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CFA: Philosophy of Performance Beyond the Analytic/Continental Divide

“Philosophy of Performance: Beyond the Analytic/Continental Divide” at the University of Kent, Friday 24th May 2019.

Confirmed keynotes: Aili Bresnahan (University of Dayton), Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca (University of Surrey), Tom Stern (University College London).
The last decade has seen a marked increase in interest in the philosophy of performance, from scholars in both philosophy and theatre studies, perhaps most notably with the development of the international Performance Philosophy network. Since it was developed in 2012, this network has produced a biennial conference, open access journal and book series published with Palgrave Macmillan. A notable feature of these outputs is a marked influence from the continental tradition – with book titles including Adorno and Performance, Zizek and Performance and Beckett, Deleuze and Performance. At the same time, philosophers such as Aili Bresnahan, Tom Stern and James R. Hamilton working within the analytic and/or pragmatist traditions of aesthetics are making important contributions to the philosophy of dance and theatre.

This conference, which is a collaboration between the Aesthetics Research Centre at the University of Kent and the Centre for Performance Philosophy at the University of Surrey, aims to bridge this gap between scholarship in the continental and analytic traditions. It will bring together philosophers and performance scholars from both traditions to engage in dialogue, in the hope that this can be the start of a productive collaborative conversation on the aesthetics of theatre, dance and performance.

The organisers invite presentations on any topic around the philosophy of performance, but particularly seek presentations that aim to interrogate, traverse or explore the continental/analytic philosophy divide. Possible topics include, but are not limited to…

– Can performance be a kind of philosophy?
– What is the ontology of performance? Is there an ontology of performance?
– Moral philosophy and its relevance to performance.
– Authorial intention, its critique and/or potential implications for meaning in performance.
– What is the phenomenology of performance appreciation? For example, how does the audience experience of performance combine awareness of the performer with awareness of what the performer represents?
– Why do we care about the fate of fictional characters in performance?
– The status of performance in aesthetics, and the relationships between performance and the other arts such as painting, literature, music, cinema etc.
– The “philosophy of X” model and its critique; performance philosophy as an alternative method beyond the application of philosophy to performance.
– Is there a distinction between approaches to performance in the continental and analytic traditions of philosophy? Where are the tensions and points of shared interest? How might the philosophy of performance combine insights from both traditions?
– What about global philosophies of performance where an analytic/continental distinction may not apply?
– Why has there been so little dialogue between the analytic and continental philosophies of performance thus far? Why has Theatre and Performance Studies tended to engage more with continental philosophy?
– What can performance offer to how philosophy understands itself?

The organisers welcome proposals for workshops and/or performance demonstrations (up to 90 minutes), in addition to paper presentations (around 20 minutes) and curated panels (up to 90 minutes).

Proposals should include an abstract of around 250 words, along with a short biography (50 words) and an indication of any technical requirements. Please send proposals to S.R.May@kent.ac.uk by Monday 18th March.