The Body in Research: Dance, Corporeality, and Somatic Intelligence
Special Themed Issue with Guest Editor Donna Mejia
Abstracts due February 28, 2018.
In what ways does the body, as a site of knowledge production, offer potential in performance research? What are the obstacles one encounters when engaging this body as a knowledge creator in performance research? In this special themed edition of PARtake, we will approach the body as a research object that presents a kind of knowledge distinct from intellectual processes, and one that enriches and connects with a more “cerebral” ontology. There are no shortcuts, however, to making this information legible in a scholarly form. Somatic intelligence, and the communication of what is gained from it, emerges only from a dedicated investment of time that moves far beyond instant gratification. To understand this intelligence, researchers must harness observation, feeling, sensing, and reading as tools towards knowledge creation. How might it be possible to extract such knowledge to learn what meaning the body has to express back to us? Especially as such excavation needs to be from, perhaps even despite, cultures of ableism, social filters, gender norms, trauma, illness, discomfort, and legal parameters of bodily expression. In many circles, the body’s role as central to both a rigorous methodology and research practice has been seen as problematic, and even as non-academic. We hope to push through these barriers to engage in fruitful discussions about the multiple ways embodiment, corporeality, and somatic intelligence introduces rigorous methodologies and theories to the field of performance as research.
We extend a wide-ranging invitation towards scholars, practitioners, and scholartists, to bravely challenge the dominant paradigms in much of academia that portray the body as an obstacle to intellectual development, an inconvenience subject to our whims, or a mechanical instrument that requires punitive control. With transnational fusion dance scholar, artist, and activist Donna Mejia at the helm as guest editor, we aim to investigate and celebrate the body as doorway and contributor to a rich, intellectual, artful life—one fortified by multiple intelligences.
We seek essays, video and multimedia documentation, and artist manifestos that engage with the following questions:
¥ In what ways does the body act as an object of knowledge creation in PAR work?
¥ What is the material relationship between the body, movement, and narrative in performance research?
¥ What is the relationship between aesthetics and visceral affect in embodied and corporal practice?
¥ How does the body act as archive, receptor, and transmitter of knowledge?
¥ What does gender function regarding the body in PAR practice?
¥ How does the body inhabit the in-between spaces—between performers and participants, artifacts and people, reality and action?
¥ How does disability (of any sort) get approached when considering performance? How do we address access to these sorts of works?
¥ How does language, and the untranslatability of languages and the language of the body impact each other? Impact performance? Research? How does translation operate in these in-between spaces?
¥ How can we articulate somatic intelligence within different modes of performance practice?
¥ What are the ethical questions one must engage with when dealing with embodied performance practices?
¥ In what ways do technologies either interrupt or augment embodied practices as a form of research?
¥ How does embodied research help destabilize cultural biases about performance as research?
¥ In what ways do bodies either enhance or detract from knowledge production when they are placed in a research frame?
¥ In what ways does the body “think” in performance?
¥ How does one’s interpretation of their own body impact the ways in which they see and document performance?
Please submit 250-word proposal abstracts of your project and a 100-word personal bio to the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 28, 2018.
Once we receive abstracts, we will contact authors by March 15 to accept proposals. Initial submissions are due April 15, 2018, with a planned publication timeline of late summer 2018.