Call for Articles and Essays

Guest Editor: Dr Youssef Yacoubi

This issue (#22, 2020) of Critical Stages/Scènes critiques will be dedicated to studies and attempts to “reorient” Arab theatre and performance in light of the radical transformations shaping the Middle East and North Africa both aesthetically and politically. The word “reorienting” in our title can be understood to mean several things: an attempt to move beyond the Orientalist and Orientalizing constructions and readings of Arab theatre and performance as dependent on the Western model of cultural expression. It can refer to the most recent reworkings of new methods of theatrical technique, theme and other forms of representation in light of multiple—both local and global exigencies— shaping, reshaping, making and unmaking Middle Eastern political and aesthetic geographies. For Arab theatre before or after the so-called Arab spring has been grounded in its cultural, psychological and political environments, and has restlessly carved out its specific modernistic representations. The issue examines Arab drama, dramaturgy, experimental theatre, plays, musical drama, poetry, storytelling in dramatic works etc. 

We particularly seek articles that examine comparative ways both within the diverse experiments of many Arab countries and in relation to western and non-western modes of theatrical expression and performance. Therefore, some of the key questions that our issue attempts to answer are:

  • Is it perceivable to re-imagine Arab theatre as a modern experiment in its own right?
  • To what extent can we speak of an Arab theatre shaping its own modernity (or post-modernity) and perhaps its own aesthetic destiny?
  • To what extent can such a theatre shape and be shaped by the process of democratizing/ liberating Arab spaces of political and artistic expressions?

This special issue aims to provide an opportunity for exploring various aspects of these and other questions pertaining to theatre and drama in any of the Arabic speaking countries or among Arab diaspora.

Contributors might offer theoretical, empirical, and/or historical accounts including, but not restricted to the following:

  • Relationship between modern and pre-modern Arabic drama.
  • Interdisciplinary approaches to Arab theatre and performance
  • Popular culture in Arab theatre
  • Politicized/ engaged Arab theatre
  • Responses and representations of the Arab spring in Arab theatre
  • Arab university theatre
  • Appropriation of pre-modern texts; internal “hybridity”/ Difference.
  • Modernism in Arab dramatic works/ theatre.

Length: Maximum 3.500 words
Language: English or French
Deadlines for proposals (300 words): February 1, 2020
Submissions in the form of completed articles should be sent by September 1, 2020
Publication date: December 2020
Style: MLA (8th edition) – Find the Guide online here. Alternatively, see here.


All submissions and inquiries should be sent to Dr Youssef Yacoubi (


Youssef Yacoubi is an Assistant Professor of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Director of the Arabic Studies Program, Co-director of Middle Eastern Studies Program at Seton Hall University. He has published articles in several journals such as Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, Comparative Studies Journal, and Culture, Theory and Critique. He is author of The Play of Reasons: the Sacred and the Profane in Salman Rushdie’s Fiction, Peter Lang 2012. He is editor of SCTIW journal.


Permissions: Critical Stages publishes writings that have not been previously published in English or French. Permission to reprint articles is granted with the requirement to include “First published in Critical Stages,” along with other citation information and the web address of the journal.

Photos: Photos (JPEG) and other types of illustrations are encouraged. The position of the photo should be designated in the article. All necessary permissions for images should be provided. These can be in the form of an e-mail from the company, or documentation that you have procured the images from an official website. Note: If the performance the author attended is other than the opening night, please include mention of the actual date in the text itself. General information regarding the production, however, should match the date recorded in national and international databases.

Photo Captions: Each photo of a performance needs a caption including title of the performance; names of playwright, director, company, venue, the date of the première, and photo credits.  Names of actors (clockwise from top left) can also be added.

Author Information: Author’s name, photo, e-mail address, and professional affiliation, and short profile should be given with your submission, separately from the article file. Only the article title should appear at the head of the article file.

Quick Style Sheet for Critical Stages/Scènes critiques for English and French language texts is available here.

Writers of English or French as a second language are encouraged to seek help of professional proofreaders before sending their submissions for consideration. 

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