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Call For Contributions to an Edited Volume Entitled Enacting Nature – Ecocritical Perspectives on Indigenous Performance

Proposal and Call for Papers: Enacting Nature: Ecocritical Perspectives on Indigenous Performance

To be edited by Prof. Dr. Birgit Däwes and Prof. Dr. Marc Maufort

“Dramaturgies,” P.I.E.-Peter Lang (Brussels)

Ever since the mid-1990s, ecocriticism—or “the study of the relationship between literature and the physical environment,” in Cheryll Glotfelty’s famous definition—has become an increasingly popular methodological paradigm for literary studies. In Native American and First Nations Studies, however, the coordinates for a fruitful critical investment in environmentalist issues are still being mapped. Common stereotypes, such as the wilderness topos, the “ecological Indian,” or the keeper of a planetary spirituality, have proven tenacious and difficult to overcome. Joni Adamson additionally reminds us that ecocritics often overlook the “connections between social injustices and environmental degradation” (20) and accordingly pleads for both “a more inclusive environmentalism and a more multicultural ecocriticism” (xix). Similarly, Donelle Dreese examines the particular connection between landscape and configurations of the self in contemporary Native American poetry and prose; and in their study on Postcolonial Ecocriticism (2010), Graham Huggan and Helen Tiffin call attention to further forms of ecological imperialism (such as biocolonization or environmental racism). Representations of nature and patterns of political power, in short, are inseparably intertwined. For the field of indigenous theater and drama, however (a genre that has itself been widely overlooked), these questions have not yet been systematically addressed.

This volume seeks to explore the relationship between indigenous drama and the “environment” in the widest sense—as place, land, nature, wilderness, social space, “thirdspace” (in both Soja’s or Bhabha’s senses), and “alterNative” space. Our notion of ecocriticism is not limited to environmentalism as a form of creative advocacy, but it acknowledges, in its basic assumption, Robert M. Nelson’s insight that “cultural identities, like individual identities, emerge not from class struggle but rather from the land” (7). We therefore invite more general perspectives on performative representations of place, space, and nature. We are particularly interested in the ways that plays and performances envision space (and especially the relationships between humans and spaces), but also in the concrete engagements with the space of the stage. From the highly experimental approach to uranium mining in Marie Clements’s Burning Vision to the ritual preparation of a dancing circle in James Luna’s Emendatio, from the planetary, cosmopolitan vision of Tomson Highway’s Rose to the metaphorical landscapes of Diane Glancy’s plays, and from Jack Davis’s and Wesley Enoch’s dramatizations of Australian Aboriginal Dreamings to Hone Kouka’s and Briar Grace-Smith’s celebrations of the spiritual bond between Maori people and the land, the spectrum of “staging nature” is as wide as it is powerful. The corpus of the volume would deal primarily with Indigenous works from North America, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands (Samoa, Fiji, Hawaii), thus offering a broad comparative perspective on the multiple variants of Indigenous writing for the stage.

We invite contributions of roughly 6,000 words (prepared according to the latest version of the MLA stylesheet), to be submitted by December 1, 2012. Questions/topics to be addressed include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • the multiple and transversal interconnections between identity, place, and space
  • the particular use of the land and landscapes as defining factors of identity
  • the significance of spaces and places for particular indigenous dramaturgies
  • land and landscape as active “characters” or crucial elements in the development of dramatic plot rather than passive decorum
  • the intersections between local and global, tribal and transnational trajectories in indigenous theater and drama
  • the conceptualization of new methodologies through ecocritical perspectives and, in turn, the potential of indigenous (re)writings and (re)stagings of place for an expansion of ecocriticism as practice
  • studies of how individual playwrights address ecocritical issues.
  • Comparative studies of how playwrights from different world regions address these concerns.

Interested contributors are invited to send us an abstract of 250 words and a brief biographical sketch by March 1, 2012:



Please do not hesitate to contact the editors, should you have any further questions regarding possible topics.

via International: Enacting Nature – Ecocritical Perspectives On Indigenous Performance – Call For Papers., Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources – http://www.indigenousissues.com.


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