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Understanding Theater through International Exchange

German Federal Funding Extended for International Research Center »Interweaving Performance Cultures« at Freie Universität Berlin

№ 252/2013 from Sep 03, 2013

The International Research Center »Interweaving Performance Cultures« at Freie Universität Berlin will be funded for another six years, as was announced by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). This federal funding enables the Center to invite outstanding international researchers as Fellows to investigate phenomena in which different cultures meet in and through performance. The current directors, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Erika Fischer-Lichte, Prof. Dr. Gabriele Brandstetter, and Dr. Christel Weiler, will soon be joined by Prof. Dr. Matthias Warstat.

Case studies conducted by the Center confirm the hypothesis that processes of interweaving do not lead to a homogenization of theater cultures, but instead give rise to new diversities. In contrast to the concept of “intercultural theater,” the researchers involved with the Center will continue to work on the key concept of “interweaving performance cultures.”

Researchers at the Center are particularly interested in drawing on the potential of cross-cultural studies in cases where processes of integration are inextricably linked to political issues such as immigration and identity politics. Various academic cultures are represented at the Center, and one of the main aims is to preserve a critical stance toward one’s own theory. A central issue continues to be an exploration of the extent to which it is possible to overcome paternalistic forms of exchange.

The Research Center was founded in 2008 as one of the currently ten Käte Hamburger Collegia for research in the humanities as part of the BMBF initiative “Freedom for Research in the Humanities.” According to the director, Erika Fischer-Lichte, the continued federal funding through 2020 will enhance Freie Universität Berlin as an international network university. Since 2008, the Center has hosted more than sixty Fellows from over twenty different countries.

The first volume of a planned series of books is scheduled to be published by Routledge in 2014. The title of the volume is Beyond Postcolonialism. The Politics of Interweaving Performance Cultures.

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