The internationalization of theatre studies (working title)

Doctoral Student: Theresa Schwarzkopf

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Beate Hochholdinger-Reiterer

Project: History of Theatre Studies – Swiss/Austrian Networks and Contexts

The dissertation project examines processes of international networking in theatre studies in the 1950s to 1970s against the background of the Cold War. One focus is on the hitherto unexplored International Federation for Theatre Research, which was founded in 1957 in transnational collaboration. A second focus is on the various theatre exhibitions in Switzerland and Austria, which were also linked to practices of internationalization, as well as to the creation and representation of national identities.

The investigation of the two topics, which are considered as being in a state of tension with each other, goes to the very heart of the history of theatre studies: it focuses on the question of which topics and scholars dominated the international conferences and exhibitions and thus reproduced existing mechanisms of exclusion and determined the development of the discipline. Particular attention is paid to the Austrian and Swiss actors, whereby another aim of the dissertation is to regard the margins defined by authority and to emphasize people excluded from participation for reasons of discrimination (e.g. Jewish, female, queer people) and to ask about fields of research that continue to be excluded.

Against the background of the Second World War, National Socialism, and the Holocaust, it is of specific interest to investigate the relations between the national institutes, research societies, theatre collections and libraries, both among themselves and in regard to the founding of the first international research society: What functions was the IFTR to fulfil? Which strategies of culture of remembrance and which goals motivated the cooperation? How did the participants position themselves vis-à-vis German-language theatre studies, which was heavily burdened by National Socialism? How did they face each other as victims or perpetrators after these traumatic experiences? Were there any attempts at reconciliation?

With the help of (theatre) historiographical, discourse-analytical, and source-critical approaches, I attempt to extract relevant information from the large corpus of material and to tell the stories of the subjects discussed. The intention is always to proceed responsible and historicizing.