Exploring the Performative: Corps, Corpus, Gender, Genre, Race

An event hosted by the Race/Gender Matters Research Group, Humanities, Kingston University, London, UK

Call for papers 9-10 March 2018

In the second half of the twentieth century, theconcept of ‘performativity’ came to play aleading role in academic discourse in the philosophy of language, deconstruction, queer and gender theory, and performance studies. Accounting for the capacity of speech to bring about the action that it designates, and the processes through which identities are enacted and meaning is produced, performativity resides in the tensions among language, embodiment, and action. As such, it is a singularly important term in understanding the meaning and significance of our aesthetic and quotidian performances in relation to modernist norms and values.

As a concept that accounts for both the discursive functions of art and the processual quality through which meaning is enacted, performativity may be understood as a mode of critical praxis that makes the ontological borders between theatre and theory, art and philosophy, the public and the private, more porous. So how might the body (corps) be said to be inscribed into the body of a text (corpus)? And how might we think about the relationship between an author’s or actor’s gender or race and a text’s or performance’s genre?

This symposium aims to explore the idea of the performative within multiple contexts, including, but not limited to, écriture feminine, where the notion of the ‘feminine’ is understood as open to queer enactments, and a poetics of raced bodies. The new materialist articulation of matter as performative adds a significant element to this conversation. We welcome proposals that address the subject of performativity in relation to questions of sexual difference and race that engage with historical or contemporary works of art that employ and/or reflect on performative strategies. We welcome readings, performances, and theoretical investigations of performativity’s potential to enact both discursive resistance and embodied transgression, and encourage reflections on embodied approaches to the event of writing.

In addition to invited speakers/performers, we would like to invite individual or panel submissions. Whether you are submitting a proposal for an individual paper, or for a panel of 3 papers, please send abstracts/descriptions/proposals of not more than 500 words (in addition to a 300 word panel description if you are proposing a panel) to:

Prof. Tina Chanter at T.Chanter@Kingston.ac.uk, Dr. Helen Palmer at H.Palmer@Kingston.ac.uk, and Dr. Tawny Andersen at tawnyandersen@hotmail.com by 30th January 2018. Papers/performances should last no more than 30 mins. Notification of acceptance or otherwise will be received by 6th February, 2018. For more information about the Race/Gender Matters research group, at Kingston University see www.racegendermatters.com