Call For Papers | African Theatre 17

African Theatre 17: Contemporary Dance, Yvette Hutchison & Chukwuma Okoye (volume editors)

African Theatre 17: Contemporary Dance presages the series’ transition from a themed to a mixed themed and non-themed format. Thus while we are calling specifically for essays on contemporary dance in Africa, we will also be considering a few essays on African theatre more widely, to be included in a special section.

The main section on contemporary dance seeks to trace the diversity in the genres, production and circulation of contemporary African dance and physical theatre practices across the continent and in the diaspora, and the ways such practices function as inspiration for new contemporary forms more widely.

Recently the continent has witnessed an explosion in the production of diverse contemporary dance and physical theatre forms ranging from the conventional and experimental, to the radical and subversive. Many of these performances have moved beyond the conventional production and reception patterns of the live stage, to include film, television, the Internet, social media and digital mobile devices.

Dance studies has not engaged significantly with the diversity and vivacity of contemporary dance and physical theatre practices in Africa, but often remains engaged with largely conservative ethnographic or sociological investigations. Therefore, the diverse and eclectic emergent forms have not been analysed in terms of their aesthetics, the ways they chronicle and confront the challenges of living in the continent, and how they strive to come to terms with the plurality of cultural modes encountered in contemporary digital cultures.

So, as editors we are interested in articles that consider both the aesthetics of dance as an expressive art form, and its social significance for communities in and out of Africa - particularly in an increasingly global context - and what methodological issues this may raise for researchers writing in this area. We are also interested in studies that examine the ways in which African dance has influenced forms that have developed elsewhere – most notably in North America, Brazil and the UK. There is a growing sense that dance is a highly appropriate form for intercultural expression and engagement, and many new companies are emerging beyond the African continent to explore and communicate African, African-Caribbean and Brazilian experiences in wider contexts. We also solicit articles that examine the various forms of contemporary dance and dance-based contents circulated on the Internet, social media and digital devices. In this respect we are thinking of video streaming sites and Apps that enable the sharing of dance-based performances, such as Youtube, Vevo, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.   

We would also be interested in exploring the impact of forms that evolved in the global North, like break dancing and hip hop, which are returning to Africa and defining youth culture in new ways. Examples are break dancers from across Uganda, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo who performed in 2014 at the Batalo East Dance Fest in Uganda, and the very popular and versatile Nigerian group, Spirit of David, founded in 1997.

Areas of interest include, but are not limited to the following themes:

  • The relationship between physical theatre, dance and theatre
  • Dance and the Diaspora
  • Mediated dance
  • African interculturalism and pan-African dance
  • How festivals have affected the ways in which contemporary dance is developing in Africa, both as a form and in terms of its perceived functions

In addition, a few non-themed articles related to African Theatre are also solicited.

Short abstracts of no more than 250 words indicating interest should be submitted by 28 March, 2017.

We will respond to all submissions by end April, 2017.

Completed articles should be submitted for peer review by 30 August, 2017.

Revised articles should be submitted by 30 October, for final editing and submission to James Currey/Boydell & Brewer Ltd in December 2017 for publication in November 2018.

All submissions should be sent to both editors on the following addresses: and