IFTR Historiography Working Group

Since its establishment in 1993, the Historiography Working Group has aimed to encourage critical debate on methodological and epistemological problems related to the history of theatre and performance. Historiographical questions discussed by participants may be illustrated through specific case examples and there are no restrictions on the historical time or place a proposal might involve or on the kind of historiographical approach explored. Completed papers are circulated among participants and read in advance of the meeting, where they are discussed rather than presented. Any FIRT/IFTR member is welcome to attend, observe, and submit a proposal.

The call for papers usually proposes a historiographical theme to encourage members to consider methodological issues in their ongoing projects. We welcome papers in all stages of development: from nascent ‘thought’ pieces to completed book chapters, although members may find it more useful in this forum to discuss earlier rather than later drafts.  Writing on the year’s theme is not required, but it is helpful for readers to know the goals and context of the work and what type of feedback the author desires.

The Historiography Working Group considers itself as an open forum for debate and reflection that values exchange on methodological issues and the discussion of research. A common publication is not seen as the group’s priority objective, although publications may arise from the group’s meetings. Examples include:

Abeliovich, Ruthie. “On Guilt and Ghosts.” Pamiętnik Teatralny, vol. 69, no. 4, 2020, pp. 161-70. Hay, Chris. “Philip Baxter: Man in Search of a Nuclear (St)age.” Journal of Australian Studies, vol. 44, no. 1, 2021, pp. 94-107. Risum, Janne. “Minutes of ‘Evening to Sum Up the Conclusions from the Stay of the Theatre of Mei Lanfang in the Soviet Union’ at The All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (VOKS) on Sunday, 14 April 1935: Introduction and Translation with Editorial Comments by Janne Risum.” Asian Theatre Journal, vol. 37, no. 2, 2020, pp. 328-375. Senelick, Laurence. “Émigré cabaret and the re-invention of Russia.” New Theatre Quarterly, vol. 35, no. 1, 2019, pp. 44-59. Tenneriello, Susan. “Sport and Spectacle in Olympic History: Moving the Body Politic at the 1912 Stockholm Games.” Sporting Performances: Politics in Play. Edited by Shannon L. Walsh, Routledge, 2020, pp. 65-80. Thorbergsson, Magnus Thor. “Erased Trails: Investigating Icelandic-Canadian Theatre History.” The Methuen Handbook of Theatre History and Historiography. Edited by Claire Cochrane and Jo Robinson, Methuen Drama, 2020, pp. 224-235. Wagner, Meike. “Performing in Crisis Mode: The Munich National Theater, the Great Exhibition and the Cholera Epidemic in 1854.” Pamiętnik Teatralny, vol. 69, no. 4, 2020, pp. 39-61. Wiles, David. The Player’s Advice to Hamlet: The Rhetorical Acting Method from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Cambridge UP, 2020.

The group’s conveners are elected on the occasion of the group’s meetings.

The current conveners of the group are:

Read Convening Protocols.