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Opening Conference: Cultural Performance in Transnational American Studies


"Interdisciplinary Crossroads:

Performance Studies in Transnational American Studies"

23-25 July 2015


Opening Conference DFG Research Network (DFG # BA 3567/4-1)

"Cultural Performance in Transnational American Studies"


Conference Organization:

Dr. Birgit M. Bauridl (UR), Dr. Pia Wiegmink (U Mainz) 


There is no registration fee, we do, however, ask participants to register via email to culturalperformancenetwork@gmail.com by 19 June 2015. Please use "Registration" as a subject matter  and include your full name, contact information, and institutional affiliation. Speakers and chairs do not need to register.

Call for Papers - Closed

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 > by 30 March 2015.



Preliminary Conference Program

Thursday, 23 July 2015

14.00-15.30 Grad-Student Roundtable with John Carlos Rowe (in cooperation with Regensburg European American Forum REAF)

16:30-17:00 Conference Registration

17:00-18:30 Conference Opening


Birgit M. Bauridl, Pia Wiegmink, DFG Network Chairs
Udo Hebel, President, University of Regensburg
Jochen Mecke, Dean, Fakultät für Sprach-, Literatur- und 
     Kulturwissenschaften, University of Regensburg

Opening Keynote Lecture

Chair: Birgit M. Bauridl (University of Regensburg)

John Carlos Rowe (University of Southern California): “Decolonial Performer: Craig Santos Perez as Poet, Activist, Scholar, Teacher, and Blogger” 


Friday, 24 July 2015

9:30-10:30 Keynote Lecture

Chair: Pia Wiegmink (JGU Mainz)

Michael Bachmann (University of Glasgow): “Playing Indian, Acting American: Transnationalism and the Melodramatic Imagination”

10:30-11:00 Coffee Break

11:00-13:00 Panel 1

Chair: Katrin Horn (University of Erlangen)

Ilka Saal (University of Erfurt): “Slavery and Theatricality: Kara Walker's Marvelous Sugar Baby”

Leonard Schmieding (Georgetown University): "Ethnic Performances in San Francisco German Restaurants, 1906-1936"

Frederike Offizier (University of Potsdam): “Playing (with the) Future: Biology and Preemptive Performativity”

Martina Koegeler-Abdi (University of Copenhagen): “Miss Little Egypt goes to America - Auto-Orientalism, Harem Stereotypes and Cultural Performance around 1900”

13:00-14:30 Lunch Break

14:30–15:30 Talkshop

Ursula Regener (University of Regensburg)
Thomas Spitzer, Artist, Performer, Author (Regensburg)
Florian Weinzierl (University of Regensburg)
Pia Wiegmink, Birgit Bauridl, Nanne Buurman (DFG-Network)

15:30-16:00 Coffee Break

16:00-18:30 Panel 2

Chair: Susanne Leikam (University of Regensburg)

Leopold Lippert (University of Salzburg): “The Crossroads of Transnationalism: Surrogation, Haunting, and the Modes of Efficient Field Performance”

Katharina Vester (American University): “Epic (and not-so Epic) Meal Times: YouTube Cooking Shows as Performances of Gender Resistance”

Katrin Horn (University of Erlangen): “Global Stars' Local Performances – The Pop Concert as Commodity, Community and Contact Zone”

Christof Decker (LMU Munich): “Transnational Laughter: Film Comedy and the Comparative Study of Screen Performances”

Xiuming He (JGU Mainz): “Performing Chinese-ness in America: Food, Language, Wedding, Rituals, and Chinese New Year in Jade Snow Wong and Pardee Lowe’s Autobiographies”

Saturday, 25 July 2015

9:30-10:30 Keynote Lecture

Chair: Ingrid Gessner (University of Regensburg)

Ben Chappell (University of Kansas): “The Borders that Cross Us: Transnational American Studies on the Ground”

10:30-11:00 Coffee Break

11:00–13:00 Panel 3

Chair: Leonard Schmieding (Georgetown University)

Florian Freitag (JGU Mainz): “Performing New Orleans, Performing Katrina: Local and Global Performance Traditions in Wading Home: An Opera of New Orleans”

Juliane Braun (University of Würzburg): “Victor Séjour and the Performance of Transnational Abolitionism”

Sabine Kim (JGU Mainz): “Performing Abolitionist Discourse in the 19th Century Black Atlantic”

Doria E. Charlson (Brown University): “Shake That Thing: Black Performativity in Claude McKay's Banjo”

Internal Network Lunch & Meeting



University of Regensburg Campus [directions; maps; parking]
Building Philosophie/Theologie - PT
Conference Room PT 3.0.79 (Sitzungssaal) [directions]