Historicizing Performance in the Early Modern Period

Event Date: 
20 Jan 2012

The John Rylands Library
Deansgate, Manchester

When our first Mother […] stept out of her place but to speak a good Word of Worship, you see how she was baffled, and befooled therein; she utterly failed in the performance’ - John Bunyan, A Case of Conscience Resolved (1683)
A louer that kils himselfe,
most gallant, for loue.

That will aske some teares in
the true performing of it.

William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1.2.21-2)

This one-day academic conference aims to bring together scholars working on all aspects of performance in the early modern period (taken broadly to include the fifteenth to the early eighteenth centuries). We intend to interrogate what performance and its related terminologies and practices might have meant to early modern readers, playgoers, and congregations; how performance shaped and/or undermined distinctions between private/public bodies and selves. Although drama is an essential point of reference for this discussion, we encourage that “historicizing performance” be taken as broadly as possible. Topics might include (but are not limited to):

  • Plays and play-going
  • Music and singing
  • Public spectacles, ceremonies and architecture
  • Ritual, devotional expression, spirituality / the sermon as performance
  • Autobiography and Performative Texts
  • Performing gender/ sexuality/ the domestic
  • Performance and the performative in theory

Please email abstracts (400 words max.) for a 20 minute paper to Michael Durrant and Naya Tsentourou at: Historicizing.Performance@manchester.ac.uk

Deadline for abstracts: September 23th, 2011

Notifications of acceptance to be sent out by October 14th, 2011


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