Interdisciplinary Crossroads: Cultural Performance in Transnational American Studies

CALL FOR PAPERS

The conference opens the DFG research network “Cultural Performance in Transnational American Studies,” which explores the potentials of an integration of Performance Studies approaches into the field of (transnational) American Studies. The network investigates how, which, and with what outcome issues that, in the wake of the transnational turn, have become central to the American Studies agenda can be addressed more adequately by the study of ‘cultural performances.’ Based on the idea of culture as a corporeal, communal, and dynamic event rather than a stable textual product, the individual projects arranged in three culturally and spatially specific clusters—the city, the nation, the globe—position the local particularities of cultural performance vis-à-vis the dynamics of global mobility. Firstly, they examine the role and impact of ‘cultural performances’ as particular acts of cultural expression (like daily rituals, festive occasions, or theatrical events) in transnational contact zones—sites in which cultures meet, grapple with each other, and inevitably negotiate questions of socio-political agency, representation, and power. Secondly, they develop and evaluate ‘cultural performance’ as a methodological approach for the study of transnational processes. In sum, the network scrutinizes the benefits and limitations of a deeper and more reflective integration of a Performance Studies approach into American Studies. By bringing together scholars of Performance and American Studies from the US, Europe, and Asia, it constitutes an exemplary site of transnational collaboration and establishes a dialogue across disciplinary boundaries.

The opening conference aims at establishing a framework for a Performance Studies approach in (transnational) American Studies via both theoretical/conceptual/methodological reflections and the discussion of specific case studies.

Confirmed keynote speakers are: Michael Bachmann (Theatre Studies, University of Glasgow); Ben Chappell (American Studies, University of Kansas); John Carlos Rowe (American Studies, University of Southern California). In addition to contributions by network participants and workshops papers, ‘Research Meets Practice’ sections will foster the exchange between academic scholars and experts/practitioners.

We invite papers

  •  that explore aspects that, in the wake of the transnational turn, have become central to the American Studies agenda—e.g. issues such as cultural encounters and contact zones, the (non-)porousness of national and cultural borders, or the perceived dichotomy of local or national particularities and global mobility—via an investigation of ‘cultural performances,’ i.e. diverse affirmative or disruptive cultural practices and events ranging from theater, musicals, pop concerts, sports events and commemorations to tourist performances, street parades, political spectacles, and historical reenactments etc.
  •  and/or papers that address conceptual/methodological questions such as: How can cultural performance be used as a tool for the analysis of both contemporary transnational processes and historical forms of global mobility? What role do performance-specific elements such as temporality, site, corporeality, audience, etc. play? What are methodological challenges, solutions, and limitations?

To submit a paper proposal, please send a short abstract (<300 words; pdf) and a short biographical sketch (300 words; pdf) including your email, address, and affiliation to Dr. Birgit M. Bauridl (U Regensburg) and Dr. Pia Wiegmink (U Mainz) at < culturalperformancenetwork@gmail.com >

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