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The Center for German and European Studies (CGES) invites proposals from University faculty members for interdisciplinary research projects in the humanities, social sciences, law, public policy, and business. Research collaboratives are designed to connect interdisciplinary groups of faculty and graduate students from Minnesota with their counterparts at another academic institution. Typical collaborations are one or two semesters in duration and are designed to create research opportunities that would not otherwise develop at a single institution. Recent collaboratives have included topics as the environmental humanities and Interrogating the Archive.

Collaboratives for the 2020 calendar year includes a collaboration with Europa Universität Viadrina (Frankfurt/Oder) on The City as Political Space: Berlin and the Twin Cities.

Fall 2019 Research Collaborative

TH 8201 Staging a Difficulty Past: The Thirtieth Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Michal Kobialka (Theatre Arts) and Jan Lazardzig (Theaterwissenschaften, Freie Universität Berlin)

While the Berlin Wall was being dismantled in November 1989, it seemed to many that everything was possible, including the creation of a new political and economic system—neither socialism nor capitalism—that would herald a shift towards a new order of things defined by practices hitherto considered to be utopian or not-yet existent.

On the eve of the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the graduate seminar investigates a number of possibilities for thinking about that so-called post-historical condition as well as about the different ways of addressing the idea of staging a difficult past. To accomplish this task, the seminar focusses on the performative and historiographic aspects of the commemorations of the fall of the Berlin Wall as well as on the idea of staging difficult pasts on the both sides of the divide. The seminar, a collaboration the Freie Universität Berlin, is divided into two parts. The first part focusses on discussion of the following issues: theatre/performance historiography (time, space, matter); writing and history; debates concerning foundational and rhetorical histories; historical archives (events, facts, and objects); materialist history; new materialism; and the politics of regret. The second part focusses on students’ research and presentations about the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, and 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. The class culminates in a trip to Berlin in November 2019 in order to locate the theoretical discourses of the seminar in the landscape/topography of Berlin itself.

The seminar will consist of 12 graduate students (six from University of Minnesota, and six from the Freie Universität. In September 2019, all students will meet in Minneapolis for the first part of the course; afterwards they will conduct their research in the USA and Germany. The students will meet in Berlin in November 2019 to attend the events associated with the 30th anniversary of the Fall of Berlin Wall as well as to present their research.