Call for Papers, Performance Paradigm 15 (2019)


Performing Southern Feminisms

Co-editors: Caroline Wake (University of New South Wales) and Emma Willis (University of Auckland), and section editors (TBC)

From Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the United Nations to comedian Hannah Gadsby on Netflix—the women of Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia have rarely been more visible on the international stage. Like their sisters around the world, the women of the Asia-Pacific raised their hands and voices in 2017 to say #metoo. However, regional differences mean that the movement has unfolded differently here. In Australia, strict defamation laws have stymied the naming of perpetrators and instead facilitated the effective “weaponisation” of the #metoo movement (Maley 2018). In China, women were using the hashtags #我也是 (#IAmAlso) and #MeToo在中国 (#MeTooInChina) until the tags were banned, at which pointed they switched to the user-generated nickname for the movement, 米兔, which translates as “rice bunny” but is pronounced as “mi tu” (Zeng 2018). In other instances, the movement served to reanimate previous efforts, for example the Australia Council of the Arts’ report Women in Theatre (Lally and Miller 2012) and in the Republic of Korea, Seo Ji-hyun’s complaint against her senior colleague in 2010 (Haynes and Chen 2018). Now, twelve years after Tarana Burke first tweeted #metoo, and one year after it went viral, women are also asking themselves—what next?

The aim of this issue of Performance Paradigm—an open-access, peer-reviewed journal now in its 15th year—is twofold. Firstly, to document and analyse the theatre, performance, dance and live art being made by and with cis- and trans-women across the Asia-Pacific. Secondly, and more ambitiously, to develop a theory and vocabulary of “Southern feminisms” for theatre and performance studies. In their recent issue on “Feminisms Now,” Sarah Gorman, Geraldine Harris and Jen Harvie remark on “the inadequacy of the term ‘feminist’ for non-white artists and scholars” (2018, 280). This “inadequacy” has particular regional resonances. For example, on the experiences of Pacific women, artists Lana Lopesi and Louisa Afoa write that, “The liberal feminist idea of a universal women’s experience can be unrelatable for women from cultures who have been victim to colonisation” (2015). Similarly, in her analysis of Hot Brown Honey, Sarah French draws on the work of Aileen Moreton-Robinson, a Goenpul woman of the Quandamooka nation, to argue that “Australian feminism has consistently excluded Indigenous women and … there are necessarily limitations to Indigenous women’s involvement with white feminists” (Moreton-Robinson 2000, cited by French 2018, 322).

These remarks reiterate the argument Celia Roberts and Raewyn Connell make in the introduction to their special issue on “Southern Feminism” (2016). Drawing on Beninese philosopher Paulin Hountondji (1997), they point out that: “Theory is normally produced in the metropole and exported to the periphery, while the periphery normally produces data and exports this raw material to the metropole. All academic disciplines show these patterns; viewed as a whole, feminist, women’s and gender studies are no exception” (Roberts and Connell 2016, 135–36). Neither are theatre and performance studies, both historically dominated by North American and European scholars. Rather than solely seeking to add some Asia-Pacific data to feminist theatre and performance studies, this issue sets out to develop a theory. It asks: what might Southern feminist performance—and performance theory—look like if we were start with our own “peripheral” selves?

We therefore invite contributions that problematise, extend and challenge what Southern feminism means in a wide variety of performance contexts including theatre, dance, performance and live art, ritual, activism, burlesque and voguing. Here we are thinking of everything from Arden’s diplomacy and Gadsby’s comedy to anything in between. We are interested in ensembles, solo artists, choreographers, company leaders, and community workers. Moreover, we invite appraisals of both feminist-identified performances and works that may not identify as “feminist” but that engage with the relationship between gender and power by way of their own cultural and aesthetic frameworks. While we do not wish to “colonise” artists who do not identify as feminist by naming them so, we do wish to broaden the parameters of the discussion in order to enrich the critical discourse. 

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Pacific feminisms, mana wahine
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander feminisms, Indigenous/indigenous feminisms
  • Feminism, allyship, and “decolonising solidarity” (Land 2015)
  • Queer, trans and non-binary feminisms
  • Cultural paradigms that provide their own matrices for articulating the relationship between gender, power and cultural expression in performance
  • Feminism and religious identities
  • Feminism, migration and performance
  • Feminist epistemologies and dramaturgies
  • Feminist ensembles and “girl gangs” (Mayhew 2017)
  • Feminist performance on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and beyond
  • Pink/pynk aesthetics
  • Intergenerational feminist performance
  • Ecofeminism and performance
  • Xenofeminism (Laboria Cuboniks 2015) and performance
  • Postfeminism
  • Issues of industry, participation and representation

Please send proposals of approximately 300 words to Caroline Wake ( and Emma Willis ( by Monday 18 February 2019. Full articles will be due on 31 May 2019 for publication in December 2019.



Works Cited

French, Sarah. 2018. “‘Talkin’ Up to the White Woman’: Intersections of Race and Gender in Hot Brown Honey.” Contemporary Theatre Review 28 (3): 320–331.

Gorman, Sarah, Geraldine Harris, and Jen Harvie. 2018. “Introduction: Feminisms Now.” Contemporary Theatre Review 28 (3): 278–284.

Haynes, Suyin, and Aria Hangyu Chen. 2018. “How #MeToo Is Taking on a Life of Its Own in Asia.” Time. 9 October 2018.

Hountondji, Paulin J. 1997. “Introduction: Recentring Africa.” In Endogenous Knowledge: Research Trails, edited by Paulin J. Hountondji, 1–39. Dakar: CODESRIA.

Laboria Cuboniks. 2015. Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation.

Lally, Elaine, and Sarah Miller. 2012. Women in Theatre: A Research Report and Action Plan for the Australia Council for the Arts. Sydney: Australia Council for the Arts.

Land, Clare. 2015. Decolonizing Solidarity: Dilemmas and Directions for Supporters of Indigenous Struggles. London: Zed Books.

Lopesi, Lana, and Louisa Afoa. 2015. “Body Language.” The Occassional Journal 2015 (“Love Feminisms”).

Maley, Jacqueline. 2018. “When #metoo meets defamation law and a brutal political culture.” Sydney Morning Herald. 9 November 2018.

Mayhew, Louisa. 2017. “On Top of the Art World: Clark Beaumont and the Rise of Artist Girl Gangs.” Re-bus 8: 1–23.

Moreton-Robinson, Aileen. 2000. Talkin’ Up to the White Woman: Aboriginal Women and Feminism. St Lucia: University of Queensland Press.

Roberts, Celia, and Raewyn Connell. 2016. “Feminist theory and the global South.” Feminist Theory 17(2): 135–140.

Zeng, Meg Jing. 2018. “From #MeToo to #RiceBunny: How Social Media Users Are Campaigning in China.” The Conversation. 6 February 2018.

Posted: 2019-01-23 More...

Call for Papers, Performance Paradigm 14 (2018)


Performance, Politics and Non-Participation

Co-editors: Caroline Wake (UNSW, Sydney) and Emma Willis (University of Auckland)

I would prefer not to. —Bartleby, the Scrivener (1853)

Like Bartleby, the legal clerk who famously decides that he would prefer not to, this issue of Performance Paradigm—an open-access, peer-reviewed journal now in its 14th year—investigates the politics and performance of non-participation. The figure of Bartleby appears everywhere in political theory and philosophy: in Gilles Deleuze’s “Bartleby, ou la formule” (1989); in Giorgio Agamben’s companion piece (1993; published in English 1999); in Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Empire (2000); and in Slavoj Žižek’s The Parallax View (2010). In performance, his spirit manifests in Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler’s project Museum of Non-Participation (from 2007). In performance scholarship, he recently appeared in Daniel Sack’s After Live: Possibility, Potentiality and the Future of Performance (2015). Perhaps we hear him in phrases such as “don’t do it on my account” and catchphrases such as “computer says no”. We might even see him, his slogan printed on a bag or a t-shirt. What are we to make of the fact that more than 160 years after Bartleby first appeared, both pizza ads and productivity coaches proclaim: “No is the new yes” (Huffington Post 2012; Kellaway 2017; Schwartz 2012)? And what is the difference between the “no” and the “non” when it comes to participation? One can choose not to participate (refuse) or one may be excluded from participation, which is altogether different. Is to refuse important in and of itself or should it build towards action; is it, in fact, more a type of action—a striking against—than non-participation?

Posted: 2017-11-30 More...

Call for Papers, Performance Paradigm 13 (2017)


Performance, Choreography and the Gallery

Edited by Erin Brannigan (UNSW Sydney), Hannah Mathews (Monash University Museum of Art), and Caroline Wake (UNSW Sydney)

This issue of Performance Paradigm takes the 2016 Biennale of Sydney as a starting point for a broader discussion about the relations between performance, choreography and the gallery. Of course, the appearance of performance in the gallery and in the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) sector more broadly is not new. Indeed, the Biennale’s 2016 artistic director Stephanie Rosenthal and two of her ‘curatorial attachés’, Adrian Heathfield and André Lepecki, have been working at this intersection for years. So too have scholars such as Claire Bishop (2012; 2014), Shannon Jackson (2011), and Susan Bennett (2009).

Posted: 2017-01-30 More...

Call for Papers, Performance Paradigm 12 (2016)


Performance, Technology, Intimacy

Edited by Caroline Wake (UNSW, Sydney) and Anna Scheer (University of New England)

Taking its cue from the title of Caryl Churchill’s recent play, this issue investigates the performance, politics and dialectics of “love and information”.

In his review of the play, Michael Billington observed that, “we live in a world where information bombardment is in danger of leading to atrophy of memory, erosion of privacy and decay of feeling.” Yet his criticisms are couched in binaries that the play itself, and contemporary performance more broadly, challenges, unsettles, disrupts and even refuses. In an age of big data, small screens, social media and algorithmic match-making, can we really separate liking and “liking”? Even if we could, are we comfortable with the implicit hierarchies of co-presence here? If technology has become, for better or worse, an “architect of our intimacies” how does performance respond to, reproduce or resist both those architectures and those intimacies?

Posted: 2015-11-17 More...

Call For Papers, Performance Paradigm 11 (2015)


Staging Real People: On the Arts and Effects of Non-Professional Theatre Performers

Guest edited by Ulrike Garde and Meg Mumford

Performance practice since the 1990s has been characterised by an increased interest in the phenomenon of theatre without professional performers. Such performers are selected for a variety of reasons, including: their life experiences, their status as specialists in spheres of expertise other than that of art performance, and their connection to particular social categories such as economic class, field of work, ethnicity, age, and (dis)ability. In the work of companies such as Rimini Protokoll these performers are referred to as both ‘protagonists’ and ‘experts of the everyday’. In her recent study of participatory art, Claire Bishop gives the label ‘delegated performance’ to the tendency to hire such people to perform on behalf of the artist (2012: 219). The currently prominent modes of staging real people* recall, modify or challenge a diverse range of traditions and genres, from realist, documentary, and Dadaist experiments to popular entertainment forms including gladiator fights, freak shows, and most prominently today, reality television.

Posted: 2015-01-29 More...
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