Call for Papers: Upcoming 2025 Special Issues

CALL FOR PAPERS: Upcoming special issues on "Magic" (September 2025) and "The Transnational Erotic" (December 2025)


Special Issue for September 2025

“Magic”

Call for Papers

For this special issue on “Magic,” Theatre Journal invites submissions that consider magic as concept and practice, broadly construed, with a particular interest in how magic aligns with other terms like alchemy, transformation, trickery, prophecy, conjuring, and ceremony. Magical practices, phenomena, practitioners, and events are not often at the forefront of theatre, performance, and dance studies’ scholarship. Through categorization as, on the one hand, popular entertainment, and, on the other hand, a component of spiritual or ritual practice, magic has seemed beyond the scope of the concert and/or avant-garde traditions that have tended to dominate Eurocentric theatre history and theory. Yet, magic is also a common descriptor applied to the theatrical event by critics, spectators, and promoters alike, and a foundational assumption of what staged performance uniquely provides that can be traced to the oft-repeated claim that theatre requires us to suspend our disbelief. “Magic” is a historically contingent term nonetheless relevant to varying geographies and time periods; magic’s possible activation of imagination, transformation, and healing shares trans-geographic and cross-temporal cultural significance. Understanding whose performances are indexed as “magic,” and by whom, reveals continuities of magic’s availability as a term of imperialism alongside its ability to sustain individuals and communities.

Submissions might address magic and its technologies, affects, dramaturgies and sensations; magic’s connection to the performance of community roles like knowledge holding and ancestral memory; the use of “magic” to brand various performance practices and as a driver of performance’s economics; the myriad ways that magic is colonized, gendered, and racialized in performance history and theory; and critical approaches to various artists for whom magic is a core element of their practice. Overarching questions of the special issue include: How might we understand performance histories and theories via practices of magic considered commercial, vernacular, ritual, and/or experimental? How do performances of magic function as methods of organization, community-building, social formation, and political articulation? What alternatives to the limitations of empiricism can magic offer to theatre, performance, and dance studies as world-making endeavors?

This special issue will be edited by Theatre Journal coeditor Ariel Nereson. 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 submission, visit: https://jhuptheatre.org/theatre-journal/author-guidelines.

Article submissions (6,000-9,000 words) should reach us by December 1, 2024. If this deadline is not possible for you due to extenuating circumstances, please contact Ariel Nereson to inquire about a possible extension. She welcomes questions and inquiries at anereson@buffalo.edu.

The deadline for submissions to the online platform (500-2,000 words) is April 1, 2025. Online editor Tarryn Chun welcomes questions and inquiries regarding submissions to the online platform at tchun@nd.edu.

Submit via ScholarOne: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/theatrejournal.


 

Special Issue for December 2025

"The Transnational Erotic"

Call for Papers

This special issue, “The Transnational Erotic,” aims to challenge and refuse Western-centric understandings of sexuality, gender, and desire in the context of theatre, dance, and performance studies. Theatre Journal has cultivated a distinguished tradition of making theoretical and historiographical interventions vis-à-vis gender, sexuality, and performance; this issue aims to expand upon and complicate that tradition through an emphasis on diaspora, decolonization, and the Global South.

The phrase “transnational erotic” is meant to invoke and straddle burgeoning fields such as queer and transgender African studies, transnational feminism, and queer diasporic sexuality—that is, fields that share an investment in challenging Western epistemologies of gender and sexuality. We use the term transnational not to efface the significance of local and state formations of gendered and sexual subjectivities but rather to facilitate a “multinational and multilocational” approach that recognizes their entanglements with mobile capital, migrations, and border-crossing solidarities.[1] In a similar vein, the term “erotic,” which Sharon Patricia Holland succinctly defines in The Erotic Life of Racism as “the personal and political dimension of desire,” underscores the intimacies of sexuality, desire, and sociality.[2] It also pays homage to Audre Lorde’s canonical essay, “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power,” which refuses the racist and colonialist logics that insist upon the dissociation and containment of sexuality and desire. Lorde counters those logics with a conceptualization of a “lifeforce” that is diffuse, quotidian, and resistant as it seeps across “our language, our history, our dancing, our loving, our work, our lives.”[3] Her capacious theorization of the erotic, which has proved widely influential in diasporic queer sexuality studies, insists upon its potential for worldmaking and liberation.[4]

The fields of theatre, dance, and performance offer rich terrain for the exploration of the transnational erotic through their emphasis on (dis)embodiment, flesh, presence, difference, repetition, and multitemporality. Possible topics include (but are not by any means limited to):

mobile and migrant sexualities and feminisms; queer and transgender performance cultures in diasporic communities; colonialism and same-sex desire; the imperialism and/or glocalization of global human rights and NGO discourse; the erotics of global antiblackness; feminist, queer, and transgender historiographies in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America; tourism and desire; feminist, queer, and transgender activism and transnational solidarities. The journal welcomes explorations of the transnational erotic in a wide range of historical and geographical performance contexts as it seeks to center transnational, decolonial and postcolonial, diasporic, minoritarian, and Indigenous frameworks.

This special issue will be edited by Theatre Journal editor Laura Edmondson. 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 submission, visit: https://jhuptheatre.org/theatre-journal/author-guidelines

Article submissions (6,000-9,000 words) should reach us by February 1, 2025. If this deadline is not possible for you due to extenuating circumstances, please contact Laura Edmondson to inquire about a possible extension. She welcomes questions and inquiries at Laura.Edmondson@dartmouth.edu.

The deadline for submissions to the online platform (500-2,000 words) is June 1, 2025. Online editor Tarryn Chun welcomes questions and inquiries regarding submissions to the online platform at tchun@nd.edu.

Submit via ScholarOne: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/theatrejournal

 

 


[1] Inderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan, “Introduction: Transnational Feminist Practices and Questions of Postmodernity,” in Scattered Hegemonies: Postmodernity and Transnational Feminist Practices, ed. Inderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan (University of Minnesota Press 1994), 3. See also Grewal and Kaplan, “Global Identities: Theorizing Transnational Studies of Sexuality." GLQ 7, no. 4 (2001): 663-679.

[2] Sharon Patricia Holland, The Erotic Life of Racism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012), 9.

[3] Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde (Trumansburg, NY: Crossing Press, 1984), 55.

[4] See Lyndon K. Gill, Erotic Islands: Art and Activism in the Queer Caribbean (Durham: Duke University Press, 2018), 4-11, for a moving exploration of Lorde’s essay through the lens of Black queer diaspora studies.