Call for Papers – Eco-citizenship, Sustainable Climate, and the Performance Art

Planet, people and practices

Climate action is at the heart of combating climate change because climate change is no longer a travesty. Between 31 October-13 November 2021, world leaders converged at the United Conference of the Parties (COPS26)—the supreme body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to “revisit and strengthen their 2030 emissions reduction targets, to align with the Paris temperature goal, and to do that by the end of this year”. At this global event, developed countries were urged to scale up climate finance, specifically to double finance for adaptation by 2025. Less than a year after this summit, Hurricane Ida stroke in the United States, and the world continued the gradual shrinking of the River Euphrates and the incessant forest burns, glacier melts, floods and heat waves in various geographical spaces on the African continent. As COPs 27 held in November 2022 in South Sinai, Egypt, environmental activists and scholars know that the agenda would stand on the shoulders of agendas of previous conventions. Resolutions at previous COPS-such as the 1995 Berlin conference, the Kyoto Protocol (1997) and the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, have always fallen short of their capacity to combat the depletion of the environment and create livable cities.

Could this be a result of the overemphasis on capital? The ongoing planetary crises has led to a critique of capital and a call to end the extraction-based economy, particularly from the Global South (Bassey, 2012). The resource-based system and over-reliance on finance continue to create more room to extract rather than build. The argument is that the continuous acquisition of capital is responsible for the complexity of the quest for world leaders to create liveable societies devoid of climate crises. Scholars such as Lisa Woynarski (2020) looked at bio-performativity as a direction toward rethinking man’s relationship with the environment and giving agency to non-human species. John Forster and Brett Clark (2016) analyze the global environmental crises as caused by capitalism, globalization and neoliberal practices and therefore advocate for ecological revolution driven by anti-capitalist methodologies. The contention here is that the focus on capital by climate change stakeholders (Forster and Clark 2012, Moore 2017), such as what holds sway in the COPs, has done little or nothing to create eco-citizens and sustain climate.

The performance art has navigated the space of anti-anthropocentric methodologies, thereby lending credence to adopting less humanistic systems to create eco-citizens, sustainable climate and livable communities. For instance, Downing Cless’ stage adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1991), and James Cameron’s film Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) are about embracing anti-capitalist and less-humanistic ideologies to combat climate change. In the same vein, many performing art organizations and advocacy groups are using the creative sector to take action against greenhouse gas emissions, hydro-degradation and sustaining climate. Organizations such as the Guardian of the River and Julie’s Bicycle exemplify this drive for an ecological turn. This recent advocacy for anti-anthropogenic approaches, a shift from humanistic perspectives to biocentric methodologies and practices in narratives within the performing arts, is worth exploring. An investigation of this shift can offer new perspectives in pluriverse way of seeing and relating with the environment (Chaudhuri 1994). Hence, this volume addresses the extent to which the performing art (cinema, theatre, literature, music, sculpture and painting) have become sites of discourse on eco-citizenship, eco-centred philosophy, epistemic and ontic beliefs, and practices.

Abstracts are welcome from within specific disciplines of the performing art, e.g., performance studies, theatre studies, history, literature, cultural studies, visual arts, film, dance, and from across disciplines. Themes in this volume could focus on but not limited to:

  • Decolonizing climate action methodologies
  • Eco-cinema and climate action
  • Theatre and eco-citizenship in the global south
  • The performing arts and climate change
  • Theatre and indigenous climate action
  • Politics of inclusion and exclusion of indigenous people
  • Participation and climate crises
  • Sustainable art practices
  • Eco-scenography and climate actions
  • Climate change and policies
  • Greening the performing art
  • Ecocriticism from page to stage; from page to screen

Send an abstract of 300 words and a 100-word bio to the editors– Dr. Taiwo Afolabi and Stephen Okpadah at on/before 30th March.

If accepted, the final papers will be due on 30th September 2023. Contributors are to use the MLA 7th Edition referencing style.

Works cited

  • Bassey, Nnimmo. (2012). To Cook a Continent: Destructive Extraction and the Climate Crisis in Africa. Cape Town: Pambazuka Press.
  • Chaudhuri, Una. (1994). There Must Be a Lot of Fish in that Lake: Toward an Ecological Theatre. Theatre Vol. 25 (1): 1-25.
  • Forster, John, and Clark, Brett. (2016). Marx’s Ecology and the Left. Monthly Review. Vol. 68 (2): 37-52.
  • Moore, Jason. (2017). The Capitalocene, Part I: on the nature and origins of our ecological crisis. The Journal of Peasant Studies.
  • Woynarski, Lisa. (2020). Ecodramaturgies: Theatre, Performance and Climate Change. Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.