Performnace and Performativity in Modern South Asia: An Interdiciplinary preconference
Madison, WI 
October 26-29, 2017

This preconference approaches ‘performance’ as both a rich object of analysis and a theoretical framework for the study of South Asian culture and praxis. In so doing, it demands a dedicated engagement with the diverse forms of performance in South Asia ¬– including but not limited to theatre, performance art, dance, music, and performativity. The use of performance as both a tool and an object of analysis is an often under-represented field within the discipline of South Asian Studies, and we seek in this conference to emphasize its importance to topics as diverse as government bureaucracy, feminist protest, and recuperative historiography. By invoking performance as a conceptual category, we illuminate the potential for performative modes of reading and analysis to generate new understandings of the articulations of caste, class, gender and sexuality within South Asia. Given the wide scope of this preconference, we hope to attract scholars and performers from a range of disciplines and sub-fields, uniting them around the question of what performance can do for the study of Modern South Asia.

Possible topics include:

• Feminist protest and performativity
• Neoliberal frameworks in performance
• Theater as historiography
• The relationship between performance, memory and the archive
• Performance and community: questions of ‘nation,’ ‘culture,’ and belonging
• Interculturalism/global networks and the circulation of performance
• Performance and the question of caste
• Performing queer identities.
• Dance, movement, and the circulation of affect
• Theater and dance in the diaspora

Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words and a bio of no more than 100 words by June 15, 2017 to Jisha Menon, Kat Frances Lieder, and Sharvari Sastry at Please also include any technical needs your presentation may have. We will do our best to accommodate.

This preconference is invested in approaching performance as a generative site that produces its own forms of embodied knowledges and discursive practices that can challenge, critique and extend the scope of academic scholarship. To this end, we invite enthusiastically invite performers to submit proposals for performances of no more than 30 minutes in length.

Keywords: performance, theater, dance, music, performativity, affect, audience, spectacle

Contact Info: 
Contact Sharvari Sastry at