Special Topics Conferences

Policies and Procedures for Special Topic Conference Proposals


Proposals for Special Topics conferences are submitted to the VP of Conferences for first review. Send your proposal to [email protected] with the subject line PROPOSAL FOR SPECIAL TOPICS CONFERENCE.

 The initial proposal should include: 

  • Call for Papers (CFP) with title, theme, dates, location and organizing committee
  • Preliminary budget of expense and income (including confirmed commitments of cash and space)
  • General MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) of division of labor so it is clear what DSA is providing and what the host institution is providing
  • Timeline of CFP postings—submission system, adjudication, notification, conference registration process
  • Local host details (facilities, accessibility, location)
  • Language Considerations
  • Programmatic Ideas, Speakers
  • Organizing Committee (DSA members) and Program Committee (DSA members) 
  • Accessibility Accommodations (What is available and what is beyond the capacity of the event?)

Once the completed proposal has been submitted to VP and been given initial feedback to make sure all is in order, it goes to Standing Committee on Conferences for review and approval. The SCoC might ask for revisions to the proposal before approving. Once the SCoC approves, it goes to the DSA Executive Committee, who then votes on it, and it becomes an official DSA Special Topics Conference.

The conference submitter must be a DSA member in good-standing. Members of your organizing committee and program committee must be/become DSA members in good-standing, as these people act as curators and gate-keepers for a DSA event. 

DSA membership for conference presenters/participants is negotiated as a part of the plan and budget.


Q: How far in advance do I need to propose my event?

A: At least one year in advance, as the DSA calendar is very busy and we can’t offer adequate support if our events are in competition with one another.

Q: How big is a special topics conference?

A: Size can vary significantly.  This is up to you and your location/programmatic needs.

Q: What kind of support can DSA provide?

A: DSA can provide support for publicity, submission/review, and registration.  Our website can host these events.  DSA can also offer mentorship for planning and implementation.

 Past/Upcoming Special Topics Events:

  • 2017: Dancing East Asia: Critical Choreographies and Their Corporeal Politics (University of Michigan – SDHS)
  • 2016: Contemporary Ballet: Exchanges, Connections and Directions (NYU’s Center for Ballet and the Arts/ Barnard College, Columbia University – SDHS)
  • 2015: Dance as Experience: Progressive Era Origins and Legacies (Baltimore, MD – SHDS)
  • 2013: Tactical Bodies: The Choreography of Non-Dancing Subjects (UCLA – CORD)
  • 2013: Sacre Celebrations: Revisiting, Reflecting, Revisioning (York University – SDHS)