Performing Germany 2023-24
School Of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 1
The seminar will be organized in the following blocks:
Block I: Theories of Representation and Performance/Performativity. Students will read excerpts from texts by Erika Fischer-Lichte and Judith Butler as an outline for the theoretical framework of the module. Students will identify differences between representation and performance and gain an understanding of how these ideas are linked to questions of (national) identity.
Block II: Performing a rising nation in the 19th century. With case studies (German associations and festivals – Schützenvereine, Turnvereine, for instance) students will identify main issues for the German nation-building process and the idea of a German public sphere in the 19th century and apply theoretical approaches from Block I.
Block III: Case study: Performing 19th century Germany in the 21st century. In this block students will apply knowledge and skills from Block I and Block II for a 21st century case study which has been re-imagined since 19th century (for instance, the annual Wagnerian Bayreuth festival). Students will identify the changing nature of the chosen event over the course of the centuries and its affect on German identity discourse.
Block IV: Case Study: German theater and the nation. In this block students explore German theater and its importance for German identity. Readings and lectures on historical background and excerpts of examples of German plays that deal with national issues (e.g. Kleist: “Hermannschlacht”) with main focus on artistic negotiating German identity in contemporary theater (e.g. Christoph Schlingensief "Deutschlandssuche 99", Yael Ronen: "Common Ground").
Block V: Popular culture and performing the German nation. In this block students will study contemporary performances of a German nation in popular culture (the Football World Championship in Germany 2006, for instance). Based on readings about changing attitudes towards patriotism and the German nation since 2000 students will discuss how popular mass performances contribute to political self-understanding.
In a final revision session students will demonstrate their understanding of theories of performance/performativity and national identity when transferring it to non-German examples – e.g. their own cultural background or from other languages of their degree.
- Analyse and critically engage with cultural performances of diverse medial character (theatre, festivals, newspapers, advertisement, music etc.).
- Critically discuss interrelations between popular culture and ideology, with particular focus on identity politics.
- Display mechanisms of nation building processes and linkages to performance/performativity of identity in a national context.
- Identify stages of German nation building and present crucial historical performances of the nation.
- Present and communicate complex argument in concise manner to a peer group.
- Present arguments in essays and written assignments, supported by cultural and historical evidence.
- Transfer knowledge and understanding from the German context to other national contexts.
- Understand national identity as a result of social, political, cultural, historical and economic negotiations and understand the importance of public sphere.
- Understand the central concepts of performance/performativity and representation. Identify differences of concepts.