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Call for Abstracts: Ancient Drama, New World

Call for Papers at the 2019 SCS Meeting in San Diego

Panel “Ancient Drama, New World”

Sponsored by the Committee for Ancient and Modern Performance


Anna Uhlig (                            Al Duncan (

University of California, Davis                                    The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

                                                                                   Research Fellow, University of the Free State

The performance of ancient drama, whether in updated stagings or more radically adapted variations, represents one of the most significant influences on contemporary views of the ancient world. As Helene Foley and others have shown, the “reimagining” of ancient drama in the New World has a long and fascinating history, and one that continues to be written. The recent flurry of scholarly work on the performance of ancient drama in the Americas attests to the range and complexity of new-world engagement with Greece and Rome. Landmark studies include Foley’s Reimagining Greek Tragedy on the American Stage (2012) and the Oxford Handbook of Greek Drama in the Americas (2015) among diverse other publications. In the years since the publication of these volumes, ancient drama has continued to demonstrate its ability to speak to a changing New World, whether in Harrison David Rivers’ And She Would Stand Like This (2017), a transgender version of Euripides’ Trojan Women, Bryan Doerries’ evolving “Theater of War” Productions (2009-present), or Elise Kermani’s juxtaposition of contemporary and ancient in Iphigenia: Book of Change (2016). In many ways, theater artists in the Americas are once again redefining our relationships with ancient Greek and Roman culture.

In light of the overall goal of the Sesquicentennial Program to celebrate the past and future of Classical Studies in the Americas, this panel will focus on the dynamic forms that ancient drama has taken in new-world performances. This rich and still-unfolding history provides a powerful window on how the performance of classical drama constitutes a vital channel through which the future of Classics has taken—and continues to take—shape. As theater has long been recognized as a bellwether within our discipline, a goal of this panel is to highlight emergent trends in new-world theater that may presage future turns in Classical Studies as a whole.

We invite submissions on any aspect of the performance of ancient drama in the Americas, but are especially eager for contributions that focus on the cultural or political immediacy of ancient drama as demonstrated in staged productions from the last decade or so. Possible areas of focus include, but are not limited to:

  • How does a synchronic approach facilitate our understanding of ancient drama within an interconnected world?
  • How does the shared history of colonialism and/or slavery in the Americas shape approaches to ancient drama?
  • What similarities/differences are found in the performance/adaptation of ancient drama in distinct linguistic communities of the Americas (e.g. Spanish, English, Portuguese, French)?
  • How have recent changes in social or economic conditions in the Americas found form in the performance/adaptation of ancient drama?
  • How are contentious issues of borders, identity, nationality, and culture reflected in the performance/adaptation of ancient drama in the Americas?
  • How are shifting discourses on gender, sexuality, and race making themselves felt in the performance/adaptation of ancient drama?

The session will conclude with a response to the papers by Helene Foley. 

Please send anonymous abstracts following SCS guidelines ( by email to Timothy Wutrich (, not to the panel organizers. Review of abstracts will begin 1 March 2018. The deadline for submission is 15 March 2018.

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