CFP: Anthology/Edited collection on Disney theme parks and performance

We are seeking interested scholars to join an anthology/edited collection of essays focused on performance and Disney theme parks, tentatively titled Carousel of Performance: The Tourist as Actor in the Mouse’s Kingdom. Several authors have already contributed work to this collection in progress, and discussions have begun with an interested academic publisher.
Building on a legacy of pleasure gardens and World’s Fairs, the modern theme park draws millions of visitors a year to ride rides, purchase goods and commodities, enjoy carefully crafted vistas, and watch shows. Despite being one of the most heavily consumed forms of live entertainment in contemporary culture, the performance of theme parks is a widely understudied area. Tourist attractions are not simple entertainments, but have significant impacts on culture. Jane C. Desmond argues in Staging Tourism that “public display of bodies and their materiality… are profoundly important in structuring identity categories… And that, when commodified, these displays form the basis of hugely profitable tourism industries.” Given their significant market share the Disney Corporation’s theme parks exert the greatest influence on culture and invite for the closest study. This anthology seeks to examine the confluence of tourism, performance, and consumerism at the Disney theme parks, with specific attention paid to the presence, agency, and performance of park guests. How do Disney park audiences/guests perform and what roles do they play? Other themes emerging out of current essays that writers may wish to consider are:
• Nostalgia
• Theme parks as a form of immersive theatre
• Technology
• Utopia
• Bodies
Essays that will eventually be included in this collection should be between 7,000 and 9,000 words, and should be written in a rigorous but accessible fashion so that the volume will be of use to as wide a readership as possible, including undergraduates and lay readers. If you would like to contribute an article, please submit a 500 word abstract to the project’s co-editors, Jennifer Kokai ( and Tom Robson ( by Monday, January 22. We also invite interested parties to email us to discuss possible ideas.

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