Please find attached a CfP for a conference that Dr Lisa FitzGerald
(University of Nice) and I are organizing here at Queen’s University
Belfast on 3-5 July 2019. The title of the conference is *New Romantics:
Performing Ireland and Cosmopolitanism on the Anniversary of Human Rights*.
It is supported by Queen’s University Belfast and the French Irish Studies
GIS EIRE network (SOFEIR). The deadline for proposals is 1 May. Please feel
free to circulate this.
The conference will be held on 3-5 July in the year of the 230th
anniversary of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (26
August 1789). The conference asks in what ways a ‘Celtic Cosmopolitanism’
(Le Coadic, 2000; Wulff, 2008 and an ‘Irish Cosmopolitanism’ (Wulff, 2008;
Pearson, 2017), emerging from humanist Enlightenment and Romantic
traditions, inform human rights activism in contemporary theatre,
performance, literature and the arts. The conference will explore how
international contemporary frameworks of critical theory such as New
Materialism relate to human rights activism and cosmopolitanism in Irish
literature and performance within a wider European context and in what ways
they continue, critique, or challenge humanist moral philosophy and
– Professor Stephen Wilmer, Professor Emeritus of Drama (Trinity College
– Dr Drew Milne, Judith E. Wilson Reader in Poetics (University of
– Paula McFetridge, Artistic Director (Kabosh Theatre Company, Belfast)
The deadline for 200 words abstracts is 1 May 2019. Please Email your
abstract to – NewRomantics2019@gmail.com.
Much of modern Irish drama and performance has been concerned with
political and social issues related to human rights in Ireland and within a
wider European context, and there is a substantial body of contemporary
literature, theatre, performance and life art concerned with human rights
activism in Ireland. Since the Eighteenth Century Enlightenment which
conceived the concept of human rights, literature, drama and theatre have
become strongly associated with ideas of moral philosophy and cosmopolitan
humanism. The powerful role of drama in 18th century French and British
society led to theatres being a space of public performance for the
political and social reforms of the Enlightenment. Plays such as Oliver
Goldsmith’s *She Stoops to Conquer* (1773) and Diderot’s *Le Père de
Famille *(1758) explored the connections between class and wealth. During
the tumultuous events of the French revolution the dramatists and theatres
were profoundly engaged with revolutionary ideas around social reform.
British and Irish theatre also battled with the impact of socially
restrictive laws on class, religious and gender divisions in the Georgian
era (1714-1837). During the Enlightenment and Romantic period European
dramatists such as James Thompson; G.E. Lessing; Denis Diderot; R. B.
Sheridan; and Samuel Taylor Coleridge developed plays and dramaturgical
theories designed to create human empathy across cultural and religious
divisions. Their dramatizations of empathy were influenced in particular by
Scottish enlightenment concepts of moral sentiment and sympathy as well as
theories of the good passions. These ideas can also be read within the
context of a European-wide ‘Celtic’ literary romanticism. This conference
will examine a trend towards a ‘new romanticism’ with a growing
cosmopolitan dimension in contemporary literature, performance and live art
that explores Ireland’s role in Europe.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
Human Rights activism in the arts.
Conflict and peacebuilding.
Intercultural understanding, Transcultural exchange and cosmopolitan
Performativity, myth-making and the nation-state/Performing the
Environmental histories of migration as told through the arts.
Precarity in everyday life/State power and control in incidents such as
the evacuations of refugee camps/deportations of immigrants.
Identity politics and contested spaces/Borders/Border States/marginalised
The impact of climate change on human rights and non-human life forms.
Freedom of speech, thought, movement, religious expression – restrictive
versus liberal laws from the eighteenth century until now.
Comparative analysis with 18th century/Enlightenment political satire –
such as a comparative examination of the 1737 Licensing Act (Britain) and
The Chapelier Law of 1791 (France) or anti-Walpolean British satire and
Brexit and the rise of populism/alt right marches.
Sex and gender, reproductive and social rights.
Performance and the power of the public (and political)
gesture/Site-specific theatre/Ranciere’s Emancipated Spectator.
Social division in the theatre space – Impact of Boal, Schechner etc.
Material Memoirs (Alaimo) – the body as a site of environmental precarity
Border States/Contested Spaces – marginalised and peripheral communities.
With best wishes,
Eva Urban & Lisa FitzGerald
Dr Eva Urban-Devereux
Senior Research Fellow
The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and
Queen’s University Belfast