Summer Institute Cologne, July 2014 - Call for Participation, deadline extended!

08 April, 2014

[sic!] Summer Institute Cologne - Deadline extended!

This summer school looks (especially) for PhD students interested in Theatre History, Art History, or Media Studies. The seminar on theatre history will be taught by Profs. Tracy C. Davis and Peter W. Marx. 2014's overall topic is "The Invisible". The new deadline is 15 April 2014. [sic!] offers a broad exchange of ideas with peers and international scholars and thereby offers new perspectives for the participant's own research. We inivite you to be part of this experience!


Cologne University’s international interdisciplinary summer institute [sic!] 2014 will take place from 15th to 23rd of July 2014 - right before IFTR's conference in Warwick. After last year’s founding event on “Techniques of Imagination”, participants and faculty of [sic!] 2014 will focus on historiographical perspectives on “The Invisible”. We invite graduate and postgraduate students from Art History, Media, Film, Theatre, Performance and Cultural Studies to apply for our international program. Each participant may choose from three seminars led by a pair of scholars from Northwestern University (Evanston, USA) and the University of Cologne. 2014’s program includes seminars on Art History, Theatre and Performance Studies and Film and Media Studies. In addition to our seminars we offer interdisciplinary academic workshops that allow for a dialogue across the seminars. Each participant can choose one seminar and a workshop, thus composing his/her individual study program. Seminars and workshops are framed by study trips, evening lectures by faculty, and poster presentations by students.

[sic!] will be hosted by the Theaterwissenschaftliche Sammlung (TWS) of Cologne University, one of the largest archives of theatre history in Europe. Situated in the picturesque manor house Schloss Wahn, located in the outskirts of Cologne, [sic!] provides a unique setting for learning and discussion, combining gracious surroundings with facilities for daily meetings, and offering access to exceptional archival materials in proximity to one of Germany's most vibrant metropolises.

All sessions will be conducted in English.

A provisional timetable and more information can be found on our website


The Invisible

While [sic!] 2013 looked into questions and theories about “Techniques of Imagination”, this year’s program investigates “The Invisible”. The ambiguity of this topic – seemingly an anathema for Media and Cultural Studies – turns our attention to important questions of methodological approaches to what cannot be seen (anymore) but was/is there nevertheless. “The Invisible” also turns our attention to phenomena that transcend our perceptual order. How are these phenomena always connected to medial and artistic strategies? What methodological approaches are used to work with them? The framing questions – how can “The Invisible” be shown, performed, depicted, enacted, researched? – guarantee stimulating dialogue between all disciplines at [sic!] 2014. The perspectives on “The Invisible” can be rooted in theatre, media and art history, film studies, archaeology, digital media, video games, cultural history, performance practice, and many more traditions.

[sic!] 2014 invites scholars and students alike to look for old manifestations, new traces, and novel approaches (in)to cultural history and historiography.


The application form can be found on our website

Any questions may be directed to Sascha Förster:


Seminar – Theatre Studies

– Tracy C. Davis, Peter W. Marx

Is it there? Yet? Again? Still? The invisible challenges our sense of perceptual order – it marks an uncertainty that goes beyond semiotic questions of re-presentation and mere physical sight: is there more than we can see? And if so, how do we know? And can we share this insight?

While Brecht’s Galileo tries to persuade the cardinals to just ‘look’ (through the telescope) and discover the truth lying open in front of their eyes, Hamlet assures Horatio that there are more things in heaven and earth “Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” For Galileo scientific truth is as visible as the Ghost is to Hamlet. The visible and the invisible are contingent categories depending on cultural and epistemological frameworks. Through representation, we can understand the invisible as a cultural category that transcends optics and literal sight. The invisible registers in various forms of art and media, taking many shapes and forms, challenging the semiotic order and categories of experience. Beyond offering experiences of the invisible, art and media create intellectual reflections of the invisible and thus develop theory about it.

Theatre is granted unique license to render visible what is otherwise invisible. At the same time, theatre reflects contingent orders of visibility, the senses, and truth-telling predominant in each culture and in relation to specific artistic and historic frames. What are these differences? We will explore perspectives on the history of invisibility, its relation to theatre in various contexts, and the challenges and potential of a historiography of the invisible.


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