ASAP/Journal cfps

Call for Papers: ASAP/Journal Special Issue

Performing to Reimagine: Enactment & Activism in 21st century Museums

Special Issue Editors: Aileen Robinson and Gwyneth Shanks

Essay Submission Deadline: *new deadline* May 1, 2023

Curators, artists, and theorists have increasingly been wrestling with demands to reimagine museums, from the logics governing what defines artistic representation to those structuring museum operations. If recent demands resonate with calls from past decades in their focus on trustees, labor equity, and representation, cultural workers like Yesomi Umolu and La Tanya S. Autry have also foregrounded the language of care and mutuality, centering the intellectual and activist labor of feminists of color, queer theorists, and decolonial thinkers for whom questions of subjectivity, value, and autonomy are key. This special issue focuses on the intersection between renewed and intensified critiques of cultural institutions particularly grounded in the body and a curatorial embrace of distinctly performance-based art practices.

We invite contributions from a range of disciplines and perspectives that link this so-called “performance turn” within global contemporary and modern art museums with muséal critiques in dialogue with racial capitalisms, postcolonial feminism, and transnational articulations of contemporary art. The issue aims to offer a critical analysis of global contemporary art, attentive to the impact that globalization, neo-colonialism, and decolonial thought is having on contemporary artists.

This special issue centers the body and performance as loci of political and epistemic knowledges, and is invested in forms of enactment, activist practices, and representational and political formations of the subject in contemporary art. We are particularly interested in contributions that attend to the issue’s themes through an engagement with the conditions and material impacts of an international contemporary art landscape, focused on the distinct ways economic, representational, and political contexts shape performance practice. This issue approaches the intersection of museums and performance as a site of and for social, political, historical, and aesthetic critiques that, when traced, help illuminate globalized and ongoing projects of neo-colonization, development, and reimagining.

We welcome contributions that:

  • Take up performance in all its interdisciplinary guises, including, but not limited to, dance, ritual, participatory event, performative installations, or sound;
  • Engage the issue themes through a focus on globalization, the diaspora, transnationalism, and/or other global critical approaches;
  • Consider performance as a heuristic for exploring the interstitial spaces or structures of museums, like restaurants or board governance charters;
  • Question how live works and analyses grounded in embodiment and corporeality can reveal the racialized, gendered, colonial, and/or economic structures of the contemporary art museum; and/or
  • Examine how art of the present might be reformed if its institutions are themselves remade.

As artists, staff, and visitors variously confront and rescript the museum’s potential, this special issue asks, ‘How can performance, as a complex and shifting analytic, bear witness to or render legible these transformations, disruptions, or impossibilities?’

Essays due by May 1, 2023. Please send queries or abstracts via email to the guest editors Aileen Robinson ( and Gwneth Shanks ( Completed articles should be submitted to the journal’s online submission site at:

Whereas the ASAP/Journal print platform features articles in traditional print format (text and image), the editors will consider essay submissions for the online journal platform in the form of visual, electronic, and musical text, images, and other forms of writing. Visit for more information about our online, open-access platform.

Full-length essay submissions of 6000-8000 words (including notes but excluding translations, which should accompany foreign language quotations) in Microsoft Word should be prepared in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style. All content in the journal is anonymously peer reviewed by at least two referees. If the contribution includes any materials (e.g., quotations that exceed fair use, illustrations, charts, other graphics) that have been taken from another source, the author must obtain written permission to reproduce them in print and electronic formats and assume all reprinting costs. Manuscripts in languages other than English are accepted for review but must be accompanied by a detailed summary in English (generally of 1,000–1,500 words) and must be translated into English if they are recommended for publication. ASAP/Journal does not consider already published work or work simultaneously under consideration by another publishing source. Authors’ names should not appear on manuscripts; when submitting manuscripts, authors should remove identifying information by clicking on “File”/”Properties” in Microsoft Word and removing identifying tags for the piece. Authors should not refer to themselves in the first person in the submitted text or notes if such references would identify them. For additional submission guidelines, please see:

Aileen Robison (editor) received her PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. She is Assistant Professor of Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University, and, prior to that, was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. She specializes in the history of optics and physics, magic performance and practice, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British theatrical performance and stagecraft, and Black diasporic performance cultures.

Gwyneth Shanks (editor) is an Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art and Performance at Colby College. Her work considers how performance can propose strategies for revealing and dismantling colonialist and racialized histories of representation in contemporary art. Her book manuscript, The Museum on the Move: Race, Coloniality, and a Transient Politics, examines contemporary artists whose work offers strategies for reimagining the contemporary art museum and dismantling colonial histories of representation. She held curatorial positions at the Walker Art Center and the Whitney Museum of American Art through the Independent Study Program. She received her PhD in Performance Studies from UCLA.