Pre-organized Panels

44th Annual Comparative Drama Conference

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Pre-organized Panels – Call for Papers

Pre-organized Panels and Roundtables will also be considered. A pre-organized panel should include three papers. Each paper should be 15 minutes in length. Panel proposals should include (1) a copy of each panelist’s 250 word abstract with paper title, author’s name, institutional affiliation, status, postal address and email address at top left, and (2) a succinct, 50-word rationale for the grouping of the papers. The panel organizer should email the abstracts and rationale to by 3 November 2019 A pre-organized roundtable should include at least four participants. Roundtable proposals should include (1) a succinct, 50 word explanation of and rationale for the roundtable topic, (2) a timeline of the program, including time for audience interaction and Q & A, and (3) clear evidence of each participant’s expertise in the topic area. Do not send entire vitae. Include only evidence applicable to the roundtable topic. The panel or roundtable organizer should email the abstracts and rationale to by 3 November 2019.

If you would like to advertise a pre-organized panel on the CDC website, please send the panel title, organizer contact information, deadline, and description to immediately.

Calls for Pre-Organized Panel Participants

George Bernard Shaw

Sponsored by the International Shaw Society

These sessions welcome papers on any aspect of Shaw studies, including but not limited to : individual plays/characters, comparative treatment of plays by Shaw, Shaw and his contemporary playwrights, cultural aspects of Shaw’s works, and international Shaw play productions. Email 250-word abstracts to: Ellen Dolgin at: by 2 Nov. 2019.

David Henry Hwang

Sponsored Panel by the David Henry Hwang Society

While any paper on David Henry Hwang’s plays are welcome, we are interested in exploring the generation of Asian-American playwrights who have followed Hwang and their (dis)connection with Hwang’s legacy.

The David Henry Hwang Society was founded in 2016 at the Comparative Drama Conference with the goal of promoting scholarly examination of Hwang’s theatrical works. Since his first breakout play, FOB, in 1980, David Henry Hwang has proven the most significant and prolific Asian American playwright to date.  From the global phenomenon of M. Butterfly and more recent successes with Yellow Face and Chinglish, Hwang has staged stories of the Asian American experience and explored questions of race, culture, and identity.

Send your 250 words abstract to by October 31, 2019

The Representation of Death in American Drama and Theatre

Sponsored by ATDS

Topics may include but are not restricted to cultural, philosophical, sociological, or medical attitudes towards death and dying; the staging of death and dying; dramaturgical uses of death; characters associated with death; death as metaphor.

Please send 250-word abstracts to by Oct. 22, 2019.

Please note that panelists must be or become ATDS members. For more information on ATDS, or to join or renew, see

Disability in Dramatic Texts and Performance

Papers are sought for a special panel series on the subject of disability in dramatic texts and performance. We invite research utilizing Disability Studies in any dramatic period. Panels will showcase discussions on representation, image, symbolism, societal regulation or construction of disability, casting, and depictions of the disabled in playtexts and dramatic performance.

Papers should be 15 minutes in length, written for oral presentation, and accessible to a multi-disciplinary audience. Scholars and artists in all languages and literatures are invited to email a 250 word abstract in English to Mary Lutze at by 1 November 2019. The formation of the panel[s] will be contingent upon the number of submissions. With abstract submissions, please include paper title, author’s name, status (faculty, graduate student, other/scholar-at-large), institutional affiliation, and postal address at top left. Abstracts must present a clear argument and have an appropriate scope (usually two or fewer works) as well as an apparent engagement with Disability Studies.  Please send your abstract in .docx, .txt, or .rtf format.

Inquiries should be directed to Mary Lutze at

Dramatizing Fiction and the News on the Victorian Stage

Many theatrical melodramas in the Victorian period (1837-1901) were based on popular contemporary novels by the likes of Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, and Ellen Wood, some appearing with invented endings even before a novel’s serialization had concluded, resolutions which did not always meet with audience approval. Others took inspiration from widely reported news stories of rescues, crime and murder, and tragic love affairs, enacting the pathos of heroism and tragedy to a public already aware of factual and sensationalized narratives from the press, periodicals, or penny dreadfuls. These included such melodramas as Edward Stirling’s Grace Darling; or, The Wreck at Sea (1838), based on Grace Darling’s recent rescue of survivors from the wreck of Forfarshire off the Farne Islands, The String of Pearls; or, The Fiend of Fleet Street (1847) by George Dibdin Pitt that claimed to be based on the “actual” story of murderous barber Sweeney Todd, and Edmund Falconer’s Woman; or, Love Against the World, inspired by the Yelverton Marriage case (1861).

Papers focusing on certain or several melodramas within this period should consider how Victorian melodrama as a genre was uniquely able to interact with or respond to print genres, influence public opinion, reinforce long-standing moral perspectives against calls for change, or positively advocate for reform by pointing out injustices. Abstracts of no more than 250 words for a paper 15 minutes in length should include each panelist’s paper title, author’s name, institutional affiliation, status, postal address and email address at top left. Email to Lydia Craig at by the deadline.

“Rolling Thunder Revue”

Deadline: October 31, 2019

In summer of 2019 Netflix released the highly anticipated Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese. Scorsese takes footage shot before and during Dylan’s legendary concert tour, combines it with later interviews of principal figures (real and fake) involved with the 1975 shows, and adds in his own cinematic sleight-of-hand, producing a film which attempts to recapture the carnivalesque spirit of Dylan’s travelling revue.

I seek papers for a panel examining the dramatic dimensions of the Rolling Thunder Revue. Subjects might include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Debts to commedia dell’arte, mime, carnival, minstrelsy, magic shows, or vaudeville
  • Identity or celebrity as performance art
  • Performances of gender, race, ethnicity, class, nationality, or age
  • Dylan’s dramatic uses of makeup, wardrobe, and masks
  • Scorsese as magician, puppet master, or con man
  • RTR’s connection to American Bicentennial spectacles
  • Dramatic considerations of presence/absence or onstage/offstage
  • Applications of dramatic theory or acting techniques relevant to RTR
  • Comparative studies of RTR in relation to other dramatic texts or performances

Although there are many noteworthy features of RTR worth studying, presenters should keep in mind that conference attendees will consist primarily of theater scholars. Please pitch your proposal toward that audience.

Interested participants in the “Rolling Thunder Revue” panel should send abstracts of no more than 250 words [including name, paper title, institutional affiliation and rank (if applicable), and contact information] by October 31, 2019 to Graley Herren at Three papers of 15-minutes duration will eventually be included in this pre-organized panel. All applicants will receive an update in the status of their submissions by early November.

All papers presented at CDC 2020 are eligible for publication consideration in the annual book series Text & Presentation after being expanded into full-length research papers. For more information see the conference website:

Call for Papers: Black Comedy in Contemporary Theater

Deadline: October 31, 2019

Black comedy, as a genre, is under-theorized.  Black comedy received scholarly attention fifty years ago with the advent of such literary humorists as Kurt Vonnegut or Joseph Heller.  Interest has resurged in the twenty-first century in response to idiosyncratic cinematography of Quentin Tarantino or the Cohen Brothers, and in order to address the mordant satire of alternative media post-9/11. 

However, black comedy has yet to be fully explored in contemporary drama.  André Breton famously referred to black comedy as ‘the mortal enemy of sentimentality’ (1997: xix) in his 1940 collection, Anthologie de l’humour noir, indicating that its usefulness lies in its ability to examine and expose life’s cruelties from a candid, irreverent perspective.  The dynamic of the theater has the capacity to illustrate the symbolic violence inflicted on people through destructive relationships, flawed institutions or corrupt commercial media, and to expose how society willfully denies the existence of such suffering through the audience’s laughter.  It is time to consider how the theatrical stage can deploy black humor to amplify the darkness and cruelty of life.

This Call for Papers asks writers to consider any number of contemporary dramatists in their discussion of black comedy, such as (but not limited to!) John Guare, Arthur Kopit, Christopher Durang, Tracy Letts, Nicky Silver, and Paula Vogel.  Many playwrights embrace the ideological stance of the black humorist, but vary wildly in style and tone, and the panel hopes to represent this extensiveness.

Topics range from:

How black comedy evolved from yet differs from Theater of the Absurd

The effect of black comedy on audience reactions

Topics handled best or more frequently by black comedic authors

Limitations of the genre’s style or reception

Cultural, political, or social forces that elicit black comedy

Popularity or lack thereof of black comedic writers

Film and theater overlap in black comedy

Interested participants in “Black Comedy in Contemporary Theater” panel should send abstracts of approximately 250 words by October 31, 2019 to Miriam Chirico at  Three papers of 15-minuts duration will comprise this pre-organized panel at the Comparative Drama Conference in April.  All applicants will be notified of the status of their submissions by early November. 

All papers presented at the CDC 2020 are eligible to be considered for publication in the annual book series Text and Presentation, upon development into a full-length scholarly essay. For more information see the conference website:

Musicality in Contemporary Women Playwrights’ Dramaturgy

This panel will examine the particular ways contemporary women playwrights incorporate and/or rely upon music to advance plot, establish characters/mood, and/or foreground thematic messages for the audience.  Whether the music is used as accompaniment or an essential part of the text itself, the papers will address its unique contributions as subtext to the styles and ideological stances of the playwrights. Playwrights that come readily to mind include: D’Janet Sears, Paula Vogel, Lynn Nottage, Sonia Sanchez, Pam Gems, Caryl Churchill, and Ntozake Shange, but open to any playwright that contributes to this special genre.

 Abstracts to by 1 Nov.