All posts by Emma Mulser

Writing Theater – qualitative methods, situated knowledge, and the making of performance

Munich, July 5-7, 2023

Conference organized by Ulf Otto, Anna Raisich, Luise Barsch

The production of performance has gained renewed attention in recent years. Artistic processes in theaters have come into focus, as well as their social foundations, institutional frameworks and material entanglements.
This has led to an increased adaptation of methodologies from the social sciences. In particular, qualitative methods, most prominently praxeological and ethnographical approaches, have opened up new ways of engaging with theater.
But the expansion of the methodological toolbox is not just that. It reinvents epistemological relations and has lasting repercussions for the subjects and objects of research. While traditionally theater scholars found themselves within the dispositive of theater, as spectators confronting the performance, the move backstage and elsewhere equates to a loss of this privileged position and inevitably leads to an epistemological decentering of performance.
And this in turn provokes a closer look at the practices of research: techniques of description (protocols) and inscription (photographs, recordings) come to the fore, as do the diverse social and material agents that are mobilized to turn fleeting observations into reliably defined and delimited subjects of knowledge.
Accordingly, the aim of the conference is on the one hand, to discuss ethnographical strategies in the domain of theater studies, including their epistemological repercussions – and on the other hand, to take a look back at established writing strategies, taking inspiration from the rich body of critical self-reflection in ethnography: What happens to theater when scholars move backstage, and what can we learn from there about our scholarly selves?

We welcome contributions from scholars from all career stages – both, full length papers of about 20 minutes as well as poster-style presentations of early stage projects within a 10 minute time-frame will be considered. We are committed to opening an inclusive space for productive exchanges, in-depth discussions, and joint perspectives.

Please hand in short abstracts + bio (300 words max. both).
Deadline for abstracts: 15.12.2022
Notification of acceptance by: 15.1.2023
Contact: gewerke@lrz.uni-muenchen.de

The conference will primarily take place on site in Munich, but we will offer streaming and fully online panels for participants unable to attend in person. Travel and accommodation will be covered for presenters. A subsequent publication is planned.

The conference is part of the research project The Art of Crafts. A Praxeography of the Theater Apparatus funded by