Workshop Performance Historiography: Examining Past Performances from a Present-day Perspective (12 & 13 September 2019)

The application deadline has passed and a selection of participants has been made. For any inquiries, please contact

With Henry Turner (Rutgers University) and Morag Josephine Grant (University of Edinburgh) (keynote speakers), Jane Hwang Degenhardt (University of Massachusetts Amherst), and Cornelis van der Haven (Ghent University).

Workshop for early career researchers on the theme of performance historiography,  organised by the interdisciplinary research groups THALIA (Ghent University and Free University of Brussels) and GEMS (Ghent University). The workshop aims to approach this theme from an interdisciplinary perspective, and to facilitate dialogue between young researchers and experts.

The workshop departs from the following: the existing body of literature on historical performance (1600-1900) is rather anecdotal and tends to focus on written sources rather than examining past performances as experiences, or as events that had a bodily or an emotional impact. In the workshop, we intend to explore how contemporary theory can help us accessing past performances, and understand their function in their historical time and space. Examples of such performances are theatrical performances, music performances, rituals, religious processions, or political demonstrations, but also broader notions performance are welcome to be discussed.

During the two days, Henry Turner, Jane Davidson and Morag Josephine Grant will each give a lecture in which they discuss performance historiography from their area of expertise. The rest of the time is designated for research presentations by the participants and discussion.

(Unfortunately, Jane Davidson will not be able to participate due to other obligations. Jane Hwang Degenhardt and Kornee van der Haven, will contribute to the discussions from their expertises in the field of historical performance and culture.)

Preliminary programme
Thursday, 12 September
10:00 – 10:30 arrival and welcome
10:30 – 11:30 lecture 1
11:30 – 12:30 discussion
12:30 – 13:30 lunch
13:30 – 14:30 lecture 2
14:30 – 15:30 discussion
15:30 – 16:45 coffee
15:45 – 18:00 presentations and discussion

Friday, 13 September
09:00 – 11:00 discussion
11:00 – 11:15 coffee
11:15 – 13:00 presentations and discussion
13:00 – 14:00 lunch
14:00 – 16:00 presentations and discussion
16:00 – 16:15 coffee
16:15 – 16:45 closing statements