• George Potter posted an update in the group Group logo of CLCS Global Arab and Arab AmericanCLCS Global Arab and Arab American on MLA Commons 4 years, 10 months ago

    If anyone is doing work in theater or performance studies, please submit to our working group at ASTR for the fall. We would be delighted to have you. Info. below:
    Arab Arousal: Embodying Arab Identity in Performance
    Hala Baki, University of California, Santa Barbara, halabaki@umail.ucsb.edu
    George Potter, Valparaiso University, george.potter@valpo.edu
    Samer Al-Saber, Florida State University, salsaber@fsu.edu

    What does the word Arab arouse?

    Arab is a signifying category that evokes a range of ideas and images in culture and performance. This working group seeks to explore the contemporary proliferation of the term as an arousing idea in art and society. We invite a diverse group of interdisciplinary scholars to consider how Arab moves to action, shapes a vision, and stirs affective responses.

    The category of “Arab” invites charged emotional reactions in the transnational public sphere today. These various responses have been shaped by and embedded into the dominant rhetoric used in media, politics, and everyday vernacular. Sensationalism, tokenism, and extremism all threaten Arab cultural agency both in the Arab world as well as in the diaspora. In addition, such responses have escalated in recent decades, especially with the unfolding of the so-called War On Terror, recent Arab uprisings, and the ongoing refugee crisis of the twenty-first century.

    Unlike the use of the Arab harem and swordsmiths for the purpose of orientalist arousal in traditional western genres, contemporary Arab culture defies the static orient with images of international film stars, sexually suggestive music videos, reality television, Ramadan series, YouTube revolutionaries, and politically provocative theater.

    Unless we increase the number of effective forums for the discussion of this category on its own terms, with regional awareness and expertise, the latent neocolonial trend will continue. In part, we intend to explore methodologies that entail linguistic expertise, ethnographic methods, and historiographic investigations in source texts.

    In this working session, the conveners seek to gather scholars of Arab and Arab diaspora theatre and performance at different career levels, for a discussion to address current issues of the representation and cultural production of Arabs around the world. By seeking the participation of native and non-native experts with scholars who wish to develop their expertise, the conveners hope to create a community that holds itself accountable for the fair representation of precarious subjects in performance and theatre scholarship.

    In the lead-up to San Diego, participants will share their papers in various focus groups in preparation for discussions with the larger group. We expect early submissions to take place in order to increase engagement on substantive discussion prior to the conference.

    We invite submissions of 250 to 400 word abstracts. Broadly, topics may include issues of race, representation, method, theory, identity, and mixed identities. We also invite disciplinary critiques in the areas of performance, theatre, criticism, literature, and anthropology. Examples of potential investigations may include:

    The representation of Arabs.
    Racial considerations of Arab playwrights, artists, scholars, or characters.
    The role of new media in globalizing Arab performance and scholarship.
    Institutional approaches to Arab performance or scholarship.
    Processes of production and reception in relation to Arab art.
    Social, political, and economic impacts of the public sphere on Arab art.
    Research methods or case studies that inform future research.
    Proposed theoretical advancements.
    Analyses or interpretations of source texts in their original language or in translation.
    Critiques of existing methods in literature, theory, history, anthropology, and other relevant disciplines.
    Critiques of existing English language scholarship on these topics.
    For any specific questions, please contact the working group conveners Hala Baki (halabaki@umail.ucsb.edu), George Potter (george.potter@valpo.edu), and Samer Al-Saber (salsaber@fsu.edu).

    Submissions: https://www.astr.org/general/custom.asp?page=18_WSSubmissions