Theatre and Performance Post-‘9/11’ (Seminar)

Theatre and Performance Post-‘9/11’: From the ‘War on Terror’ to Edward Snowden and the NSA (English-Language Seminar)

Mi. 14-16, Campus Westend, IG 1.411

Geöffnet für: Mag: T1, T2, T3, T4 // BA Nf: 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1 // BA Hf: GM1, GP, ÄT // MA TFM: TM T1, VM T1, T2 // DRAM: 2.1, 2.2, 3.1

This course will survey not only the wide range of responses to the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent American-led ‘War on Terror’ with its expansion of global surveillance in specific theatre productions, dramatic texts and performance projects, it will also, inversely, examine the many attempts to interpret and theorize these occurrences by recourse to the terminologies and event structures of theatre, drama and performance. Even though the main focus of this class is on the post-‘9/11’ era, we will occasionally include older sources to provide a more comprehensive context for particular topics. Some of the themes that we will explore in this class include: the ubiquitous use of theatre metaphors in terrorism studies; the theorizations of ‘9/11,’ suicide bombings, hostage takings, and beheadings from a Performance Studies perspective; (mis-) representations of

‘9/11’ in American drama; the resurgence of docudrama in response to the human rights violations and ‘states of exception’ (Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo) occasioned by the ‘War on Terror’; the dramaturgical challenge of engaging with (insurgent/state/counter-) terrorism without reduplicating its spectacularism; the theatricality and performativity of surveillance; and recent theatre productions and performances on surveillance and Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations. We will discuss theoretical texts by Jacques Derrida, Samuel Weber, Giorgio Agamben, Zygmunt Bauman and David Lyon as well as plays and performances by David Greig (The American Pilot), Mark Ravenhill (Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat), Judith Thompson (The Palace at the End) and Forced Entertainment (Showtime). The assigned texts can also be read in German, if translations are available.

Students are expected to attend class regularly, to complete all assigned readings, and to actively participate in discussions. To get full credit, you will need to give an in-class presentation on all required readings for one of the weekly sessions and to submit a term paper at the end of the semester.

Suggested preparatory readings:

  • Rustom Bharucha: Terror and Performance. London and New York: Routledge, 2014.
  • Jenny Hughes: Performance in a Time of Terror. Manchester University Press, 2012.
  • John McGrath: Loving Big Brother: Surveillance Culture and Performance Space. London and New York: Routledge, 2004.