See below for our upcoming call for papers for our September 2023 issue and our 75th Anniversary issue.


Special Issue for Sep 2023

"Refugee Processing"

Call for Papers

"in the crucible of refugee crisis, performative behaviors intensify"[1]


"A solitude born in/with the multitude is a solitude that remains potentially populous---utterly singular and yet collective, always crowded with other solitudes"[2]


If we follow Dwight Conquergood’s formulation in the first epigraph, theatre and performance studies are crucial to understanding the category of the refugee. Conquergood offered this conclusion based on his fieldwork in southeast Asia during what Trinh Minh-ha has called "the decade of refugees and the homeless masses," but it obtains in other places and times.[3] In this regard, we might elaborate Hannah Arendt’s conclusion that the refugee defined an era in the wake of the scalar increase of such people throughout post-WWI Europe. Picking up her observations, Giorgio Agamben argued further that Arendt envisioned a new historical consciousness because the end of the modern nation-state involves the dissipation of the rights of man ostensibly enshrined in its spirit. Refugees expose and throw into crisis fictions of sovereignty. Such ideas easily extend to the current historical moment and may also provide new ways of perceiving the past. This special issue of Theatre Journal engages these theories through the lens of refugee processing.


Refugee processing calls attention to the material and imaginative constructions of the refugee by different forces. These forces include nation-state governments, NGOs, the UN, and other institutions. Such institutional power been well described in performance studies, producing what Alison Jeffers has called bureaucratic performance of which the refugee determination process is one central element that, for example, Caroline Wake’s writing has elaborated. The potential overlapping jurisdiction of various bodies of governance also result in the refusal of people, what Emma Cox has described as "Australian noncitizenship" in a specific material context.[4] Certainly the adaptation and translation of refugee experiences to the stage and other performance venues also involves a number of artistic processes that might be productively elaborated.


Beyond the institutional determinants of refugeeism, there remain issues of loss memory, and representation that speak to the difficulties of individual psychic and material adaptation to displacement. The second epigraph from Trinh speaks to the subjective experience of the refugee and the epistemological and ontological questions it raises. Her musings query the refugee’s status in part by demonstrating and theorizing simultaneously the forms that would attempt to hold such experiences.


This issue seeks to deepen the conversation in all registers and to create further dialogues with the body of scholarship in critical refugee studies.This special issue will be edited by Theatre Journal editor Sean Metzger. We will consider both full-length essays for the print edition (6,000–9,000 words), as well as proposals for short provocations, video and/or photo essays, and other creative, multimedia material for our online platform (500–2,000 words). For information about submissions, visit Submissions for both the print journal and the online platform should reach us by no later than December 1, 2022.


Submit via ScholarOne:

Feel free to contact the editors with questions or inquiries: Sean Metzger, editor, at smetzger@tft.ucla.


[1] Dwight Conquergood, "Health Theatre in a Hmong Refugee Camp: Performance, Communication, and Culture" TDR 32.3 (1988), 180.

[2] Trinh T. Minh-ha, Elsewhere, Within Here: Immigration, Refugeeism and the Boundary Event (New York: Routledge, 2011), 50.

[3] Ibid, 45.

[4] See, respectively, Alison Jeffers, Refugees, Theatre and Crisis: Performing Global Identities; Caroline Wake, “Between Repetition and Oblivion: Performance, Testimony, and Ontology in the Refugee Determination Process”  Text and Performance Quarterly 33.4 (2013), 326-343; Emma Cox, Performing Noncitizenship: Asylum Seekers in Australian Theatre, Film and Activism (New York: Anthem Press, 2015).



Call for Papers

Special Issue for December 2023: A Theatre Journal Anniversary 

We are delighted to announce that we will mark the 75th volume of Theater Journal with our Dec 2023 issue. To commemorate this event, Theatre Journal calls for short essays of 3000-5000 words that explore the impact of key articles or special issues published over the life of the journal. Anniversary issues often aspire to speak to the past, present, and future of a discipline; in that spirit, we encourage authors to use the journal as a point of departure for thinking through their hopes, desires, and generative critiques regarding the field of theatre and performance studies. What might the journal look like in another 75 years?

To help prompt some reflections about the journal’s past and present, below are the following lists:

  1. Top 30 most-cited articles that have appeared in the journal, based on Google Scholar and Web of Science.
  2. The top 20 articles that have received the most “hits” online, according to John Hopkins University Press.
  3. A list of special issues dating back to the earliest years of the journal.

Regarding the first two lists, we fully recognize that search engines and algorithms are hardly neutral arbiters regarding an article’s significance, impact, and originality. We provide these lists simply in the interests of generating ideas and conversation.

In honor of the occasion, this issue will be co-edited by Sean Metzger and Laura Edmondson. As always, we welcome inquiries regarding potential submissions and proposals for short provocations, video and/or photo essays, and other creative, multimedia material for our on-line platform (500-2,000 words). For submission guidelines, visit:


Submissions for the print journal (3,000-5,000 words) and for the online platform (500-2,000) words) should reach us no later than February 1, 2023.


Submit via ScholarOne:

Feel free to contact the editors with questions or inquiries:

Sean Metzger, Editor at

Laura Edmondson, Co-Editor at

Carla Neuss, Online Editor at