Výzva: Theatralia (October 2022): The Body as Archive

Call for proposals

Theatralia: Journal of Theatre Studies, vol. 25, no. 2, issue topic: “The Body as Archive” (October 2022)

Issue Editors: Martin Bernátek and Jitka Pavlišová (Department of Theatre and Film Studies, Palacký University Olomouc)

Proposal deadline: 31 October 2021


For more than a decade, the relationship between the body and the archive has been one of the most important resources for thinking about cultural techniques and their entanglement with memory, politics and public institutions. The arising questions and research challenges may, on the one hand, lead back to the seminal works of Rebecca Schneider (Performing Remains, 2011) and her reconsideration of the theatrical event, whose ontology extends beyond a strictly  non-reproducible presence. On the other hand, the transitory nature of performance emerges as a subject of inquiry, with tensions between presence and absence, and the “choreopolitics” as theorized by André Lepecki (“The Body as Archive”, 2010). The concept of ephemera has also been widely discussed in the field of Performance Studies in recent decades in regards to intensified mediatization of culture in general and theatre and performance in particular.

Both approaches similarly reconsider the traditional understanding of what the archive means, being part of a broad stream of cultural analysis that employs the concept of power as a means of the production of knowledge by Michel Foucault along with his notion of counter-memory. The relationship between corporeality and the experience of power and memory has also been widely discussed in queer studies (in the writings of José Esteban Muñoz), in Trauma Studies and in Holocaust Studies, and conceptualized for example in the philosophy of Giorgio Agamben (Remnants of Auschwitz, 1998).

Those issues have also been discussed in Theatre and Dance Studies especially in relation to the thinking concerning staging and re-presentation of history in performance, and by reflecting the practice of reenactments. Apart from Freddie Rokem's Performing History (2000), Marvin Carlson's The Haunted Stage (2001), several newer publications already demarcate the field of research (Theater als Zeitmaschine: Zur performativen Praxis des Reenactments, edited by Jens Roselt and Ulf Otto, 2012; Oxford Handbook of Dance and Reenactments, edited by Mark Franko, 20127; The Routledge Handbook of Reenactment Studies, edited by Vanessa Agnew, Jonathan Lamb and Juliane Tomann, 2019). Recently, the political dimension of corporeality and cultural performances in relation to memory and historical narratives has been examined, for example, by Dorota Sajewska (Necroperformance: Cultural Reconstructions of the War Body, 2019). Events such as the conference On Reenactment: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools (2020) may be seen as examples of the constitution of the specific field of Reenactment Studies.

The conceptual entanglement of the body and the archive opens up various modes of knowledge mediation beyond its textual and visual forms. For this Theatralia issue, we invite contributors to explore the textures of interconnected practices and concepts, and allow for a deeper understanding of the body as a hybrid medium in-between presence and absence. In contrast to the traditional notion of the archive as a disembodied and value-neutral organization of sources and documents, we encourage our contributors to focus on the relationship between corporeality and the archive, but also on the performative, cultural, and artistic practices of embodiment, mediation, reconstruction and re-presentation of “the past”. We are open to critical inquiries concerning the position of the body and its traces, including its displays in memory institutions such as museums of ethnography, in relation to the material constellations of memory that significantly shape the remembering and construction of the past through “human archives of culture”.

In this issue of Theatralia, we would like to discuss the “body as archive” in terms of both a device and an interface for transgression of binaries that segregate the present from the absent and the ephemeral from the reproduced in various constellations in culture. Through the notion of corporeality, we want to argue that the tactics of counter-memory, political protest and resistance to hegemonic historical narratives can be detected and analyzed. In a similar vein, body and corporeal practices can be understood as an important medium of the so-called memory industry and the instrumentalization of history in authoritarian politics.


We invite contributions in the form of essays for the peer-reviewed section of the journal (4 000‒7 000 words), as well as reports and reviews (1 000‒1 500 words), on the following suggested topics:

-   Body and corporeality as a medium of re-presenting the past;

-   Exclusion of corporeality out of archives and archival institutions;

-   Ideologies of archival institutions as ex post collectors;

-   Counter-archives and corporeality;

-   Archives and normativity: experimental, informal, queer; self-supporting archives in relation to corporeal techniques;

-   Performing of archival sources and performativisation of archival practices via performance-based practices;

-   Corporeality and profanation of hegemonic historical narratives;

-   Installation of the body in relation to collective memory and history;

-   Performativity and corporeal practices as curatorial and museological tactics.


Issue Schedule

Proposals 31 October 2021

First drafts of peer reviewed texts (along with abstract and biographical note)

31 December 2021

First drafts of non-reviewed texts 31 March 2022

Publication October 2022

All issue-related enquiries as well as submissions should be sent to the issue editors: martin.bernatek@upol.cz; jitka.pavlisova@upol.cz.

General guidelines for submission, formal requirements and citation style are available at the section for authors on the Theatralia website.


Theatralia is a peer reviewed journal of theatre and performance history and theory, issued by Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, and indexed in SCOPUS, EBSCO and ERIH Plus and listed in the Ulrich’s web Global Serials Directory.