Call for Contributions: “Dancing Under the Shadow of the Nation”

Due March 01, 2019

Call for Contributions: “Dancing Under the Shadow of the Nation”
Guest Editors: Arshiya Sethi & Tani Sebro

At a time when nationalism and nationalist resurgences stand centre stage in global politics, we as dance and performance scholars are provided with an opportunity to examine the ways in which the nation, whether in its presence, absence or even via the umbra and penumbra of its shadow, impacts movement aesthetics.We ask, who imagines the nation and its performances? How are performances producing new forms of knowledge while responding to the changing world, national issues, development discourses, identity politics and emerging governance? How does the nation project, reject and reformulate dance practices? Finally, we ask, how do practitioners and scholars of dance and performance theorize their work in relation to the nation and nationalism?

The diversity of nations and their transnational linkages that we hope to present in this collection would allow for a chance to examine how the nation weaves in dance and performance in its historicising narrative, in canon foundation, in relocations, repopulations, revalidations and gendering, in addition to how dance becomes an important project of the nation, controlling memories and populations – by linking itself to the spatiality of practices and the bodies of its practitioners. We are particularly interested in policy, patronage and political relations between the authority, or lack of it, of the nation and dancing bodies. Many theories of the nation locate its persistence via the interaction between text and capitalism. We seek to generate a conversation about how the nation also emerges and reproduces itself via the body, through performance and as an aesthetic practice.

The nation and its antecedent nationalism, inevitably intersects with politics, economics and aesthetics, especially in the case of postcolonial, indigenous and precarious spaces. The world continues to face the many challenges that affect transitional democracies, namely fragile economies, power struggles between majority and minority populations, competing elites within the nation, and the aggrandisement of a nation’s aesthetics, especially through soft power, at both local and global levels. Therefore, in this issue, we seek to foreground and contemplate the role of dance in establishing, reinforcing and at times challenging, the validity, values and narratives of the nation.

We seek contributions in the form of texts not to exceed 1500 words. These may be essays, short articles, focused reflections from practitioners, historical recollections, and analyses that address how people see and embody performance in relation to the nation.

Please forward inquiries and submissions to Tani Sebro ( and Arshiya Sethi ( In your initial email, please include a C.V. and an abstract of your proposed submission.

Deadline for proposal submission: 1st March, 2019.