Programme International Workshop ‘Pantomime from 1800 till present: Genre – Aesthetics – Development’

 (1) Thursday 03.12.2020

13.30 – 14:00  Welcome & Introduction  

14:00 – 15:00  Dra. Niki Hadikoesoeme (KU Leuven): „When Absence Meets Absence: On the Mime’s Imitation of Nothing”

15:00 – 16:00 Dr. Anne Peiter (Université La Réunion): „Stummheit des Trägers, Stummheit als Träger. Pantomimische Elemente in Samuel Becketts En attendant Godot”

16:00 – 17:00  Dr. Mathias Meert (VUB): „Text – Musik – Theatralität. Stefan Zweigs Apoll und Marsyas als Pantomime für Musik“

(2) Friday 04.12.2020

10:00 – 11:00  Dr. Nina Tolksdorf (FU Berlin): „Rhetorik und Schriftbildlichkeit von literarischen Pantomimen“

11:00 – 12:00 Dr. Catherine Mazellier-Lajarrige (Université Toulouse – Jean Jaurès): „Theorie und Praxis der Pantomime zwischen Frankreich und Österreich/Deutschland: Aspekte eines Kulturtransfers“

12:00 – 13:00  (Lunch) Break

13:00 – 14:00  Prof. Dr. Margrit Vogt (Universität Kassel): „Die Neubewertung der Pantomime um 1900. Hugo von Hofmannsthals theoretischer, interdisziplinärer, intermedialer und erkenntnistheoretischer Beitrag zur Neubelebung einer antiken Kunstform“

14:00 – 15:00  Dra. Tamara Fröhler (LMU München): „Die ‚ältere, blutechte, unvermischte Schwester der Tragödie‘. Zur Pantomime als Ursprungsmythos einer ‚deutschen‘ Dramatik um 1900“

15:00 – 15:15  Break

15:15 – 16:15  Dr. Tatiana Nikitina (Université Toulouse – Jean Jaurès): „Pantomime in Marius Petipa’s Ballets

16:15 – 17:15 Dra. Francesca Pistocchi (University Trento): „Lernen, sich wiederzuerkennen: Pantomimische Verhaltensweisen der modernen Menschen in Karl Schenkers Wachspuppen-Aufnahmen und Paul Lenis Wachsfigurenkabinett (1924)“

17:15  Closing remarks

Information and Registration:

The workshop will take place online, via Microsoft Teams. The conference languages are German and English. If you wish to register for this conference and partake in the discussion sessions, please contact Dr. Mathias Meert – Mathias.Meert@vub.be. Registered participants will receive the links to the digital sessions, the conference programme, the abstracts of the different presentations and a reader containing selected texts that accompany the presentations. Deadline for registration is 01/12/2020.

CALL FOR PAPERS Workshop: Revisiting Revenge. New Perspectives for the Study of Revenge Tragedies (late 16th–early 18th century)

Ghent University (Belgium), 16-17 September 2021

Keynote speaker: Prof. Russ Leo (Princeton University)

In the early modern period, revenge tragedies and related Senecan plays dealing with revenge flooded the European theatres, especially in England (The Spanish Tragedy, Titus Andronicus, The Revenger’s Tragedy, Hamlet), but also in the Dutch Republic (Wraeckgierigers treur-spel, Aran en Titus, De veinzende Torquatus, Medea) and Germany (Ermordete Majestät, Rache zu Gibeon, Cleopatra). Because of the plays’ abundant display of horror, audiences flocked to them in large numbers, rendering the revenge tragedy the most popular dramatic genre of its time. Yet, revenge tragedies have for a long time only reluctantly been allowed to join the established canon of classical works, since they were considered gross, decadent, gratuitous, sensationalist and markedly commerce-oriented plays. Only in the past few decades, literary scholars have attempted to adjust this one-sided image of the genre by suggesting that revenge plays informed (aspects of) the cultural-historical force field that helped shape them.

Bearing this suggestion in mind, we would like to invite scholars working on the subject to submit case studies exploring the ways in which European revenge plays participate in contemporary political, religious, philosophical, legal, economic and gender discourses, in order to make clear the genre’s broader cultural relevance – both in terms of its historical moment and of our analysis of that moment. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The relationship between revenge plays and the Christian (Catholic/Protestant) discourse on revenge. How do revenge tragedies interrogate the biblical message not to take revenge yourself, but to leave it to the Lord? And more generally, how do these plays interrogate divine providence as such?
  • The political topicality of early modern revenge drama: how did English revenge plays help shape the discourse concerning e.g. the unstable dynastic position of the Tudors? How did Dutch ‘wraaktragedies’ participate in the fierce discussions about the position of the stadtholder in the Dutch Republic? And how do German revenge plays relate to Ferdinand II’s attempt to impose imperial absolutism?
  • The relationship between revenge plays and gender. Early modern revenge plays feature both male and female stage avengers. Are there substantial differences in how female stage revengers avenge themselves compared to their male counterparts? And how do these differences inform our understanding of early modern gender roles?
  • Revenge plays and their relation to the system of legal justice in early modern Europe. With most stage revengers taking recourse to ‘a kind of wild justice’ (Francis Bacon), in what way does revenge drama provide an interrogation of the legal system of its time?
  • The dramatic representation of revenge itself. How is revenge depicted in the early modern revenge play? And how does dramatic revenge relate to other depictions of revenge in related art forms, like the opera seria?

We also invite participants to reflect in their presentations more explicitly on the arbitrariness of the classification of the revenge tragedy as a genre as such. We look forward to receiving your abstracts, and to a productive meeting in September.

Practical:

  • The workshop will take place in Ghent on 16 and 17 September 2021 (precise location TBA).
  • Proposals for a twenty-minute presentation (given in English) are expected by March 1st, 2021 and should be sent to tom.laureys@ugent.be. Proposals should include your name, academic affiliation and a brief curriculum vitae.
  • Submissions are expected as Word documents (max. 300 words).
  • Notification of acceptance will be provided by April 1st, 2021.
  • The programme will be finalized by May 1st, 2021.
  • A selection of contributions will be published in a peer-reviewed volume to be submitted to an international publisher.
  • We hope that you will support our efforts by notifying your colleagues and students about the conference. You are most welcome to contact the organisers for further details.
  • All this information can also be found on our website: www.revisitingrevenge.ugent.be (which will soon be online).

This conference is an initiative of the research groups GEMS (https://gemsugent.wordpress.com/) and THALIA (https://aogthalia.wordpress.com/), and is part of the BOF-funded research project Radical Revenge? Revenge tragedy and providential thinking in the Dutch Republic 1638-1678.

Organising committee:

Tom Laureys, PhD candidate (tom.laureys@ugent.be)

Prof. dr. Kornee van der Haven (cornelis.vanderhaven@ugent.be)

Prof. dr. Jürgen Pieters (jurgen.pieters@ugent.be)

Scientific committee:

Prof. dr. Ton Hoenselaars (Universiteit Utrecht)

Prof. dr. Karel Vanhaesebrouck (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

Prof. dr. Inge Arteel (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Prof. dr. Bram Van Oostveldt (Universiteit Gent)

Dr. Laurens De Vos (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

Lecture William Kentridge

On Wednesday the 18th of March, South-African artist William Kentridge will receive an honorary doctorate from VUB and Ugent, as you might know already.

Brussels Arts Platform, RITCS and Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel have the honour to invite you to a lecture of William Kentridge at RITCS on the 17th of March at 3pm. This lecture will take place at BRONKS, Rue Marché aux Porcs 15, 1000 Brussels – close to RITCS). After the lecture, there will be the possibility to ask questions. Attention: places are limited, for a reservation you send a message to Inge.Pieters@vub.be. You can also send in a question that you would like to ask Mr. William Kentridge.

Song Studies 2020: Exploring Interdisciplinary Approaches to Songs and Practices of Singing (1200-today)

The singing voice is a medium of expression that is found in all times and cultures. People have always been singing, not only to perform entertainingly, but also to express emotions or to embody identities. This has for example made collective singing (and listening) practices a primary way for people to articulate and embody the identities that are fundamental to the existence of social groups. The bodily and sensory experience of moving and sounding together in synchrony, enables individuals to experience feelings of togetherness with others.

Song is the versatile medium facilitating such processes. Songs can evoke and channel emotions, employing them for specific (or less specific) means. As a multimodal genre, song enables not only the articulation and embodiment of ideas; as an inherently oral and intangible medium, songs can move through space and time, transgressing any material form. Therefore, songs have proven an ideal tool for the distribution of news, contentious ideas, or mobilising messages.

This conference aims to bring together researchers from various disciplines investigating song (for example musicology, literary studies, history, sociology, performance studies, cognition studies, anthropology, etc.). The focus will be on the definition of possible approaches to the study of this medium (both in its material and performed existence), its performances (in any form) and reception (in any context). Research examples may cover songs written and sung in any culture and language, and any (historical) period. Common ground will be found through concepts, approaches and methodologies, encouraging an interdisciplinary and transhistorical dialogue, breaking ground for a new research field: song studies.Possible research areas and questions to be explored are:
– how to study the multimodality of the genre, acknowledging both textual and musical characteristics, and its performative nature;
– the sensory/bodily and emotional/affective experience of listening and singing;
– cognitive and/or affective processes of singing (and collective singing practices);
– how to study the performative aspects of songs in historical contexts;
– the ‘power’/agency of song;
– the role of song and singing in social processes and historical developments; etc.

This conference is a THALIA event.

Programme: https://www.songstudies.ugent.be/programme/

Registration: https://www.songstudies.ugent.be/registration/

!POSTPONED! Conference: The African Grove Theatre. Protesting Slavery, Asserting Freedom, and Defying Racism at the African Grove Theatre in New York (1820s) – 2 April 2020

Keynote: Prof. Jenna M. Gibbs (Florida International University)

In early nineteenth century New York, the short-lived all-African American theatre troupe, the African Grove Theater, challenged slavery, racism, and restrictions on free African Americans’ voting and civil rights. To do so, the proprietor, William Brown, bravely set up shop next door to the established white fixture, the Park Theatre, and then proceeded to daringly set his company’s calendar as provocation: whatever play the Park produced, Brown’s African Grove ensemble immediately staged their own counter-productions. This talk will focus on two of the African Grove’s adaptations and political interpolations against this racially charged backdrop: William Moncrief’s Life in London; or Tom and Jerry and John Fawcett’s Obi, or Three Finger’d Jack. My talk will conclude with a brief glimpse into how this thespian tradition of protest continues today in the New African Grove Theater in New York https://www.newafricangrove.com/ and its namesakes’ elsewhere, such as CSU Dominguez Hills https://www.csudh.edu/theatre-arts/education/new-african/

International Workshop on the Theatre of Susanne Kennedy (23-25 January 2020)

Internationale workshop over het werk van regisseur Susanne Kennedy, 23-25 januari 2020, RITCS, Campus Bottelarij, Studio 4.

In deze workshop staan regie en dramaturgie van Susanne Kennedy centraal. Zij ontwikkelde in haar ensceneringen (aan grote huizen in o.a. Den Haag, Gent, München en Berlijn) een eigenzinnige, hoogst artificiële schriftuur met de (on)natuurlijkheid van het toneelspelende lichaam als inzet. Maar ook de ruimte van het theater – de bühne en het huis – met zijn specifieke visualiteit en materialiteit wordt als actieve factor in het theatrale proces betrokken. Kennedy grijpt daarbij terug naar historische theatervormen en specifieke technieken, zoals de figuur van het koor, een barokke overdeterminatie en de draaiscène. In deze workshop zullen theater- en literatuurwetenschappers met elkaar in discussie gaan over Kennedy’s werk en zullen PhD studenten hun cases presenteren. Op vrijdag 24/1 verwelkomen we ook de regisseur zelf voor een artist talk.

Languages: English and German 

Format of the workshop: individual interventions of approx. 10 minutes and screening of long extracts of productions by Susanne Kennedy, with plenty of time for discussion.

Thursday, 23 January:

2:00pm introduction – practicalities

2:15-3:00pm: Kornee van der Haven (UGent) on Kennedy’s baroque esthetics from a historical perspective

3:15-4:00pm: Mathias Meert (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) on gestures, language and corporeality in Kennedy’s plays

4:15-5:00pm: Inge Arteel (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) über Kennedys microchoreographische Dramaturgie

Friday, 24 January:

10:00-10:45am: Jeroen Coppens (UGent) on “Carousel of Images: Visual Dramaturgy in Women in Trouble”

11:00-11:45am: Doris Kolesch (FU Berlin) über „Stimme und Sound bei Susanne Kennedy“

11:45-1:15pm lunch break

1:15-2:00pm: Ulrike Haß (Ruhr Universität Bochum) über „Die Kunst des Einstimmens“ in den jüngsten Inszenierungen

2:00-2:45pm: Karen Jürs-Munby (Lancaster University) on „Loops, Repetitions and Algorithms: Between Fate and Fatelessness in Susanne Kennedy’s Drei Schwestern“.

3:00pm: artist talk with Susanne Kennedy

Saturday, 25 January:

10:00-10:45am: Maurício Perussi (Sao Paulo, School of Communications and Arts) on “Susanne Kennedy’s theatre and its work on the materiality of time”

11:00-11:45am: Eva Döhne (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt) über „Der hohle Körper in der Darstellung“ in Orfeo. Eine Sterbeübung

12:00-1:00pm: conclusions, ideas for further research and for publication

Moderation of the workshop: Silke Felber (Universität Wien)

With the support of research group THALIA (UGent-VUB), Doctoral School of Human Sciences (VUB), RITCS, FWO-Vlaanderen

Further information: inge.arteel@vub.be

Call for Papers: Workshop Pantomime from 1800 till present

International Workshop Pantomime from 1800 till present: Genre – Aesthetics – Development
25.06.2020 – 26.06.2020
Vrije Universiteit Brussel – THALIA (VUB-UGent)


The intermedial and hybrid genre of the pantomime can be situated at the crossroads of textuality, performance, corporeality and visuality. At the beginning of the 20th century, renowned authors in Germany and Austria, such as Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Arthur Schnitzler or Frank Wedekind, experimented with the pantomime as the nonverbal genre and artform par excellence. According to the Austrian critic and author Hermann Bahr, the genre of the pantomime can fundamentally be understood as a (literary) ‘drama without words’. Pantomimes “have all the dramatic means. They just lack language. In this regard, they are poorer. Nevertheless, they have a greater effect.” (Bahr 1894: 107). Bahr’s assessment of the pantomime as a new and effective genre focused amongst others on the modern(ist) skepticism towards language. However, the pantomime also contains complex narrative structures, relies on expressive gestures and body language and points to the anthropological/ritual background and character of theatre. Modern conceptions of the pantomime furthermore interact with older artforms and genres of non-verbal communication. As such, the genre is often situated within an intermedial network. It can be connected to different older as well as new(er) media (silent film, dance, ballet d’action, painting and tableau vivant …), which transcend the national boundaries and can be situated in a pan-European and transnational context. This two-day workshop organized at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel is dedicated to the historical diversity of the pantomime tradition. It seeks to analyze from a transnational perspective the development of pantomime aesthetics, from the 1800s through its new conceptualization in the 19th and 20th century and the present day. This development will specifically be situated within the larger, European context. Contributions can address the following thematic and methodological topics and research questions:


✓ Historicity and Tradition: How did the pantomime develop from 1800 till the present day, in Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain, …? Can the pantomime be considered a genre or a ‘mode’? How does contemporary theatre position itself towards this non-verbal genre and its aesthetics? How did the genre evolve historically within the European context?
✓ Textuality: How are pantomimic texts constructed structurally and rhetorically? How do pantomimic texts relate to their performance on stage? Do they contain aspects of ‘texttheatricality’ (Poschmann)? How do ‘literary’ pantomimes differ from other variants of the
genre?
✓ Performance: How did the historical performance practice of the genre develop since 1800? On which (theatrical) conventions does the pantomime rely on stage? Which methodological issues arise when historical pantomimic performances are studied?
✓ Gesture, Kinesthetics and body language: How are gestures, movement and body language staged in pantomimes? How does pantomimic gesturality relate to (spoken) language? How does the pantomime differ from other genres of (gestic) movement?
✓ Aesthetics: How does the pantomime conceptualize and textualize an aesthetics of speechlessness? In what sense are pantomimes performative? Which thematic and motivic focal points can be found in pantomimic plots? How does the genre of the pantomime relate to the historical reforms of theatre and the theory of acting? How is the figure of the (panto)mime historically, philosophically and aesthetically conceptualized?
✓ Narrativity: Which narrative features can be found in pantomimes and pantomimic texts? Can the hermeneutical framework of narratology (perspective, focalization, space, …) be applied to the study of pantomimic plays?
✓ Intermediality: How does the pantomime relate to other genres of corporeality and visuality (dance, film, painting, …)? Can the dialogue with traditions such as the tableau vivant or the silent film be considered as ‘remediation’? How does the medium specificity of the genre develop since 1800?


Interested researchers and PhD students are asked to send an abstract (ca. 300 words) and a short bio (ca. 100 words) to Dr. Mathias Meert, mathias.meert@vub.be by 29/02/2020. The two-day workshop can accommodate up to 15 participants. Participants can give a presentation and/or organize a plenary discussion on (pantomimic, scientific, methodological, …) texts related to the genre of the pantomime and the above mentioned topics. These texts will be sent to all participants approximately 4 weeks before the start of the workshop. The conference languages are English and German.

Internationaler Workshop

Die Pantomime von 1800 bis zur Gegenwart:

Gattung – Ästhetik – Entwicklung

25.06.2020 – 26.06.2020

Vrije Universiteit Brussel – THALIA (VUB-UGent)

Die wortlose Pantomime versteht sich als eine intermediale und hybride Gattung, die sich an der Schnittstelle von Textualität, Performance, Körperlichkeit und Visualität befindet. Am Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts experimentierten in Deutschland und Österreich namhafte Autoren wie Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Arthur Schnitzler und Frank Wedekind mit der Pantomime als der wortlosen Theaterkunst par excellence. Nach dem österreichischen Kritiker und Autor Hermann Bahr fungierte die Gattung um 1900 im Grunde genommen als ein (literarisches) ‚Drama ohne Worte‘. Pantomimen „[…] haben sonst alle dramatischen Mittel. Nur die Sprache fehlt ihnen. Um diese sind sie ärmer. Dennoch wirken sie mehr“ (Bahr 1894: 107). Bahrs Einschätzung der Pantomime als einer sich neu etablierenden, wirkungsvollen Theatergattung geht u.a. mit der modern(istisch)en Sprachskepsis einher. Die Pantomime enthält aber auch komplexe narrative Strukturen, stützt sich auf eine expressive Gestik und macht auf den anthropologisch-rituellen Hintergrund des Theaters aufmerksam. Die modernistische Variante der Pantomime dialogiert zudem mit älteren Gattungen nichtverbaler Kommunikation und situiert sich in einem intermedialen Netzwerk, in dem mehrere Verflechtungen mit älteren und neueren Medien (Stummfilm, Tanz, ballet d’action, Malerei und tableau vivant …) auch pan-europäisch und transnational an Kontur gewinnen.

Dieser zweitägige Workshop an der Vrije Universiteit Brussel widmet sich der Vielfältigkeit der Pantomime-Tradition aus einer historischen und transnationalen Perspektive. Er setzt sich zum Ziel, capita selecta der modernen Pantomime-Geschichte zu untersuchen, von der (Vor-)Geschichte der Gattung seit 1800 über die (Neu-)Entwicklung im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert bis hin zur Gegenwart. Er fragt nach den Entwicklungen der pantomimischen Ästhetik und versucht diese in einen europäischen Rahmen zu situieren. Folgende Themen und Fragestellungen werden als thematische und methodologische Leitfaden des Workshops konzipiert:

  • Historizität und Tradition: Wie entwickelt sich die Pantomime von 1800 bis zur Gegenwart, in Deutschland, Österreich, Frankreich, den Niederlanden, Großbritannien, …? Versteht die Pantomime sich als Gattung bzw. als Modus? Wie verhält sich das zeitgenössische Theater zur wortlosen Gattung und deren Ästhetik? Wie vernetzt sich die Gattung historisch im europäischen Kontext?
  • Textualität: Wie sind pantomimische texte strukturell und rhetorisch aufgebaut? Wie verhalten sie sich zu ihrer Umsetzung auf der Bühne? Weisen Pantomimische Texte Aspekte der ‚Texttheatralität‘ (Poschmann) auf? Wie verhalten sich ‚literarische‘ Pantomimen zu anderen Varianten der Gattung?
  • Aufführung: Wie entwickelt sich die historische Aufführungspraxis der Pantomime seit 1800? Auf welche (theatrale) Konventionen stützt sich die Pantomime auf der Bühne? Mit welchen theoretischen und methodologischen Problemen wird die Analyse historischer Pantomimenaufführungen konfrontiert?
  • Gestik, Kinästhetik, Körpersprache: Wie werden Gesten, Bewegung und Körpersprache in der Pantomime inszeniert? Wie verhält sich die pantomimische Gestik zur Sprache? Wie unterscheidet sich die Pantomime von anderen Gattungen der (gestischen) Bewegung?
  • Ästhetik: wie konzeptualisiert und textualisiert die Pantomime die Ästhetik der Wortlosigkeit? In welchem Sinne sind Pantomimen performativ? Welche thematischen und motivischen Schwerpunkte konturieren pantomimische Handlungen? Wie verhält sich die Pantomime zur historischen Reformierung des Theaters bzw. der Schauspielertheorie? Wie wird die Figur des (Panto)Mimen historisch, philosophisch und ästhetisch konzipiert?
  • Narrativität: Welche narrativen Merkmale sind in Pantomimen bzw. pantomimischen Texten zu finden? Könnte die Narratologie (Perspektive, Fokalisierung, Raum, …) für die Analyse pantomimischer Schauspiele hermeneutisch fruchtbar gemacht werden?
  • Intermedialität: Wie verhält sich die Pantomime zu anderen Medien der Körperlichkeit und Visualität (Tanz, Film, Malerei)? Ist der Dialog mit tableau vivant oder Stummfilm als ‚Remediation‘ aufzufassen? Wie etabliert sich die mediale Spezifizität der Gattung seit 1800?

Interessierte werden gebeten, bis zum 29.02.2020 ein Abstract (ca. 300 Wörter) und eine Kurzbio (ca. 100 Wörter) einzureichen bei Dr. Mathias Meert, mathias.meert@vub.be. Der Workshop bietet Platz für maximal 15 Forscher*innen und Doktorand*innen. Zum Format des Workshops: Teilnehmer*innen haben die Möglichkeit einen Vortrag zu halten und/oder eine Diskussion zu organisieren über (pantomimische, wissenschaftliche, methodologische, …) Texte, die sich auf die obenerwähnten Fragestellungen beziehen und die dann gemeinsam reflektiert werden. Diese Texte werden den Teilnehmer*innen ca. 4 Wochen vor dem Anfang des Workshops besorgt. Die Tagungssprachen sind Deutsch und Englisch.

Call for Papers: Song Studies 2020

The Amsterdam Centre for Cross-Disciplinary Emotion and Sensory Studies and THALIA, research group on the Interplay of Theatre, Literature & Media in Performance, present:

SONG STUDIES 2020 – EXPLORING INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES TO SONGS AND PRACTICES OF SINGING (1200-TODAY)

Ghent, 1-3 July 2020

Keynote speaker: Monique Scheer (Tübingen University)

This conference aims to bring together researchers from various disciplines investigating song (for example musicology, literary studies, history, sociology, performance studies, cognition studies, anthropology, etc.). The focus will be on the definition of possible approaches to the study of this medium (both in its material and performed existence), its performances (in any form) and reception (in any context). Research examples may cover songs written and sung in any culture and language, and any (historical) period. Common ground will be found through concepts, approaches and methodologies, encouraging an interdisciplinary and transhistorical dialogue, breaking ground for a new research field: song studies.

See the full call for papers on www.songstudies.ugent.be. We invite proposals for 20-minute individual papers or alternative formats. Please send your proposal, including your name, academic affiliation and a short biographical note, no later than 20 December 2019 to renee.vulto@ugent.be.

CALL FOR PAPERS Workshop: Revisiting Revenge. New Perspectives for the Study of Revenge Tragedies (late 16th–early 18th century)

Ghent University (Belgium), 16-17 September 2021

Keynote speaker: Prof. Russ Leo (Princeton University)

In the early modern period, revenge tragedies and related Senecan plays dealing with revenge flooded the European theatres, especially in England (The Spanish Tragedy, Titus Andronicus, The Revenger’s Tragedy, Hamlet), but also in the Dutch Republic (Wraeckgierigers treur-spel, Aran en Titus, De veinzende Torquatus, Medea) and Germany (Ermordete Majestät, Rache zu Gibeon, Cleopatra). Because of the plays’ abundant display of horror, audiences flocked to them in large numbers, rendering the revenge tragedy the most popular dramatic genre of its time. Yet, revenge tragedies have for a long time only reluctantly been allowed to join the established canon of classical works, since they were considered gross, decadent, gratuitous, sensationalist and markedly commerce-oriented plays. Only in the past few decades, literary scholars have attempted to adjust this one-sided image of the genre by suggesting that revenge plays informed (aspects of) the cultural-historical force field that helped shape them.

Bearing this suggestion in mind, we would like to invite scholars working on the subject to submit case studies exploring the ways in which European revenge plays participate in contemporary political, religious, philosophical, legal, economic and gender discourses, in order to make clear the genre’s broader cultural relevance – both in terms of its historical moment and of our analysis of that moment. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The relationship between revenge plays and the Christian (Catholic/Protestant) discourse on revenge. How do revenge tragedies interrogate the biblical message not to take revenge yourself, but to leave it to the Lord? And more generally, how do these plays interrogate divine providence as such?
  • The political topicality of early modern revenge drama: how did English revenge plays help shape the discourse concerning e.g. the unstable dynastic position of the Tudors? How did Dutch ‘wraaktragedies’ participate in the fierce discussions about the position of the stadtholder in the Dutch Republic? And how do German revenge plays relate to Ferdinand II’s attempt to impose imperial absolutism?
  • The relationship between revenge plays and gender. Early modern revenge plays feature both male and female stage avengers. Are there substantial differences in how female stage revengers avenge themselves compared to their male counterparts? And how do these differences inform our understanding of early modern gender roles?
  • Revenge plays and their relation to the system of legal justice in early modern Europe. With most stage revengers taking recourse to ‘a kind of wild justice’ (Francis Bacon), in what way does revenge drama provide an interrogation of the legal system of its time?
  • The dramatic representation of revenge itself. How is revenge depicted in the early modern revenge play? And how does dramatic revenge relate to other depictions of revenge in related art forms, like the opera seria?

We also invite participants to reflect in their presentations more explicitly on the arbitrariness of the classification of the revenge tragedy as a genre as such. We look forward to receiving your abstracts, and to a productive meeting in September.

Practical:

  • The workshop will take place in Ghent on 16 and 17 September 2021 (precise location TBA).
  • Proposals for a twenty-minute presentation (given in English) are expected by March 1st, 2021 and should be sent to tom.laureys@ugent.be. Proposals should include your name, academic affiliation and a brief curriculum vitae.
  • Submissions are expected as Word documents (max. 300 words).
  • Notification of acceptance will be provided by April 1st, 2021.
  • The programme will be finalized by May 1st, 2021.
  • A selection of contributions will be published in a peer-reviewed volume to be submitted to an international publisher.
  • We hope that you will support our efforts by notifying your colleagues and students about the conference. You are most welcome to contact the organisers for further details.
  • All this information can also be found on our website: www.revisitingrevenge.ugent.be (which will soon be online).

This conference is an initiative of the research groups GEMS (https://gemsugent.wordpress.com/) and THALIA (https://aogthalia.wordpress.com/), and is part of the BOF-funded research project Radical Revenge? Revenge tragedy and providential thinking in the Dutch Republic 1638-1678.

Organising committee:

Tom Laureys, PhD candidate (tom.laureys@ugent.be)

Prof. dr. Kornee van der Haven (cornelis.vanderhaven@ugent.be)

Prof. dr. Jürgen Pieters (jurgen.pieters@ugent.be)

Scientific committee:

Prof. dr. Ton Hoenselaars (Universiteit Utrecht)

Prof. dr. Karel Vanhaesebrouck (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

Prof. dr. Andrew Bricker (Ghent University)

Prof. dr. Inge Arteel (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Prof. dr. Bram Van Oostveldt (Universiteit Gent)

Dr. Laurens De Vos (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

What is THALIA?

In myth, the ancient muse Thalia appears as a worshipper of Dionysos and is therefore closely related to theatrical festivities. Her name resembles the etymological origin of both “theatre” and “theory” (“theoreia”).

The joint research group THALIA aims at collective, intellectual exchange in regard to intermedial constellations of theatre, text and performance. Focusing on both contemporary performance and history, the projects are following these four essential research lines:

  • Theatre Text/Theatricality 
    In the past decade, both theater and literary studies have focused on the aesthetics of theatre texts in postdramatic contexts. Recent performances have been dubbed as “new text” or “narrative theater,” and some even have been labeled as “neo(n)realist”, “post-postdramatic” (Bayerdörfer 2007, Virant 2003, Pavis 2010). Theatre has been discussed as a stage for literature and consequently, “work on language” takes place within it (Birkenhauer 2005). In a joint FWO-research project on Texttheatralität (Martens, Pewny, Callens, Biebuyck, Arteel) we trace the theatricality of contemporary theatre texts (Jelinek, Pollesch) back to canonic works from the start of the 20th century (Kraus, Musil). In THALIA, we will discuss different aspects of text theatricality by tracing them back to various theatrical and performative traditions such as the messenger in Greek tragedy and the meddah (i.e. singer) in Arab narrative traditions.
  • Performativity
    In many cultural studies fields as well as in sociology, the terms “performance” and “performativity” denote the conscious showing of a (cultural) practice and/or social role (profession, gender, etc). The THALIA research will concentrate on performative elements within aesthetic frames. We will discuss questions such as: In which ways is aesthetically framed performativity related to the “overall” performativity noted by so many scholars? Can performativity within aesthetic frames or aesthetic orientation (Goffman, Seel, Kattenbelt) be traced back to former periods within the history of literature and theatre, or is it a 20th century phenomenon (Fischer-Lichte 2004, Kattenbelt 2011)? Is the term “performativity” suitable for playful ways of presentation and circulation of literature, or are other terms more suitable?
  • Dramaturgy
    The concept of “dramaturgy” has recently gained prominence in Theatre Studies (Luckhurst 2008, Turner and Behrndt 2007, special issues of Contemporary Theatre Review and Performance Research published in 2009/10). Expanding on Eugenio Barba’s definition of dramaturgy as actions (Barba 1991), and drawing on Nicolas Bourriaud’s concept of ‘relational aesthetics’ (2002), we propose dramaturgy as a term that denotes multiple relational processes of transmission and negotiation in performance events: between text and performance, words, bodies and spaces, stage and audience, creation and reflection, institution and public, aesthetics and politics, art and academy, practice and research, past, present, and future. “Relational aspects of dramaturgy” have been discussed in a joint UGent and VUB congress in March 2012. Within THALIA, we will search for (new) ways of text related dramaturgies that take into account the changed landscapes, conditions and aesthetics of performance.
  • (Inter)Mediality
    The concept of inter/mediality is closely related to “performativity”. In the 1990s, Peggy Phelan’s argumentation of a dichotomy of liveness and mediatisation in artistic performance brought forth fruitful controversies. The mediatisation of performance has since then become a worldwide research topic. The integration of “new” media and the development of media dramaturgy is a central characteristic of postdramatic theatre. Drawing on an understanding of intermediality as aesthetic phenomenon and performative process in which different media are related to each other and possibly alter perception (Kattenbelt 208, 2011), we consider (inter)mediality mainly, though not exclusively, between theatre and literature. Pewny/Martens have, for example, been investigating intermediality in Elfriede Jelinek’s oeuvre, ranging from performances based on her texts to her radio plays (Pewny/Martens 2013). (Inter)mediality is closely linked with “dramaturgy” in the IUAP research project on “Mediaturgy”supervised for the VUB byJ. Callens.

Tackling the “interconnectedness” of dramatic and other theatre-texts and various ways of media/mediality in performance we approach these research lines from the Literary, Theatre, Performance and Media Studies perspectives.

Members

In the frame of THALIA we mainly join forces between two universities who already have strong profiles in research on theatre(texts), literature, performance and dramaturgy. The VUB research center CLIC and Ghent University’s research center S:PAM are – in different ways – specialised in related topics, and they already connect researchers and research projects with a strong international reputation. THALIA however is open to welcome scholars with different affiliations.

  • Ghent University / S:PAM 
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel / CLIC
  • Other

Ghent University affiliated scholars

Annelies Van Assche is PhD student at the Art, Music and Theatre Studies Department at Ghent University and member of research centre Studies in Performing Arts & Media (S:PAM). She works on the interdisciplinary, FWO funded research project Choreographies of Precariousness, which deals with contemporary dancers’ socio-economical position and its influence on their production processes.

Benjamin Biebuyck has been a Professor of German Literature at Ghent University since 2000. He published extensively on Nietzsche, on the relationship between literature, law and ethics, on literary theory – particularly on theoretical issues concerning figurativeness – as well as on 19th and 20th century German literature in “Philologus”, “Germano-Slavica”, “Nietzsche-Studien”. He is also supervisor of several research projects on 19th and 20th century German literature and intellectual history.

Charlotte Gruber is PhD student at the Art, Music and Theatre Studies Department at Ghent University and member of research centre S:PAM (Studies in Performing Arts & Media). She is finishing the BOF-funded PhD research Antigone in/as Transition. A Study on the Performing Arts Status Quo in Europe (in its Transcontinental Contexts), which critically discusses the legacy of Antigone in contemporary performance art and academia.

Christel Stalpaert is Professor of Theatre, Performance and Media Studies at Ghent University where she is co-director of the research unit S:PAM (Studies in Performing Arts and Media). Her main areas of research are the performing arts, dance and the new media (from the historical avant-garde onward) at the meeting-point of philosophy. She is currently doing research on performing cultural trauma and conflict in contemporary performing arts (e.g. post-migrant theatre, the notion of embodied cognition and the poetics of failure in mechanisms of remembering)

Christine Kanzis Professor of German Literature at Ghent University. She is specialised in Fantasies and Techniques of Reproduction in Literature, Theatre, Science, and the Arts (19th to 21st century), in the Interrelations between Affects and Knowledge in Literature, Theatre, Science, and the Arts around 1800 and in Theories of Inter/Mediality.

Frederik Le Roy holds degrees in Philosophy (Catholic University of Leuven, 2003) and Performance Studies and Film (Ghent University, 2005) and was visiting research student at the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley in 2006. In 2012 he obtained his doctoral degree at Ghent University with a dissertation entitled “Verknoopte tijd, verfrommelde geschiedenis” (“Entangled Time, Crumpled History”).

Gunther Martens is a Professor of German Literature at Ghent University. He supervises research projects on text theatricality, music criticism, migrant literature and rhetorical narratology. His current research activities comprise: rhetorical narratology; research into new documentary strategies in literature and culture (e.g. Rimini Protokoll; Zeh, Röggla, …); the cultural history of the Encyclopaedia as hybrid genre.

Jeroen Coppens is currently a Post-Doctoral Assistant at the Department of Art History, Musicology and Theatre Studies at Ghent University. He is a member of research centre Studies in Performing Arts & Media (S:PAM, Ghent University) and of the Arbeitsgruppe Dramaturgie of the Gesellschaft für Theaterwissenschaft. He publishes on the themes of visual dramaturgy, intermediality, postdramatic theater and the performance of images.

Jürgen Pieters is Professor of literary theory at Ghent University and the director of research center GEMS. He teaches courses on the history of poetics and on theories of cultural history. He is currently finishing a book on the methodology of literary history and preparing a monograph on early modern consolatory writing.

Katharina Pewny is, after a Habilitation in Theatre Studies and Dramaturgy in 2009, Professor of Theatre, Performance and Media Studies and (with Ch. Stalpaert) director of the research centre S:PAM (Studies in Performing Arts and Media) at Ghent University. She specialises in antique and contemporary theatre, both in the analysis of theatre texts and performances, in dramaturgy and ethics in aesthetics. Her current research includes re-stagings of Greek tragedies, ritual aspects of theatre and other media and German theatre (texts). She is the chair of THALIA.

Kornee van der Haven is Professor of Early Modern Dutch and German Literature at Ghent University. He is currently working on the FWO-funded research project Enlightenment at War: Epic Poetry, the Citizen and Discursive Bridges to the Military (1740-1800), which investigates the role of literature in making the military an integral part of the civic public sphere during the Enlightenment, bridging the gap between studies on 18th-century epic poetry and military treatises.

Kristoffel Demoen is Professor of ancient Greek and Byzantine Literature at Ghent University and has a focus on Greek literature from the imperial period (Second Sophistic), Late Antiquity (Patristics) and early to middle-Byzantine period. He especially enjoys working on narrative prose and poetry (o.a. epigrams).

Mara Santi is Professor of Italian Literature at Ghent University. She is specialised in the study of the Italian writer Mauro Covacich who edited a multimodal pentalogy composed by four books and a video installation; study of the relation between literature and performance arts, between different media. Study of the relation between the concept of performance and narrative forms such as the short story collections.

Marcus Hahn conducts research from a media anthropology perspective as well as from a cultural studies and science studies point of view. His research is focused on the history of the media concept, especially its intersections and interferences with western psychiatric and ethnological knowledge around 1900 (hypnosis, trance, possession), and its development alongside the German speaking modern literature, expressionist cinema and media theory.

Sarah Josephine Adams is a PhD candidate in Dutch Literature at Ghent University. Her FWO-funded project Slavery on Scene: Representations of Slavery on the Dutch Stage of 1800 examines performances of slavery in the Netherlands in an age of significant ideological and political change. The project aims to contribute to the understanding of the complex cultural production generated during Dutch colonialism, and its legacies in modern Dutch society. Her research interests include (post)colonial theory and literature, political history, and performance studies.

Sophie Wennerscheid is Professor for Scandinavian Literature and Culture at University Ghent.

Tom Laureys is a PhD candidate (BOF) in Dutch literature at Ghent University. His project Radical Revenge? focuses on the providentialist discourse of seventeenth-century revenge theatre in the Northern Netherlands (1638-1678). The aim of the project is to contribute to our understanding of how the subject in the revenge tragedy is conceptualized differently in its relation to the providential order compared to early modern Aristotelian and French-classicist tragedies.

Yannice De Bruyn is PhD student at the Department of Literary Studies of Ghent University and the TALK Department of Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She conducts her research within the framework of Imagineering Violence: Techniques of Early Modern Performativity in the Northern and Southern Netherlands (1640-1690). This project is a collaboration between Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Ghent University, Leiden University and VU Amsterdam, funded by the Flemish and Dutch research foundations FWO and NWO.

Renée Vulto holds a BA and MA degree in Musicology from the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University. Currently she is a doctoral researcher at the Department of Literary Studies at Ghent University, working on her interdisciplinary research-project: “Singing Communities: Dutch Political Songs and the Performance of National Identity (1775-1825)”.

Vrije Universiteit Brussel affiliated scholars

Christophe Collard is a postdoctoral research fellow and works at the VUB within the IUAP project on Literature and Media Innovation on the American multi-media dramaturge and director John Jesurun, one of the ‘masters’ of René Pollesch. His project centers on the concepts of ‘hypermediacy,’ ‘intermediality,’ and ‘digitalism’.

Hans Vandevoorde is professor of Dutch Literature at VUB. He publishes extensively on the history of literature, culture and performance in the fin de siècle and the interwar period, on generational aspects of literary history, on urban space in literature, culture and performance since the 19th century, and on experimental poetry after 1945.

Inge Arteel is professor of German Literature at the VUB and, since July 2014, chair of the research group CLIC, Centre for Literary and Intermedial Crossings. She has published on Elfriede Jelinek (both text and performance analyses) and other ‘heirs’ of the Austrian neo-avantgarde (Friederike Mayröcker, Gerhard Roth, Lisa Spalt etc). Her current research concerns grotesque aesthetics. As a member of the scientific advisory board of the Elfriede Jelinek Forschungszentrum at Vienna University, she is related to intermedial research projects on the work of Jelinek and other German language playwrights. She is the Co-chair of THALIA.

Janine Hauthal works as an FWO Postdoctoral Fellow at VUB since October 2014. She earned her doctorate with a dissertation on “Metadrama and Theatricality”. Her research interests include metaization across media and genres, postdramatic theatre (texts), transgeneric/transcultural narratology, contemporary (black) British writing and postcolonial theory. Her current postdoctoral project focuses on how Europe is imagined in contemporary British novels, travelogues and plays.

Johan Callens is professor of English and American Literature and Theatre Studies at the VUB. He has published extensively on intermediality, metatheatre, American drama and performance, postdramatic mediaturgy, genre and media innovation, adaptations. He supervises a PhD project on Postdramatic Mediaturgy within the IUAP project Literature and Media Innovation: The Question of Genre Transformations (coordination KULeuven).

Karel Vanhaesebrouck works as a professor of Theatre Studies at ULB and RITS and as a research professor at VUB. His research interests concern the intermedial imagination of the tension between theatricality and reality, adopting an explicitly interdisciplinary approach to study historical and contemporary instances of theatricality in relation to cultural and social contexts.

Klaas Tindemans works as a professor of Theatre Studies and research coordinator at RITS and as a research professor at VUB. His research interests concern theatricality and politics, theatre and political violence, the documentary and performance, and the problematics of the legitimization of governmental policies on arts and culture.

Mathias Meert works as an FWO PhD scholar at the VUB since October 2012. He is preparing a dissertation on intertextuality and authorship in selected plays and pantomimes of RichardBeer-Hofmann, an author, playwright and director of the “Wiener Moderne”.

Ronald Geerts is professor of Theatre and Film Studies at VUB, ULB and UA. His research interests include the screenplay as an intermedial text, style as a narrative strategy in screenplays, and the status of the text in contemporary theatre.

Associated members

Karen Jürs-Munby is a Lecturer in Theatre Studies at the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts at Lancaster University. She has published widely on contemporary European theatre, especially on the relation between text and performance in postdramatic theatre, the politics of postdramatic theatre and on Elfriede Jelinek’s theatre texts in performance. She is currently working on a monograph investigating the diverse directorial approaches to Jelinek’s theatre texts, “Jelinek in Practice: German Directors’ Theatre, Politics and Aesthetics” (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama). She is an international partner of the Jelinek Research Platform, Vienna and a member TAPRA’s Directing and Dramaturgy Working Group.

Yana Meerzon holds a PhD from The Graduate Centre for Study of Drama, University of Toronto (2003). Her research interests are in the areas of drama and performance theory, theatre semiotics and communication, theatre of exile and immigration, and Russian theatre. She has completed a study on Michael Chekhov’s acting theory and pedagogy, published under the title “A Path of the Character: Michael Chekhov’s Inspired Acting and Theatre Semiotics”, by Peter Lang Publishing House, 2005. Her research project “Theatricality and Exile” has been sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Her manuscript “Performing Exile – Performing Self: Drama, Theatre, Film” is published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Marissia Fragkou is senior lecturer in Performing Arts and joined Canterbury Christ Church University in 2013. Prior to this appointment she was a teaching fellow in Drama at the University of Birmingham (2011-2013) where she extensively taught on the undergraduate programme. She has previously lectured in a number of HE institutions (Royal Holloway, Winchester, DMU, Kingston). In the past she has widely taught on both theory and theatre practice specializing in: British theatre; feminist theatre; cultural/critical theory; contemporary theatre practices/devising; applied theatre; actor-training.

THALIA page on the research portal of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy of Ghent University: http://research.flw.ugent.be/thalia

THALIA is supported by Bijzonder Onderzoeksfonds, Ghent University and Research & Development Vrije Universiteit Brussel