Call for Papers & Performances

“Each act of activism … is a compilation of stories or ‘scenes’ that could not be told without acknowledging the macro forces of a neoliberal political economy that is ingrained in their plots.”
–D. Soyini Madison, Acts of Activism: Human Rights of Radical Performance (2010)

“This is a history carried and felt on the body.”
–Ramón Rivera-Servera, Performing Queer Latinidad: Dance, Sexuality and Politics (2012)

What is the relationship between affect and political economies? What role might performance play in negotiating conditions of bodies, affects, political economies, and spaces?  In Bodies We Trust: Performance, Affect, & Political Economy—the 2013 Department of Performance Studies Graduate Student Conference—invites graduate students, artists, and activists to generate new understandings among affect, political economy, and performance.

‘Affect’ and ‘political economy’ have each become integral in elucidating performance. Affect—embodied feelings that circulate—has been used to make sense of minoritarian feelings of otherness such as José Esteban Muñoz’s ‘feeling brown’ or Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s ‘queer performativity,’ and embodied responses to postmodern capitalism such as Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt’s ‘affective labor.’ Political economy—the influence of “political … and economic systems” on “institutions, culture, and human behavior”*—animates how performance operates in frameworks of policy, economies, and political institutions. We invite papers and performances that illuminate, complicate, and challenge relationships across embodied feelings, political and economic systems, and performance.

Each panel and each performance will be paired with a Northwestern University or Chicago-area faculty member who will act as a discussant. Confirmed faculty discussants include Joshua Chambers-Letson, Nick Davis, Tracy Davis, Hannah Feldman, Marcela Fuentes, Barnor Hesse, Richard Iton, Chloe Johnston, Ronak K. Kapadia, D. Soyini Madison, Susan Manning, Kaley Mason, Coya Paz, Janice Radway, Ramón H. Rivera-Servera, C. Riley Snorton, Elizabeth Son, and Harvey Young. The three-day conference also includes a keynote address by Judith Hamera, a collaborative plenary with Northwestern and Chicago-area faculty, movement workshops, and catered receptions to build community with attendees across disciplines and artistic interests.

We seek proposals for traditional academic papers, live performances and experimental formats. Papers, performances and experimental panels might want to consider:

*Neoliberal affect: aesthetics and neoliberalism, affective labor and affective political economies*
*Feeling Value*
*Minoritarian Affects*
*Black Atlantic Economies*
*Political Economies of Race, Gender, Sexuality and Ability*
*Decolonial aesthetics*
*Transhistorical relationships (including affective responses to eras of economic collapse)*
*Censorship of performance artists who engage affect as a modality of political economic commentary (e.g. the NEA Four, Pussy Riot, and the Hemispheric Institute’s No-Encuentro 2012)*
*Reproducibility, Circulation, and Commodification*
*Digital Affects*
*Space, Utopia, and Economies*
*Movement as Political Economy (bodily practices and global ideological movements)*
*Bodies Affecting Political Economies (protesting bodies, bodies in pain, aberrant bodies)*
*Theories of the Flesh*
*Embodied Epistemologies*
*Critical Ethnography*
*Sensorium in Politics*
*Affective Historiographies*


The deadline for proposals is April 5, 2013.
Please submit all proposals, and any questions to,

For paper proposals, please submit as one word, pages, or pdf document:
1) Name and Contact Information (with email address),
2) an abstract (~300 words), and
3) a brief biography (~250 words);

For performance and experimental proposals, please submit as one word, pages, or pdf document:
1) Name and Contact Information (with email address),
2) description of performance (~300 words),
3) a brief biography (~250 words);
4) technical requirements and duration,
and, if applicable, 5) up to six jpeg images, link to an online portfolio, or other relevant media.

We will notify participants by May 20, 2013.

This conference is generously supported by the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University and by the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. The conference will provide a travel reimbursement (up to $150) for each participant who does not live in the Chicago area.  There is no registration fee.

*D. Soyini Madison, Critical ethnography: method, ethics, and performance, SAGE: Thousand Oaks, CA, 2012, 66.