Performing Politics in the era of histrionic handshakes, ‘fake news,’ and ‘post-truth’

“Performing Politics in the era of histrionic handshakes, ‘fake news,’ and ‘post-truth’”
Organizers: Laura Levin and Stefanie Miller
Contact e-mail: Laura Levin ( and Stefanie Miller (

Call for proposals
Deadline: 4 January, 2019

This panel seeks new frameworks for understanding political performance in the era of histrionic handshakes, “fake news,” and “post-truth.” If politicians’ claims to truthfulness have historically depended upon “a studied antitheatricality, a disavowal of politics as performance” (Levin 2017), then do the performative strategies of “post-truth” politicians imply an embrace of theatricality? Or can these performances be read as part of a longer genealogy of mediatized political performance? What kinds of performance-based lenses might help us to understand what politicians, citizens, protestors, and other political actors are doing, how they are doing it, and to what effect(s)?

 Alongside these questions, we wish to investigate, in more concrete terms, what the magnified theatrical gestures of politicians actually produce on national and global stages. Are the recent antics of politicians meant as a distraction from actually doing political acts? Or do they in fact constitute alternate ways of doing politics, which in turn bring into being profound changes in political structures of feeling and ways of perceiving self, community, and nation? More urgently, how might the enactment of politics by minoritarian subjects, and by theatre and performance artists, help us to imagine performances of politics beyond the hyper-masculine and competitive displays of dominance?

Some possible approaches to this topic might include:

  • National, provincial, and municipal political performances
  • Online circulations of political performance
  • Performances of nationalism, national identity, transnationalism, and ‘postnationalism’
  • Politics of emotion/emotional politics
  • Performances of gender, race, and sexuality in politics
  • Artistic responses to political performance / culture jamming
  • Performance studies methodologies for reading political performances

Format: The session will feature 3-4 paper presentations in a panel format, ideally with a 30 lively minute discussion.

Please send 250-word abstracts and a brief bio to organizers Laura Levin ( and Stefanie Miller ( by 4 January 2019.

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