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Call for Proposals: On Diffraction

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Call for Proposals: On Diffraction



Volume 25, Issue 5 – On Diffraction

‘On Diffraction’ invites articles that explore the concept of ‘diffraction’ as postulated by Donna Haraway (1994) and Karen Barad (2007), among others: not only is diffraction a critical methodology by which to examine ‘the processes of difference differing’ (van der Tuin 2014), but also an everyday performance of light (sound and water)—with profound ontological implications, as discussed by quantum physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg in the early part of the twentieth century (Barad 2007). The issue will consider how diffraction might help to radically re-imagine methods, aesthetics and critical approaches to performance and performance studies.

Working with diffraction as a mode of critical enquiry, Kathrin Thiele asks:


How to live a world of difference(s), a world in/as ongoing differentiation, in such ways that the outcome is not ever more separation and antagonism, exclusion and the fear of others, but so that new senses of commonality are envisioned? (Thiele 2014: 202)

Such questions and calls for new engagements with how the ways in which differences are made can help to re-imagine ontologies and epistemologies for ‘urgent times’ (Haraway 2016). Whereas concepts of reflection and reflexivity are arguably prone to creating a hall of mirrors inside which concepts of difference unpack mimetic historicities, feminist new materialist scholar Karen Barad suggests that ‘[d]iffraction is not merely about differences, and certainly not differences in any absolute sense, but about the entangled nature of differences that matter… Diffraction is a material practice for making a difference, for topologically reconfiguring connections’ (Barad 2007: 381). The implicit performativity of this proposition enlists artistic and scholarly responses into what are nothing less than vital matters: How, in the twenty-first century, can performances and performativities of diffraction be more fully considered in ways that truly matter in and for troubling times?

‘On Diffraction’ invites articles, artists’ pages and viewpoints that explore the varied concept of ‘diffraction’. It invites contributors who wish to consider how diffraction might help to radically re-imagine methods, aesthetics, response-abilities and critical approaches to performance and performance studies.


So far, although posthuman and new materialist theories have begun to sound across various conceptual playing-fields and educational landscapes, strikingly less attention has been paid to how these might affect the development of performance and performance studies. How might new considerations of posthuman and new materialist concepts of diffraction become part of the way we envision, create and practice in the twenty-first century?

The issue invites articles in relation to (but not limited to) themes such as:


·         Performativities of difference

·         Diffracting time/space/matter

·         Decolonial diffractions of performance studies

·         Non-human and ecological performances

·         Diffracting the human/digital

·         Performance as Research, post-qualitative research and diffraction

·         Light, dark, shadow and spectrum in theatre

·         Waves, water, ripples and surfaces

·         New Materialism and performance

·         Apparatuses and the performativity of diffraction

·         Marks on bodies

·         Response-able performance

·         Patterns, fractals and rotational symmetries

·         Performativity, measurement and ontology

·         Colours, lights and tropes of seeing for diffractive performance making

·         Sound waves, light waves and wavy waters

·         Photons, electrons and the performance of atoms

·         Quantum ontologies in and for performance

·         Diffracting methodologies in/for performance studies

·         Diffracting the conservatoire

·         Diffracting performance and science

·         Diffracting ethics and response-able performance

·         The art of queer science/The science of queer art


These examples are only indicative, and we welcome any other suggestions. The issue invites articles (from 4,000 to 6,000 words), shorter interventions, manifestos, reviews and artist pages (the scope of which is to be agreed with the editor).



  • Barad, Karen (2007) Meeting the Universe Halfway, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
  • Haraway, Donna J. (1994) ‘A game of cat’s cradle: Science studies, feminist theory, cultural studies’, Configurations 2(1): 59–71.
  • Haraway, Donna J. (2016) Staying with the Trouble: Making kin in the Chthulucene, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
  • Thiele, Kathrin (2014) ‘Ethosof diffraction: New paradigms for a (post)humanist ethics’, Parallax 20(3): 202–16.
  • van der Tuin, Iris (2014) ‘Diffraction as a methodology for feminist onto-epistemology: On encountering Chantal Chawaf and posthuman Interpellation’, Parallax 20(3): 231–44.



  • Proposals: 4 November 2019
  • First drafts: February 2020
  • Final drafts: April 2020
  • Publication: July/August 2020


Issue contacts:

All proposals, submissions and general enquiries should be sent direct to Performance Research at: info@performance-research.org


Issue-related enquiries should be directed to the issue editor:

Annouchka Bayley—annouchka.bayley@rca.ac.uk


General Guidelines for Submissions:

• Before submitting a proposal, we encourage you to visit our website (www.performance-research.org ) and familiarize yourself with the journal.

• Proposals will be accepted by email (Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format (RTF)). Proposals should not exceed one A4 side.

• Please include your surname in the file name of the document you send.

• Please include the issue title and issue number in the subject line of your email.

• Submission of images and other visual material is welcome provided that all attachments do not exceed 5 MB, and there is a maximum of five images.

• 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.