Extendend - Call for Projects and Papers - Graduate Student Conference 'Spielformen' Of the Authentic - Conceptions of Reality, Authenticity and Fact in Literature, Theatre and Art. UC CINCINNATI, Sept.20-21 2019

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Call for Papers and Projects

24th Annual FOCUS Graduate Student Conference at the University of Cincinnati

Department of German Studies

September 20. – 21., 2019


Spielformen of the Authentic –

Conceptions of Reality, Authenticity and Fact in Literature, Theatre and Art


Keynote Speech: Dr. Christoph Zeller, Vanderbilt University


Das dokumentarische Theater enthält sich jeder Erfindung, es übernimmt authentisches Material und gibt dies, Inhalt unverändert, in der Form bearbeitet, von der Bühne aus wieder.

Peter Weiss, „Notizen zum dokumentarischen Theater“, 1968


The past years have shown a vast variety of artistic practices in which the pre-/re-/establishment of factual events and social realities have once again re-claimed a major significance. Traceable throughout various ‘Spielarten’, the authentic/realistic/factual has found its way back into artistic practice and academic discussion – documentary and biographical theatre, theatre as tribunal, forensic aesthetics and its artistic specifications, the current realism debate with regard to German Theatre as well as practices of reenactment and the academic interest into all of these themes and issues are vivid examples. Even though none of these interlinked phenomena are inherently ‘new’ appearances (which becomes evident with the quote by Peter Weiss or the development of 19th century Realism as a literary movement), they seem to find themselves at a new advent.

However, this resurfacing invites numerous and intriguing questions, which we would like to examine in this year’s Focus Graduate Student Conference. We are broadly interested in terminological and conceptual problems, specific manifestations, genealogical approaches and general questions and potentials connected to the aforementioned themes.

Specific questions and topics can include, but are not limited to:

  • Terminological and conceptual definitions: delimitations of ‘real’ /’realism’/ ‘authenticity’/ ‘fact’/ ‘fiction’
  • Renegotiating and reinventing the past: critical perspectives on (historical) reenactment
  • Memory studies
  • Legal-theatrical productions: the theatre stage as tribunal and the intersection of juridical and theatrical practices in general
  • Documentary theatre and film: potentials and limitations
  • Developments and re-conceptualizations of genres and movements
  • The realism debate

Whereas we are anticipating and encouraging academic discussion fostered by conventional conference presentations, we would also like to encourage students to present creative works that fit the overall frame of the conference (literary projects, art, film, or the like). We strongly encourage submissions that engage with German-speaking contexts and works, but also welcome contributions from other disciplines.

Current Graduate Students are invited to submit abstracts or project descriptions (250-300 words in length), accompanied by a short bio, to Anna-Maria Senuysal and Mareike Lange at fogs.editor@gmail.com by Friday, June 14th, 2019.