Call for Papers: LGBTQ Focus Group of Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE)

LGBTQ Focus Group
Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Conference
August 2-5, 2012, Hyatt Regency (Capitol Hill), Washington, DC

Submission Deadlines:

Individual Papers or Presentations: October 15 (send to conference planner Nick Salvato, ngs9[at]

Complete Sessions: November 1 (submit online directly to ATHE at

The LGBTQ Focus Group of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) invites panel, performance, roundtable, seminar, “text-and-response,” working group, and related proposals for ATHE 2012 in Washington, DC. Although presentations on all topics related to theatre and performance in general and to LGBTQ issues in particular will be considered, we encourage participants to develop ideas related to the conference theme, “Performance as/is Civic Engagement: Advocate, Collaborate, Educate,” and, more especially, to our Focus Group’s riff on that theme, “Outlaw Civics, Out Engagements.”

As the conference on the whole challenges us to consider every theatrical event as a mode of civic engagement, as well as to think about the necessity of theatre in our schools, cities, nations, and worlds, the LGBTQ Focus Group is interested in sessions exploring the specific ways in which LGBTQ scholars, performers, audiences, educators, and students act as advocates for civil disobedience and dissidence; for theatrical unrest and restlessness; for outlaw, outside, outsider, “out there,” and otherwise out performance. Questions to be considered could include:

• How do LGBTQ and other marches on Washington figure as part of a repertoire of queer performances—including Pride parades, outdoor displays of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and ACT UP street demonstrations—that conflate coming or being out with being outside? How may we account, queerly, for the intersections of different civil rights movements in which the (ritual?) performance of marches on Washington recur?

• In cases like the Congressional opposition to the NEA 4, what effects do (highly theatrical) governmental debates have on the making, funding, media coverage, and public perceptions of queer performance, and when and how does governmental theatre itself constitute a form of queer performance? What kinds of queer theatre do political scandals make, especially those in which elected officials are outed?

• In cases like the removal of David Wojnarowicz’s work from the National Portrait Gallery, how do local, national, or global forms of censorship affect queer lives and artworks? In turn, what are the performative contours of distinctly queer responses to the shaping and warping effects of censorship? Similarly, what are the effects of news outlets and related media on queer life-worlds and performance practices, and vice versa?

• How may we look to seventeenth- and eighteenth-century materials or archives, such as those housed at the Smithsonian, to queer the “founding moment” of the United States?

• What are the roles of theatre and performance in addressing queer-affirmative workplace ethics and in articulating the relationship, more broadly, of queerness to labor? And how may queer and/or labor activism consonate with disability activism? Where else do queerness and disability collide—or fail to collide—in twenty-first century education, performance, and scholarship?

• How may queer inquiries like those framed above be used to interpret international and transnational performance practices? What civic roles do global outlaws play in their performances of queer engagement with the world?

We also invite session coordinators to think “queerly” about the kinds of sessions that they propose and the composition of the colleagues in those proposed sessions, as ATHE on the whole encourages a move away from traditional panels (though a certain number of traditional panel proposals are, of course, welcome). How, for instance, might a session incorporate a performance, a paper, and on-site response(s) to the paper and performance? How might we profit from a series of participants’ short, interpretive assessments of a single, guiding performance or text? What kind of conversation would emerge in a seminar whose members (scholars, artists—and others—alike) circulated pre-written papers and used those papers to generate discussion questions for the conference? And what more radical alternatives to the traditional panel have yet to be conceived?


1. Completed proposals (with all session members assembled) may be submitted directly to ATHE at no later than November 1, 2011. Please forward a copy of your completed proposal to Nick Salvato (ngs9[at], and please note that all technology requests must be included in your completed proposal. If you would like your session to be considered for the series “Outlaw Civics, Out Engagements,” please begin your session title with that phrase (e.g., “Outlaw Civics, Out Engagements: The Queens of America March on Washington City,” or, “Outlaw Civics, Out Engagements: The AIDS Memorial Quilt and Performances of Queer Remembering”). For those planning sessions for this series, consultation with the LGBTQ conference planner before the November 1 deadline is also appreciated and recommended.

2. While complete sessions are strongly encouraged, individual paper proposals may be submitted to the LGBTQ Focus Group conference planner, Nick Salvato, at ngs9(at) I will attempt to group submissions into cohesive sessions, but I cannot guarantee inclusion. In order to be considered, individual proposals must be submitted by October 15, 2011. Abstracts (250 words) must include the presentation title and the submitter’s contact information and must specify any A/V needs. Indicate also whether you would like your proposal to be considered for one of the sessions being organized under the rubric, “Outlaw Civics, Out Engagements.” ATHE does not accept individual paper submissions: do not submit your individual proposal on the ATHE website. Individuals wishing to identify colleagues with whom to create sessions prior to the November 1 deadline may use the LGBTQ listserv to circulate questions or possible session topics (LGBT[at]LISTSERV.COFC.EDU).

3. All A/V support is fee-based. Grants for A/V support are available and encouraged. To apply, follow the directions on the proposal submissions form at ATHE’s website and fill out any additional information required. You will be notified of grant monies at the same time that you are notified of the status of your session. ATHE cannot accommodate A/V requests submitted after November 1 without substantial cost to the individual presenter.

4. Please note that ATHE runs from Thursday through Sunday in 2012. The application form will not accept scheduling preferences.

5. We encourage session coordinators with proposals that encompass the interests of multiple focus groups to pursue a multidisciplinary session. Presenters wishing to create multidisciplinary sessions should contact the Focus Group conference planners for each of the three groups that they propose as co-sponsors of their sessions, since multidisciplinary session coordinators who do not complete this step are likely to have their sessions ranked low or rejected.

6. Presenters proposing sessions outside the traditional panel format are asked to be specific in their proposals concerning the structure and number of participants, so that ATHE can be notified about time/space needs.

7. ATHE will notify the LGBTQ Focus Group concerning accepted or rejected panels by late February. Presenters should expect to hear from the conference planner or the session coordinator by early March.