27 November 2014 / Call for Papers

Kingston Shakespeare Seminar – Call for Papers

Jan Kott Our Contemporary: Contexts, Legacies, New Perspectives
An international one-day conference

Thursday 19 February 2015, Rose Theatre, Kingston-upon-Thames.

On the hundredth anniversary of his birth, and half a century to the day after the English publication of Jan Kott’s Shakespeare Our Contemporary, this conference will bring together scholars, students, practitioners, reviewers, and members of the general public, to discuss the role of the Polish critic Jan Kott in Shakespeare and Theatre Studies, as well as his contribution to the intellectual life of the twentieth century. The event is part of a centenary celebration that includes evening performances of Songs of Lear, an acclaimed production by the Polish Song of the Goat Theatre, at the Battersea Arts Centre, London.

Proposals are invited for 20-min seminar papers. Possible topics include:

1. Jan Kott as academic critic. How has Shakespeare Our Contemporary shaped the development of Shakespeare criticism and Theatre Studies?
2. Kott and the art of the essay. What made Kott’s essays influential; and do we still need them?
3. Kott and ancient Greek drama. How has the critic influenced Classical Studies?
4. Kott and Existentialism. What was the importance of Kott’s work as a translator of Sartre?
5. Kott and the theatre of the absurd: the critic’s response to Beckett, Ionesco and Gombrowicz.
6. Kott and global theatre. What was the importance of the critic’s interest in Kabuki and Noh?
7. Kott’s and the anthropology of theatre. What was the extent of Kott’s interaction with Jerzy Grotowski, Tadeusz Kantor and Peter Brook?
8. Kott and Modernism. Can the critic be read as a Modernist writer?
9. Kott and religion. What were the critic’s views on Catholic doctrine on morality and sexuality, particularly in light of his writings on androgyny in Renaissance art and literature?
10. Kott’s politics. What were the critic’s reactions to Marxist and Post-Marxist political theory, and to their impact on Polish and international theatre and theatre theory?
11. Kott and Jewish ethnicity. What is the significance of the Shoah on Polish and world theatre?
12. Kott, Polish emigration, and émigré culture. How do exiled artists and intellectuals like the critic shape the societies in which they work?

How to submit papers
If you are interested in participating in ‘Jan Kott Our Contemporary’, please send a 200-word abstract with a 50-word CV. by December 5 2014 to Aneta Mancewicz and Richard Wilson:

Alternatively you may use this postal address:
Aneta Mancewicz and Richard Wilson
Kingston University
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Penrhyn Road
Kingston upon Thames
Surrey KT1 2EE

Speakers will be notified of acceptance by 8 December 2014.

There is no registration fee for ‘Jan Kott Our Contemporary’. The conference will be free and open to the general public. Tickets for the Song of the Goat Theatre production of Songs of Lear at the Battersea Arts Centre on February 20 and 21 2015 will be on sale at a special rate.

John Elsom (Kingston Shakespeare Seminar), Anna Godlewska (Polish Cultural Institute), Anna Gruszka (Polish Cultural Institute), Aneta Mancewicz (Kingston University), Aleksandra Sakowska (British Friends of the Gdansk Theatre Trust), Richard Wilson (Kingston University)