Dynamics of Interweaving Performance Cultures

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Closing Conference of International Research Center "Interweaving Performance Cultures" from June 21 to 24, 2018, at Akademie der Künste Berlin

No 117/2018 from May 25, 2018

The international research center "Interweaving Performance Cultures" based at Freie Universität Berlin will conclude ten successful years of work with an international conference from June 21 to 24. The conference, which is being held in cooperation with the Akademie der Künste, will focus on the topics of knowledge generation and epistemology. Well-known scholars will discuss the ways in which interweaving processes between theater cultures produce knowledge, in particular, knowledge that is not only relevant for the theater, but also often carries over into other cultural contexts. The conference participants will discuss how the many different theatrical knowledge systems and theories can be investigated, promoted, and made fruitful for research through "epistemic interweaving." The conference will be opened on June 21 in the plenary hall of the Akademie der Künste on Pariser Platz with a lecture by the important literary scholar and cultural theorist Homi K. Bhabha, who will speak on "Dignity in Extremis. The Ethics and Epistemology of Displacement." All of the lectures will be given in English. The conference is public, and admission is free. Reservations are required due to space restrictions. The conference is being organized by the eminent theater studies scholar Erika Fischer-Lichte in her function as director of the research center.

Additional keynotes will be given by Argentinian literary critic Walter Mignolo and the Kenian writer and cultural studies scholar Ng’g? wa Thiong’o. The overarching topics of knowledge generation and epistemology will be addressed in various panels and workshops. For example, panelists will discuss whether and how interweaving between theater cultures generates knowledge. Another panel will examine how culturally divergent, theater-related knowledge systems and epistemologies can be grasped by researchers and methodically interwoven (Epistemologies of Performance Cultures). Another group of panelists will discuss why theatrical interweaving processes are marginalized or even completely neglected in historical narratives (Forgotten Futures). A panel on Fears of Interweaving will examine the foundations of resistance to cultural interweaving. Erika Fischer-Lichte is convinced that all the issues to be addressed at the conference are of topical urgency. She says, "All of the issues demand an analysis of the causes and consequences of cultural exploitation, devaluation, exoticization, and not least, of anything that is different."

One more time, the conference is bringing together many scholars who have been guests of the International Research Center during the past decade and whose research has played a major role and shaped the discussions. The conference aims to identify overarching topics and to provide an impetus for further international theater research.

The International Research Center "Interweaving Performance Cultures" was founded in 2008 as one of the first three Käte Hamburger Collegia at Freie Universität Berlin. It was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the Freiraum für die Geisteswissenschaften initiative in order to focus on the humanities, cultural studies, and social sciences. More than 120 visiting scholars from over 30 countries were able to devote themselves to a completely new field of research using individual case studies. The main questions were: How do people, traditions, and cultures meet in the theater? How do they interact, and how do they change through such encounters’ The board of directors is made up of Dr. h. c. Erika Fischer-Lichte, Gabriele Brandstetter, Dr. Christel Weiler, and Matthias Warstat.


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