Call for papers

Self-Censorship and Censorship: New Approaches

The editorial staff of Didaskalia and the Department of Theatre and Drama of the JU Faculty of Polish Studies are pleased to invite you to participate in a scientific conference on censorship.

January 2021, Faculty of Polish Studies, Jagiellonian University


Interest in the institution and mechanisms of censorship is still keen in today’s cultural research. As Jakub Dąbrowski writes in his book Cenzura w sztuce polskiej po 1989 roku (Censorship in Polish Art after 1989): “The disbanding of the GUKPPiW (Central Office for Control of the Press, Publications and Performances) in 1990 didn’t so much end the debate about the problem of restricting freedom of expression as actually start it.”

It turned out that there are other, often coexistent, instruments of censorship: economic, political, social, cultural, affective and psychological. The institutions and mechanisms of censorship are a historically variable phenomenon; different historical periods had different ways of censoring works of art. Many political entities continue to resort to censorship as a means of building their image, gaining popularity and blocking criticism. Then there are forms of structural censorship with an even wider scope of influence, which investigate the limits of the speakable within different cultures. The mechanisms of institutional censorship often use the impact of structural censorship understood in this way. It should also be emphasized that studies of censorship require interdisciplinary methodologies nowadays because the phenomenon has been diagnosed and analyzed in a broad spectrum of research, from psychoanalysis to traditional historiography, from affective studies to critiques of representation. The concept of censorship also returns in contemporary discussions of cultural wars as a particularly explosive and conflict-generating issue.

A relatively unexplored area is self-censorship, which is directly related to the above-mentioned mechanisms and impulses of censorship. In the case of theatre, instances of self-censorship are usually associated with the complex process of performance production and the workings of the institution, and the responsibility for them may be shared by many people: managers, directors, dramaturges, actors, administrative and technical personnel. Self-censorship in other arts has its own institutional backing, which may have to do with the financial aspect, the system of curatorial authority and the anticipation of audience reactions. Examination of these phenomena is difficult insofar as instances of self-censorship often remain concealed. In foregrounding self-censorship, we are aware that it cannot be explored without reference to a wide range of traditional mechanisms of censorship, i.e. institutional and economic pressures and the impact of moral norms. Looking for the broadest possible perspective on these mechanisms, we do not want to limit the focus to a single art form, era or culture. We are interested in new theoretical approaches, but also in the results of archival searches and the findings of field studies in the spirit of modern ethnography.

Please submit papers with a brief abstract by 31 Mai 2020 to