CfP: Summer Institute Cologne: Construction Sites (27 Aug - 7 Sep 2018)

05 February, 2018 by Sascha Forster | 0 comments

CfP: Summer Institute Cologne: Construction Sites (27 Aug - 7 Sep 2018)

[sic!] Summer Institute Cologne is an international summer school that takes place at the Theaterwissenschaftliche Sammlung of the University of Cologne in the summer.

Dates: 27 August - 7 September 2018

Location: Theaterwissenschaftliche Sammlung, University of Cologne

In Cooperation with The Graduate School, Northwestern University

Fee: EUR 200.00, for Cologne students: EUR 70.00

Website and Application Form:


Deadline: 28 February 2018


We invite graduate and postgraduate students from Art History, Classics, Comics Studies, Communication, Cultural Studies, Dance, English, Film, German, Japanese Literature, History, Literary Studies, Media, Music, Performance, Sound, Theatre, and related fields to apply for this international interdisciplinary program. (All sessions will be conducted in English.) Participants and faculty of [sic!] 2018 will explore perspectives on the topic Construction Sites through three themed seminars: 

I) Comics & Visual Narration

II) Sound

III) Theatre Historiography

Each seminar will be led by a pair of scholars from Northwestern University (Evanston, USA) and the University of Cologne (Germany). Each participant enrolls in one seminar, thus composing an individual study program. Seminars and workshops are enhanced by excursions, lectures by alumni, poster presentations by students, and social gatherings. The University of Cologne assists participants in identifying accommodation and with other basic logistics.

[sic!] is 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 suburbs of Cologne, [sic!] provides  a unique setting for learning and discussion, combining gracious surroundings with facilities for daily seminars, and offering access to exceptional archival materials in proximity to one of Germany's most vibrant metropolises. 


In a profound way, scholarly projects are "construction sites" that exist in tension between what is visible/readable/undertaken and what unfolds in the work-in-progress. Scholars utilize various skills and techniques towards an end - assembling material, generating insights, crafting arguments - and yet the end result may be very different from what was planned. Being "under construction" implies flexibility, improvisation, and ongoing adaptation.

How is evidence recognized as such and marshalled while arguments are "under construction"? Seminars in Comics & Visual Narration, Sound Studies, and Theatre Historiography explore the implications of this, both for participants' projects and in thinking about how research aggregates into what we call "disciplines" and "fields."



- Prof. Tracy C. Davis (Northwestern) & Prof. Peter W. Marx (Cologne)

This year, the seminar will consider the relationship between two forms of contingency: (1) what the historian does with evidence whilst their research is "under construction," and (2) how history "scales" up to grand narratives and "scales down" to micro studies. What is best for a given question? What are appropriate scholarly protocols for utilizing these different approaches? Applicants interested in any of the following questions will be particularly congruent with this approach:

  • How do choices about methods relate to engagements with historiography in theatre and performance studies?
  • What is the status of various post-event formats (sketches, photography, reviews, anecdotes) in the construction of history?
  • How do we see the historian "at work"? Are anachronism, simultaneity, incongruency, conjecture, located or partial perspectives, or incomparabilities clues to this?
  • Erudition helps historians to identify good questions, but is also crucial for interpretation. But are there times when it gets in the way of seeing evidence?
  • Sometimes, a discerning historian can make a lot from a little: e.g. a single stage prop, vocal inflection, or location can spark an extended study. Sometimes, we need a lot in order to make very modest claims. How can we think about a corpus of evidence holistically as well as singularly?
  • Theatre and performance are manifestations of culture, but are they its symptom or its catalyst? What leads to what?
  • Often, a collection of case studies is taken for sufficient evidence of a central claim. Yet zooming in and out works differently - depth, abstraction, clarity, comparison - when aggregated across cases. How can this be intelligently calibrated?
  • Is historical thinking one flavor of theatre and performance studies, or all? How is the field dynamically addressing history as a factor, especially in relation to current theatre and performance?
  • How is the archiving of performance challenged by the nature of performance? Are there important considerations in relation to specific cultures, periods, and kinds of performance, both to its "disappearance" and "traces"?


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