CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Performance Research – UK

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Performance Research Vol. 22, No. 1

Deadline date: March 11, 2016; City: the world; Performance Research

Performance Research Vol. 22, No. 1 (February 2017)
‘On Taste’‘
De gustibus non est disputandum’ (There is no disputing about taste)

Issue Editors: Joshua Abrams and Richard Gough

This issue asks contributors to feel free to dispute all matters of taste and related concepts.

Although frequently considered the ‘lowest’ of the senses, gustatory taste has long served not only as a marker in itself, but also as a crucial metaphor for the defining of aesthetic sense and sensibilities. Often linked to notions of class and levels of education, taste as a category of aesthetic philosophy reliant on notions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ negotiates between positions of subjectivity and universality. What does it mean to consider taste as a category of comparison and evaluation? Does a philosophical engagement with notions of taste necessitate an exploration of hierarchical value judgments and dismissal of elements or ideas judged ‘bad’ or distasteful? From Plato and Aristotle through Hume, Kant and Hegel, to Pierre Bourdieu, taste lies at the basis of much of the history of philosophy. This issue seeks to return the focus back to notions of gustatory taste as a means of understanding through and in performance contexts.

With particular regard to theatre and performance, notions of taste have been long embedded in theoretical understandings, literally within Asian theories such as the Sanskrit conceptions of rasa and bhava, which have been read in relation to ideas of flavour and taste, or Chinese notions of harmony, understood as he (和 – sometimes transliterated as ho) with reference to both music and cooking. What might other extensions of taste offer to understandings of different modes of performance? How might bodily practices from the notion of taste be integrated into other theatrical theories and understandings? How are notions of taste articulated and formulated in different cultures conveyed through aesthetics and poetics and applied to both culinary and performance arts?

Physical, or gustatory, taste is an embodied practice, necessarily understood in relation to other sensory practices, and indeed often as a combination of the remaining four physical senses. As an act of performance, to taste necessitates the destruction of that which is being tasted. It might be said in fact that taste ‘cannot be saved, recorded, [or] documented’. Scientific understandings of taste grapple with the limited palate of recognizable tastes to produce a full range – saltiness, sweetness, bitterness, sourness and umami, the last only recently fully accepted; it is through varied combinations, along with notions of nostalgia and recognition, that physical taste is both performed and performative. How, as well, might notions of aftertaste be conceived – that is to say not only taste literally perceived after eating, but also a beyond of taste?

Essays, provocations and contributions are invited with regard to all notions of the intersection of taste and performative practices, including, but not limited to:
Notions of Good and Bad Taste in relation to the gustatory
Taste and training
Representing taste
Nostalgia, taste and performance
Gustatory taste on stage
Embodiment, bodily sensation and taste
Multisensory practices and performance
Taste and the erotic
Troubled notions of authenticity, communities of taste and performance
Taste as a reflective practice
Histories of taste and performance
Class politics and performance in relation to issues of taste

All proposals, submissions and general enquiries should be sent direct to the Journal at:   

Issue-related enquiries should be directed to issue editor Joshua Abrams:

Proposals: 11 March 2016
First drafts: June 2016
Publication date: February 2017

General Guidelines for Submissions:
-Before submitting a proposal we encourage you to visit our website and familiarize yourself with the journal.
-Proposals will be accepted by e-mail (MS-Word or RTF). Proposals should not exceed one A4 side.
-Please include your surname in the file name of the document you send.
-If you intend to send images electronically, please contact the Journal first to arrange the best means of doing so.
-Submission of a proposal will be taken to imply that it presents original, unpublished work not under consideration for publication elsewhere.
-If your proposal is accepted, you will be invited to submit an article in first draft by the deadline indicated above. On the final acceptance of a completed article you will be asked to sign an author agreement in order for your work to be published in Performance Research.


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