middle of Nowhere).
Extended deadline for proposals: 31 January 2022
Global Africa: Shared Futures of Mobility and Repair
Unsettling the centre can be risky and disruptive, leaving uncharted vulnerable spaces that can provide an opportunity for action: shifting, moving, destabilising, airing, repairing. How can thinking about repair, reparations and reparative networks help us to understand the cultural, social, aesthetic and political role of performance? How can performance lead a generative act of repair in light of the gaps left behind / created when the centre shifts?
This WG proposes to unsettle the dominant Eurocentric discourses on the continent. Shifting the view might bring South–South relations to light, a focus on social hierarchies as they play out in rural-urban divides, uptown versus downtown, caste rather than class, and multiple affiliations to various nations as well as polylingual fluencies. A global African perspective is used to understand the common histories and shared futures of African communities on and off the African continent. The movement of African peoples, cultures, and practices has a long history, from East Africa’s part in the Silk Road to Caribbean dancehall, the slave trade to climate migration, Nollywood to the repatriation of African art. Theatre and performance are important sites for acknowledging these shifts, registering the power relations of policy and bureaucracy and the play of marginalization vs privilege as they offer ways to analyse culture and politics. In general, investigating possible interpretations of global Africa, we pursue the question of how performance can act as a creative repair in a climate of shifting centres.
Transdisciplinary and collaborative proposals are encouraged on sub-themes including but not limited to:
-          Shifts and repairs in African dance systems and the performer’s body.
-          traditional performance rites
-          creolization
-          migration and transnational mobility to/within/from Africa and the Caribbean
-          Nollywood and KinaUganda videos
-          African art in colonial collections; museum repatriation
-          reparations for slavery
-          Caribbean dancehall
-          African cosmopolitanism
-          African cultures in antiquity
-          Indian influences on Caribbean/African performance
-          in/tangible goods and performing history
-          monetization of cultural practices, especially outside Africa and the Caribbean
-          globalisation, transculturation and migration of performance practices: Chinese Caribbean performance traditions, Arab traditions in Africa, West African jali practices in US/UK, West African practices in the Caribbean, Afro-Mexican performance, Afro-Asian exchanges/encounters etc..
-          theatre and NGOs and the politics of development funding
-          transnational infrastructure projects in Africa and/or the Caribbean
-          decolonising scholarship as practice of shifting centres
-          theories, approaches, and discourses on global Africa
-          notions of representation in African performance
-          appropriation and representation/s of Africa
-          What paradigm shifts might broaden performance practice to include rural and folk traditions?
-          How do theatre and performance draw on oral culture as a repository of history and collective knowledge?
-          How can performance question/explore the politics of climate migration?
-          How are translations and adaptations a form of shifting? Or a form of repairing or suturing?
-          In what circumstances are the subversive antics of Ananse and other politricksters destructive/reparative?
Papers are welcome from within specific disciplines, e.g., performance studies, theatre studies, history, literature, cultural studies, visual arts, film, dance, as well as from across disciplines.  Collaborations are especially welcomed. Proposals may be in the form of an academic paper (15-20 minutes); screening; performance; performance lecture.
Prospective participants are invited to submit their abstracts (maximum 250 words) through the Cambridge Core website ( and another copy directly to the working group convenors together with a short bio (see contact details below). You will have to be a paid-up IFTR member to submit an abstract.
Note that the working group works by circulating papers to members in advance of the conference to facilitate in-depth discussion at the meeting. Members whose abstracts are accepted will be required to submit a 20-minute presentation in written or recorded form for circulation by 30 May 2022. The working group encourages new members to submit abstracts or simply take part in the group discussion during the conference without presenting.
We are currently working on implementing a number of projects, including a publication, doctoral training workshops and mentorship, a reading group focusing on decolonising theory, and interim meetings to present informal work. If you are interested in joining the Working Group, please get in touch!
Convenors for the forthcoming meeting of the Working Group are:
Awo Mana Asiedu ( University of Ghana, Ghana
Aldith Gauci ( University of Exeter, UK and The Gambia

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