Tuesday, April 14, 2009

American Society for Theater Research, Disability and Diagnosis

Health: Diagnosis, Prognosis, and the Residue of Clinical Presence" at this fall's ASTR (American Society for Theater Research) conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Patrick says the ASTR is a theater/performance studies organization with wonderful, discussion-heavy conferences. The panels/seminars use pre-circulated papers, leading to richer conversations at the conference itself.The CFP is below.

ASTR's conference homepage is at: http://astr.org/Conference/tabid/55/Default.aspx

WORKING SESSION: Destination “Health”: Diagnosis, prognosis, and the residue of clinical presence

Conveners: Patrick Anderson, University of California, San Diego and Jisha Menon, Stanford University


Deadline: Friday, May 15, 2009

Destination “Health” is designed to explore the multiple relationships between performance, performativity, illness, and health within the context of the clinical encounter. We begin with an understanding of the institution of the clinic as a distinctly performative space: the clinic
is the primary site for the staging of diagnosis (an interpellative “hailing” that initiates certain “treatment” protocols) and prognosis (a temporal and spatial production that initiates the promise of a specifically defined future). Simultaneously, the clinic is structured as
and articulated through embodied demonstrative and spectatorial encounters that resemble the most fundamental understanding of “performance”; the clinic can thus be considered using both the language of performance and the premise of performativity.

Building upon the 2009 conference theme of “Theatre, Performance, and DestiNation,” we will constellate scholars and artists whose work critically examines “the clinic” as central to ideologies of normalcy, mobility, and “health.” That is, we seek with this session to foreground
the limits of “health” as an idealized “destination” for the body; to explore the performative function of the clinic as both an “ideological state apparatus” and a “repressive state apparatus” (Althusser); and to consider theatrical and performance productions that critically engage the clinic as a site of intense ideological scrutiny.

Possible themes may include, but are in no way limited to:
• Representations of the clinic in theater or performance productions;
• The performativity of the diagnostic pronouncement;
• Prognostic “time” and the “disappearance” of live performance;
• The choreography of the clinical encounter;
• Histories of the clinic as a site for experimentation and research,
domination and control, and/or discipline and punishment;
• Narratives about clinical encounters exploring embodied, spectatorial
demonstrations of illness and health, ability and disability, diagnosis
and prognosis;
• The use of the clinic as metaphor in “theater lab” and “performance
clinic” workshops;
• “Health” as ideology;
• Illness, insurance, and the calculus of profit;
• Medical tourism and globalization of healthcare;
• Intersections of the clinic and other institutional domains, including
the prison, the gallery, the school, the family, et al.;
• Medical histories in/as performance;
• Modes of documentation—imaging devices, medical charts, et al.—deployed
in the clinic, and their connection to documentation issues in live
• Life-support, palliative care, and the question of agency.


Proposals should include:
• Title of Proposal
• Brief (maximum 200 words) Abstract
• Brief Bio, Affiliation, Email, Office Phone
• Any Other Requirements (for example: ASL interpreter, large-print texts)

Submit Proposals (in DOC or PDF format) no later than Friday, 15 May 2009,
to: DestinationHealthSeminar@gmail.com

A note on session format:Destination “Health” is designed as a traditional 2-hour ASTR seminar session, with pre-circulated papers and pre-conference discussion. Based
upon our own extensive experiences with ASTR seminars, we are sensitive to the need to find new ways of engaging the seminar’s audience, who often feel (1) too unfamiliar with the pre-circulated papers to understand the seminar’s starting-points; and/or (2) frustrated with the lack of time for them to participate productively in the seminar’s discussion. Part of our
collective, pre-conference work, then, will be to devise, in small groups, short “presentations” to open the seminar. These will serve dual functions: crystallizing the small groups’ work, and beginning the seminar with a strong, scripted group statement that will familiarize the audience with the seminar participants’ previous conversations. We will also define
and confirm with seminar members the structure of the seminar session far enough in advance of the conference to ensure an organized and structured conversation at the meeting itself.

All selected participants must become members of ASTR.

For more information on working session guidelines see:


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