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Historiography

Since its establishment in 1993, the Historiography Working Group has aimed to encourage critical debate on methodological and epistemological problems related to the history of theatre and performance. Historiographical questions discussed by participants may be illustrated through specific case examples, and there are no restrictions on the historical time or place a proposal might involve or on the kind of historiographical approach explored. The call for papers usually proposes a historiographical theme to encourage members to consider methodological issues in their ongoing projects. We welcome papers in all stages of development: from nascent 'thought' pieces to completed book chapters, although members may find it more useful in this forum to discuss earlier rather than later drafts. Writing on the year's theme is not required, but it is helpful for readers to know the goals and context of the work and what type of feedback the author desires.

 

Completed papers are circulated among participants and read in advance of the meeting, where they are discussed rather than presented. Any FIRT/IFTR member is welcome to attend, observe, and submit a proposal. Those who have circulated papers are invited to speak for not more than ten minutes about the context in which they have written their pieces, and about points where they would particularly welcome a response. (Participants take care to read all the papers carefully, so an oral summary of the paper is discouraged.) Submissions are normally linked to a research project that the author currently has in progress. The group spends about 20 minutes discussing each paper, and the emphasis of the discussion is upon historiographic method rather than the detail of the content. The aim of the discussion is always to be constructive. It is a way of working that has been found helpful by young scholars inexperienced in presentation, and by scholars whose first language is not English, but it has evolved because it suits the needs of those who are working on a larger project, which is often seen to be growing from year to year. For those who aim to attend the group's meetings please contact the group's convenors in advance of the conference to gain access to the circulated papers.

 

Publications:

The Historiography Working Group considers itself as an open forum for debate and reflection that values exchange on methodological issues and the discussion of research. A common publication is not seen as the group's priority objective, although publications may arise from the group's meetings. Examples include: 

Thomas Postlewait and Barbara Sušec Michieli. "A Transnational Community of Scholars: The Theatre Historiography Working Group in IFTR/FIRT". In: Theater Research International 35:3 (2010). 232-249.

Barbara Sušec Michieli (ed.). Mechanisms of Control and Power. Special issue of AMFITEATER: Journal of Performing Arts Theory 1: 2 (2008).

Stephen Wilmer (ed.). Writing and Rewriting National Theatre Histories. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2004.

 

Convenors:

Janne Risum ( drajr@hum.au.dk)

Magnús Thór Thórbergsson ( magnusthor@lhi.is)

Next meeting: Warwick 2014.

Please see: http://theaterhistoriography.wordpress.com.

Last Meeting: The group last met in Barcelona, 22–26 July 2013, to focus on the theme of "Myth and Mobility"

Participants are invited to orient their papers in 2014 towards part or all of the main IFTR conference theme of stratification. See the conference website for a full elaboration of the topic (http://iftr2014warwick.org/) The main conference theme invites consideration of the layering of history, how theatre marks and is rooted within history, and its relations to other historical moments or events. As stated in the conference main theme: “at the most basic level, one of the more provocative lines of inquiry that theatre historians might pursue can be distilled into the simple question: how is theatre stratified?” In relation to the theme of stratification, participants are especially encouraged to address the issue of processes of canonization, which was proposed as a topic of general interest to the group with potential for future development during the group's last meeting in Barcelona.

The group works by circulating papers to members in advance of the conference. Those who have circulated papers are invited to speak for not more than ten minutes about the context in which they have written their pieces, and about points where they would particularly welcome a response. (Participants take care to read all the papers carefully, so an oral summary of the paper is discouraged.) Submissions are normally linked to a research project that the author currently has in progress. The group spends about 20 minutes discussing each paper, and the emphasis of the discussion is upon historiographic method rather than the detail of the content. The aim of the discussion is always to be constructive. It is a way of working that has been found helpful by young scholars inexperienced in presentation, and by scholars whose first language is not English, but it has evolved because it suits the needs of those who are working on a larger project, which is often seen to be growing from year to year. We shall particularly welcome proposals from new scholars and from scholars outside Europe.

In addition to the group’s regular sessions, the Historiography Working Group will be hosting a WG-sponsored panel within the conference general program. The panel will consist of three papers representing a variety of the work and approach of the working group. If you are interested in representing the group in the open panel as an alternative to presenting a paper in the group’s regular sessions, please indicate your wishes when submitting your abstract to the convenors.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent by email to the two conveners by 15th December 2013. We have set this early deadline in order that we may be able to respond to you before you have to make a formal submission of your abstract through the conference website on 15th January. Subject to spaces being available on our programme, which operates within tight time constraints, we will be happy to consider further papers submitted on 15th Jan through the Warwick website.

The Working Group conveners reserve the right to select proposals that best fit the theme of our meeting and may ask for revisions. We will respond to proposals received by 5th January. The full text of the selected papers (no more than 5000 words) must be emailed to the conveners by 1st July 2014, for uploading onto the group’s website. For further information please do not hesitate to contact one of the conveners. You are reminded that in order to present your paper it will in due course be necessary to formally submit your abstract according to the guidelines on the conference website, register for the conference and to become a member of IFTR. You are also reminded that papers can be given to the working group or within the main conference, but you may not do both.

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