TaPRA 2021, 6-10 Sept, online & co-hosted by Liverpool Hope University, Bodies and Performance CfP: Bodies in Motion: Margins, Intersections, and Vulnerability

Deadline: Friday 9 April 2021

Leticia Sabsay argues that usual meanings of the term vulnerability imply ‘the idea of unwanted permeability’(2016), where the permeable entity is rendered weak or exposed to injury. These meanings suggest a particular dialectic of movement, an invasive motion and an unwanted motion against a permeable entity. There is the possibility to rethink vulnerability. To paraphrase Sabsay, permeable bodies (as/of individual, collective, regulatory, matter, environments) need not be understood as passive, inactive, or victims of unwanted motion. Rather, vulnerable bodies are actively exposed – their fluidity, mobility and hybridity foregrounded.

Mobility and flexibility are typically framed as positive encounters with the world and modes of being that have potential to resist and find resistance within oppressive regimes. However, as Dwight Conquergood warns: ‘dominant powers deploy the imagery of flux and motion to stigmatize subordinate groups, e.g., “transients,” “floaters,” an “influx” of poor people, “transitional” neighborhoods, demographic “turnover,” etc.’ (Conquergood 1992b). Here flux and flexibility create conceptual spaces of fear, raising uncertainty against communities that do not adhere to common perceptions of existing or belonging within normative structures. It is here for Sabsay that language is often weaponised, with the term vulnerability being used to reinforce practices and ideologies of oppression and exclusion.

Speed and intensity also affect mobility and fluidity. As Barbara Bolt observes, ‘[f]or Heidegger, the drama of human existence is orientated around the possibilities that being-in-the-world throws up. […] From the moment of our birth […] we are thrown involuntarily towards our future’ (2011). What then might it mean to embrace the vulnerability of throwness – of bodies in motion throughout the world? What space is made for stillness or slowness as active embodied choices? What are the spatio-temporalities of how entities engage with the world (what Heidegger would refer to as Dasein Being)? How might borders, margins, and intersections be reconfigured and reframed? What remains open, contained, or captive, and for whom? If we rethink vulnerability as a challenge to dominant modes of knowledge, there is the possibility to reframe motion, to rethink stillness and slowness, to inhabit open and closed spaces differently, to queer the quotidian, and subvert orientation. If for Sara Ahmed ‘[b]odies take shape as they move through the world’ (2006), how might a queer phenomenology disorientate, disrupt, displace and dislodge the involuntary as an enactment of agency?

This call for papers invites responses (in the form of traditional papers, workshops, performative practices) that consider a critical reframing of the implication and involvement of bodies in relation to motionality, fluidity, vulnerability, marginality, and intersectionality. Possible themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Vulnerability in relation to bodies and bonds, and the precariousness of bodies at work or in the workplace
  • Wounded and wounding bodies
  • Bodies in danger, permeability and precarity
  • Captivity, enclosures, and restriction
  • Vulnerable bodies and weightiness of feelings: fear, elation, and stagnation
  • (Cyber)boundaries, (digital) communities, and the reconfiguration of identities
  • Speed and technology. Cyber and posthuman motions of change
  • (Re)positioning displaced bodies: the local and the global
  • Bodies in flux: Borders, transist, inclusions, exclusions and the space in between
  • Caravans: what Conquergood terms ‘a heterogenous ensemble of ideas and methods on the move
  • Carnivals and communities
  • Queer motion, kinesis, stillness, and orientation
  • Movement as resistance; movement in resistance; movement as opposition
  • Disorder, pollution, contamination, contagion and chaos
  • Being as a process and being as an entity


  • Ahmed, Sara. (2006) Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Bolt, Barbara. (2011) Heidegger Reframed. London: I. B. Tauris & Co.
  • Butler, Judith. (2004) Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso Books.
  • Conquergood, Dwight. (1995) Caravans – ‘Of Caravans and Carnivals: Performance Studies in Motion’ TDR, 39, 4, 137-141
  • Sabsay, Leticia. (2016) ‘Permeable bodies: vulnerability, affective powers, hegemony’, in Butler, Judith., Gambetti, Zeynep., and Sabsay, Leticia. (2016) (eds.)
  • Vulnerability in resistance. Durham: Duke University Press. Pp. 278-302.
The Bodies and Performance Working Group is convened by Alissa Clarke, Sarah Crews, Solomon Lennox and Victor Ladron de Guevara.

Process for submitting a proposal

Proposals must be submitted to bodiesandperf@tapra.org by 23.59 on 9th April 2021.

Please email all abstracts (no more than 300 words in length), an additional few sentences of biographical information and precise details of the audio-visual technology you will need to make your presentation.

Please include an optional 2nd choice of Working Group (this can also include the TaPRA Gallery, where appropriate). If we are unable to accept your proposal, we will then pass it on to your 2nd choice for consideration. Your proposal will not be less likely to be accepted by our Working Group if you indicate a 2nd choice.

Please note: You may only submit a proposal to one working group (or else the PaR Gallery) for this conference, proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered.  


We will inform you whether or not your proposal has been accepted as quickly as possible, and will offer brief summary feedback to all proposals that could not be accommodated. If we have passed your proposal on to your 2nd choice of Working Group, we will let you know this as well. Please note that putting together a full draft schedule for the conference is a complex process, and therefore your patience while this process is ongoing, and prompt responses to acceptances are much appreciated. Convenors will have completed their draft schedules by 17th May 2021.

TaPRA Conference 2021 Registration Prices

Full Price Early Bird: £65 + £35 (TaPRA membership) = £100

Concession Early Bird: £33 + £17 (TaPRA membership) = £50

Full Price Standard: £85 + £35 (TaPRA membership) = £120

Concession Standard: £43 + £17 (TaPRA membership) = £60

The registration costs above will pay for digital infrastructure and administrative support for the conference, alongside fees for the keynote speaker and artists contributing to the programme.

Please note: All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the event.

Concession definition:

Concession rates apply to all postgraduate researchers, unwaged, unaffiliated, and retired researchers, and staff on contracts of either less than .6FTE or else fixed for less than 12 months. These categories apply to the attendee’s circumstances on the first day of the conference.


There will be up to 10 bursaries available for postgraduate researchers and unaffiliated presenters/contingent faculty. These are highly competitive and so we would encourage everyone who is able to secure institutional support where possible. Each bursary includes a conference fee waiver and one year of TaPRA membership. There is also a separate discretionary fund towards access costs such as digital access, key materials, childcare and so forth. You must submit your application for a bursary at the same time as your proposal to the Working Group (within the same document as your abstract/bio) If applying for a bursary, please include the following:
  • Whether you are applying as a postgraduate researcher OR unaffiliated presenter/contingent faculty
  • A statement of up to 100 words explaining why you are applying for the bursary
  • An indication of any access needs for which you would like to apply to the discretionary fund: what they are and an indication of costs
Decisions about bursaries will be made by Friday 7th May and notifications will be issued by this group shortly after. The criteria for awarding bursaries are:
  1. Quality and strength of submitted abstract.
  2. Strategic case made by the WG conveners outlining the significance of the applicant’s contribution to the WG sessions (connection to advertised theme, methodological approach, expected outcomes).

Please note: only one proposal may be submitted for a TaPRA event. It is not permitted to submit multiple proposals or submit the same proposal to several Calls for Participation. All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the event; this includes presentations given by Skype or other media broadcast even where the presenter may not physically attend the event venue.

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