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Theater Studies/Political Theory

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Organizer: Martin Harries

Co-Organizer: Nicholas Ridout

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Much of the time theatre people who say they are thinking about politics are really thinking about social issues. And for much of the same time political theorists who appear to be talking about theatre are not talking about theatre as such, but deploying some idealized form of theater (e.g., the City Dionysia) as a metaphor (for representation, community, whatever). The aim of this seminar is to explore alternatives to these two evasions, perhaps by thinking about what theory means in both these cases. How can theater think politics? Might political theory have uses for actually existing theater rather than theater as abstraction?
We are open to many possible approaches. Topics might include:

Theater’s role in existing political theory or, why is everyone talking about Hannah Arendt?
Theater neglected by political theory or, when will political theory get over Athens?
Arguments for additions to the canon of political theory in theater studies or, what about political theory that doesn't think the demos lives in a polis in Europe?
Critiques of political theory in theater studies, either explicit or implicit
Case studies of political theater, either explicit or implicit
Critiques of theater and theater studies for their negligence as regards political thought and action

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