CFP for Routledge Companion to Performance and Medicine (Deadline for abstracts: Monday 15 February 2021)

Editors: Alex Mermikides, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, UK, & Gianna Bouchard, University of Birmingham, UK
We invite proposals for this edited collection, under contract with Routledge for publication in 2024, which address the proliferation of practices that bridge performance and medicine in the contemporary moment, and which come from different perspectives. This scope includes: medicine and illness as the subject of drama and plays; the performativity of illness and the medical encounter; the roles and choreographies of the clinic; the use of theatrical techniques, such as simulation and role-play, in medical training; and, modes of performance engaged in public health campaigns, health education projects and in health-related activism. The book will encompass some of these diverse practices and discourses that emerge at the interface between medicine and performance, with a particular emphasis on practices of performance. In other words, how medicine is experienced in and through performance, on the stage and in the everyday, and how performance is made in response to medicine, as exploration, resistance and critique. Medicine and performance are understood here as equally valid epistemologies and sets of practices that intersect and overlap in different ways: medicine can be a form of performance and performance can operate as a sort of medicine – for better or for worse. The book regards the conjunction of medical science and performance as particularly rich ground for interdisciplinarity, enabling debate and dialogue around prescient issues such as subjectivity, identity, embodiment, health and illness, often in the face of complex and troubling bio-ethical dilemmas raised by medical technologies and developments.
The book will be international in scope and focus mainly on the contemporary period, given the richness of the present time in relation to the subject. But it will give due attention to the complexity of the histories of this interface, particularly in order to contextualise the current state of play. It will be organised thematically to loosely follow a medical journey, from a patient’s symptoms and their lived experience or the performativity of illness, to diagnosis and the performance of medicine as the patient is medicalized, through to treatment and recuperation, the ethics and effects of these encounters and practices, and finally to various medical futures, in terms of experiments, limit cases and new horizons.
We also aim to include perspectives and contributors from beyond the field of theatre and performance studies, for example from medical sociology and ethnography, medical history, philosophers of biopower and biopolitics, medical practice and educators The format of contributions can include more traditional academic and artist essays (6000-words), alongside shorter case studies, artist’s pages and ‘snapshots’ of practice.

Indicative content might include:
 How illness is performed on stage and off
 The interface of performance and medicine at particular historical moments
 Ideas of hygiene, epidemic and contagion, medicalization as reflected in performance practices
 Practices of medicine, such as medical institutions, encounters, imaging, technologies, roles, drugs, transplants, care-bots, prosthetics and healing animals, as understood through performance.

 The performativity of biocitizenship, self-help/self-medicalization
 Social & public responses to illness, health and wellbeing through theatre and performance
 Theatre and the ethics of medical cure and healthcare
 Biomedical experiments in and through performance

Please submit an abstract of up to 400 words and a brief bio of 200 words by Monday 15 February 2021 to Alex Mermikides ( and Gianna Bouchard
( Complete first drafts will be due in the summer of 2021, with further editorial processes to be decided. We would be happy to discuss the scope and aims of the project in more detail prior to submission of an abstract.

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