CfP: Comparative history of theatrical experiences. A panel at the British Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies Annual Conference
Dr Alexei Evstratov (Free University, Berlin)
Deadline: 1 October 2016
The study of theatre performances currently profits from the new developments across the disciplines: digital humanities offer tools that enable large-scale investigations into the staged repertoires; neuroscience provides new possibilities for the synchronic study of audiences and individual spectators. In parallel to these developments, our understanding of what a theatrical event is has been changing, too: it has become more inclusive of different components, ranging from specific rules of access to the playhouse to interactions amongst the members of the audience.
This panel seeks to make use of new approaches to the aesthetics and sociology of performance in order to explore theatrical life of the “long” eighteenth century. The basic theoretical premise is that theatre in general and theatrical event in particular is a dispositif, that is, according to Michel Foucault’s definition, a system of relations that can be established between the elements of “…a thoroughly heterogeneous ensemble consisting of discourses, institutions, architectural forms, regulatory decisions, laws, administrative measures, scientific statements, philosophical, moral and philanthropic propositions–in short, the said as much as the unsaid” (Foucault 1980, 194). Our suggestion is to study this system of relations from the point of view of the subject the dispositif seeks to shape.
Proposals are welcome on the analysis of this dispositif-subject interaction across various national traditions and with the goal of reconstituting the lived experience of individual spectators. A few possible lines if inquiry include (but are certainly not limited to):
Where, how, and why were these spectator experiences narrated?
What is specific to theatrical experience?
More generally, how does one define an experience of the theatrical event:
where/when does it start and where/when does it end?;
Can one observe the emergence of an “aesthetic” idiom in the accounts on theatrical experience;
What kind of emotional economy is deployed in these accounts?
The panel has to be submitted to the organisers by October 7, 2016. The results of evaluation will be announced on October 21, 2017.
More about the conference: https://www.bsecs.org.uk/conferences/annual-conference/
Dr Alexei Evstratov
Dahlem Humanities Center
Freie Universität Berlin
Habelschwerdter Allee 45
14195 Berlin Germany
Centre de Recherches sur les Arts et le Langage
Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales
96, bd Raspail — 75006 Paris — France