Writing Dancing/Dancing Writing CFP

Writing Dancing/Dancing Writing
A Joint Conference of
The Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS) and
The Congress on Research in Dance (CORD)
13–16 November 2014
Hosted by the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa

The University of Iowa is home to the renowned Writers’ Workshop (http://www.uiowa.edu/~iww/), and Iowa City is a designated UNESCO City of Literature (http://cityofliteratureusa.org/).

The deadline for proposal submissions is 1 April 2014.

Proposals should be submitted via the SDHS/CORD conference website. Conference details, registration, accommodation and travel information will be posted on the joint SDHS/CORD conference website: http://sdhscordconference.wildapricot.org/.
Conference Theme: Writing Dancing/Dancing Writing

The 2014 conference provides an opportunity to examine issues of authorship, representation, notation, and narrative in dancing and writing practices across social and cultural contexts and between disciplines.

Bringing writing and dancing into dialog, once again, allows us to reassess their relationship considering aspects such as medium, form, methodologies, aesthetics, authorship, tradition, temporality, duration, meaning, and communication.


The location of the joint SDHS/CORD 2014 conference, at The University of Iowa, home of the renowned Writers’ Workshop, and in Iowa City, IA, a UNESCO-designated City of Literature, provides an impetus to explore the interplay between dancing and writing, globally, historically, and within contemporary culture.

Dancing and writing are both about articulating physical and thoughtful experiences. How are they related and/or different? How might the compositional strategies of one inform the other? While choreography, notation, scores, and increasingly, digital media, record movement events for posterity, the bodies of dance makers and dancers are physically absent from the historical record. Seen through the lens of embodied agency, however, dancing “writes” into and within space in its very enactment, transforming the moving body itself into a receiving and recording medium. In both dance writing and in dance making there is an impulse to record and interpret, thereby creating the possibility of looking again. Issues of authorship surface readily when examining dancing and writing practices in marginalized and underrepresented cultural and social contexts, and/or in relation to dominant cultural narratives. What are the implications of textualizing dance and/or the body for non-literate societies and/or for underrepresented communities? The ubiquity of dance and dance criticism in the virtual realm, interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to the creative process, and the incorporation of the spectator into the event of the performance, are contemporary factors that further blur lines of authorship and bridge divides among artists, viewers, and critics. If dance is now living more fully in digital media, could its historical revisions and its “historicizing” reach as far as the written account? Similarly, is the vast universe of digitally generated text causing “the word” to have a life more brief? Does this situation increase anxiety about the “disappearance” of the text, of the dance?

The conference site provides an opportunity to examine issues of authorship, representation, and narrative in dancing and writing practices across social and cultural contexts. Bringing writing and dancing into dialog, once again, allows us to reassess their relationship considering aspects such as medium, form, methodologies, aesthetics, authorship, tradition, temporality, duration, meaning, and communication.

Additional questions that will be explored include:

What forms do embodied histories take, and, alternatively, what is a danced archive? In what ways are these questions complicated when considering identity and subject position?
In writing dance history, how do we preserve the body’s agency? What are the tropes and/or genres that deliberately or unwittingly define dance scholarship?
In what ways does writing or notating dancing factor into or construct/reinforce ideas of legacy? What are the economic structures that facilitate or hinder the preservation of dance works?
Is dancing feminine and writing masculine? Does Derrida’s famous gender/binary distinction still apply to the analytics of writing dancing?
What are the politics at work in the writing of the historical or academic canon in dance studies, and what impact do asymmetries of dance writing tilted toward English have on what gets recorded and how dance is portrayed? How might dance augment or complicate our understanding of translation?
How can dance studies broaden the scope of research and knowledge production by engaging scholars from other disciplines, and/or more broad-based and diverse audiences?
What forms of artistic collaboration have writers and dancers undertaken, and what have these intersections revealed?
How have collaborative approaches to dance making and spectator interactivity challenged narratives of choreographer-as-author?

The conference committee invites proposals for papers, panels, roundtables, and non-conventional forms of presentation (including performative papers, performances, and workshops) that address any of the questions listed above as well as other topics related to the theme of dancing and writing. Although priority will be given to proposals on the topic of dance and writing, scholars and artists are invited to submit proposals on the full spectrum of dance studies and practice. Organized panels and roundtables are especially encouraged.

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