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CFP: Southeast Asian Performance and Ecology

A new volume edited by Catherine Diamond, Dennis Gupa, and Kirstin Pauka will address the particular contributions made by Southeast Asian live performances of theatre, dance, puppetry, and performance art to further a healthy engagement with nature. Several volumes have recently discussed the region’s eco-literature: John Charles Ryan’s Ecocriticism in Southeast Asia, 2017; Chi Pham, Chitra Sankaran, and Gurpreet Kaur’s Ecologies in Southeast Asian Literatures, 2019; and Sankaran’s Women, Subalterns, and Ecologies in South and Southeast Asian Women’s Fiction, 2021. In addition, a focus on ecology in national literature is emerging, such as in Pham and Sankaran’s Revenge of Gaia, a Collection of Vietnamese Eco-Fiction, 2021. Film, both feature and documentary, dealing with environmental issues has been foregrounded at the Kuala Lumpur International Eco-Film Fest (KLEFF) founded in 2008, but there has been no sustained study on the role of live performances toward fostering protection of lands, waters, plants, and animals, and curtailing harmful practices of deforestation, poaching, damming, plastic rubbish dumping, to name just a few of the problems facing the region.

The SE Asia’s environment is fraught with two competing perspectives—that fact that protecting nature is of little political and economic concern among SE Asian countries with large impoverished populations and unstable structures of governance, and the prevalent view that a traditional cultural affinity with local nature still permeates societies despite evidence of nature’s depletion. Southeast Asian ecology and people’s relations to it are distinctly different from those in secular, modern, scientifically-driven post-Cartesian Europe and America. We wish to see how SE Asian contemporary performance deals with these challenges conceptually, aesthetically, and pedagogically and whether it offers a unique perspective to the global discussion.

We invite papers in English from 5,000-7,000 words, and specially encourage scholars and artists from the region to contribute. The areas of interest include but are not limited to:

  1. Performance as Environmental Advocacy, Community Activism, and Protest

  2. Interrelationships between Indigenous views and Modern performance

  3. The potential of Ritual in new Ecological Performances

  4. How Gender informs relations with Nature and how Nature informs the understanding of Gender

  5. Performance as Effective Pedagogy for eliciting behavioral change toward the natural environment

  6. Intercultural Collaborations between local, international, and cross-border artists

  7. Collaborations with foreign and local Environmental NGOs

  8. Configurations of Science and Culture in ecological performance

  9. Digital performance and the natural world

  10. The Impact of Climate Change on Performance

For questions please contact, Kirstin Pauka (, Dennis Gupa (, Catherine Diamond (

Images from Papermoon Puppet Theatre and Isodoro Emmanuel

Download CFP here:

Call for Papers
Download PDF • 608KB

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