The contemporary circus is taking up ever more space on the world stage, and new academic research is looking to examine its impulses and implications. This three-day conference explores questions of difference in contemporary circus. It asks how the mainstreaming of the field may be affecting circus’s historic status as a site for the celebration and exploitation of differences, from stagings of exceptional performing bodies to the display of “freakery.” Discussions will touch on gender, sexuality, disability, ethnicity, social class, and race.

Le cirque contemporain prend de l’envergure sur les scènes du monde, et de nouvelles recherches scientifiques cherchent à en examiner les pulsions et les implications. Ces rencontres axées sur “Le cirque et ses altérités” explore la problématique de ceux, et ce, qui se voient désignés comme différents ou autres, dans le cirque contemporain. Un thème qui touche au genre, à la sexualité, aux handicaps, à l’ethnicité, aux classes sociales, et à l’espèce.

Conference Schedule

Friday July 15

12:30-1:30 Lunch: Jarry 2e, 2590 Rue Jarry E, Montréal, H1Z 0A3
The table d’hôte menu costs 27.25$ CDN and requires pre-registration.

1:15-3:15 Roundtable: International Perspectives on Social Circus

Chair: Louis Patrick Leroux, Concordia University

Karine Lavoie, Cirque Hors Piste, Montréal

Amy Cohen, American Youth Circus Organization

Olga Lucia Sorzano, City University London
“Social Circus - the other of professional circus?”

Jessica Hentoff, Circus Harmony, St. Louis
“Teaching the art of life through circus education"”

Emmanuel Bouchud, Cirque du Soleil, Montréal

Shay Erlich, York University
“Liberations and Limitations: A Semi Auto-Ethnographical Exploration of a Disabled, Genderqueer’s Experiences in Circus Arts”

Jon Burtt, Macquarie University, Sydney
“Cirqiniq – social circus in the Artic”

4:30 – 7:00 Plenary session: Montreal Complètement Cirque Headquarters 1564 St. Denis, Montréal, H2X 3K3

Chairs: Charles Batson, Karen Fricker, L. Patrick Leroux,

Jennifer Miller, The Pratt Institute and Circus Amok
“Circus Amok: Queer Utopia”

Saturday July 16

Concordia University, Library Building (LB), 1400 Maisonneuve Blvd. W, Montréal, H3G 1M8

8:30-9:00 Registration: Room LB 619

9:00-10:30 Panel 1: Gender and Difference
Room LB 619, Chair: Karen Fricker

Alisan Funk, Concordia University
“Gender in Circus Education: The institutionalization of stereotype”

Marion Guyez, University of Toulouse-Jean Jaurès
“Are Acrobats ordinary heroes? Underman, by Olle Stradberg.”

Ante Ursic, University of California Davis
“69 Horsepower: Animality and Race in Odysseo by Cavalia”

Kristy Seymour, Griffith University
“Briefs: Gender bending in Australian Contemporary Circus”

10:30-10:50 Coffee
Room LB 619

10:50-12:20 Panel 2: Location/dislocation/globalization, Histories and Presences
Room LB 619

Illaria Bessone, University of Milan – University of Turin
“Circus practice, alternative or mainstream? An Italian case study”

Christabelle Sethna, University of Ottawa
“The Circus of the Afterlife: Colonial Circuits and the Commodification of Jumbo the Elephant”

Emma Stenström, Stockholm School of Economics
“The business of circus - or Business as the Other”

Elena Kreutsch, University of Vienna
“Circus mobilities/mobile others”

12:20 – 2:00 Lunch
English Department faculty lounge, 6th floor, Library Building

2:00 – 3:30 Panel 3: Reading Circus Bodies and Signs
Room LB 619, Chair: L. Patrick Leroux

Michael Eigtved, University of Copenhagen
“From Civilization to Regulation: Neander’s Airport as Showcase for the battle with civilized control”

Magali Sizorn, Université de Rouen
“Blanche Neige et la Femme à barbe (Snow White and the Bearded Lady)”

Franciska Trapp, University of Münster
“Narrating the others”

Marcos Nery, Université du Québec à Montréal
“Le corps-acrobate sur la scène interartistique (Theorizing the acrobat-body)”

3:30-4:00 Coffee
Room LB 619

4:00-5:00 Panel 4: Reading Others
Room LB 619, Chair: Charles Batson

Aastha Gandhi, independent scholar and artist, India
“Reading Performer and the Performative: Increasing presence of multiple racial bodies in Indian circus”

Katie Lavers, independent scholar and artist, Australia
“BLAKflip and Beyond”

6:00 – 8:00 Book Launch: Cirque Global: Québec’s Expanding Circus Boundaries, eds. Leroux and Batson
Librairie Port de Tête, 262 Av. Mont-Royal E, Montréal, H2T 1P6

Sunday July 17

Concordia University, Library Building (LB), 1400 Maisonneuve Blvd. W, Montréal, H3G 1M8

10:30-12:00 Contemporary Problematics of “freak” and queer
Room LB 619

Tina Carter,
“Is the 21st century disabled artiste un-freaking or re-freaking circus?”

David Fancy, Brock University
“ Disability, Circus, and Freakery”

Katie Lynn Gardner, University of Oxford
“Circus Aesthetics in Non-Circus Entertainments: Reinforcing the Queer and Freak of the Circus Body in Mainstream Opera Performance Practices ”

Kelly Richmond, McGill University
“ Burlesque in the Circus: Teasing Out Queer Performance ”

12:00 – 12:30 Closing discussion
Room LB 619

Click here to download the full conference program