CfP: Performance & Politics (GSA Seminar)

GSA 2020 Seminar Performance & Politics (applications due Jan 27)
German Studies Association Annual Conference
October 1-4, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Crystal City)

Seminar Conveners
K. Scott Baker, Associate Professor of German, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Sunka Simon, Professor of German, Film and Media Studies, Swarthmore College

Please consider proposing papers to the 2020 GSA seminar on Performance and Politics! Our CFP/Seminar description is listed below, and proposals must be submitted through the GSA portal by January 27:

Please contact Scott and/or Sunka with any questions!
K. Scott Baker:
Sunka Simon:

Seminar Description
This seminar will investigate the myriad intertwining of political activities and discourses in their historical contexts with acts of performance. Topics of investigation include not only the re-production of the political in artistic performances and medial representations, but also the performative as a constitutive act of political life. Performative acts thus need not be intentional or structured as such, but rather allow themselves to be interpreted as performances using a broad array of theories regarding actors, audiences, stagings, media, technologies, discursivity and materiality. Discussions will build on short position papers from each participant addressing the seminar topic through a specific “instance of performance.” These “instances” may be drawn from any German-language text, artefact or activity that the participant construes and articulates in the context of performance, and include theoretical approaches to performing the political. We seek proposals from a broad range of disciplines and perspectives, and encourage proposals from participants at all career stages, from graduate students to senior faculty.

Seminar Format: Seminar participants will be asked to submit a 5-7 page paper and a one-page abstract on their “instance of performance” three weeks prior to the conference. The conveners will organize the papers into three thematic clusters and circulate them in advance of the sessions to serve as the basis for discussion.

Goals and Procedures: This seminar hopes to expand on the interdisciplinary synergies created in the 2019 Performance seminar which brought together active research projects from graduate students, junior and senior faculty in Theater, German Studies, Film and Media Studies, Gender Studies, Literature and History. With the explicit shift to Politics, we envision 2020 participants from the Social Sciences and Humanities to tackle the myriad ways popular and political cultures are interconnected by performance and performative acts. Arguably, the role of performance of/on social media on the global stage is the key to understanding the rise of populism. Bringing together ongoing and new interdisciplinary forays into performance research will make this type of scholarly exchange more meaningful and more sustainable than a one-off event. We are aiming at a publication of selected essays in a special issue of, for example, German Politics and Society.

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