“Theatre of Crisis. Aesthetic Responses to a Cross-Sectional Condition” June 20-23, 2019, University of Graz, Austria
Julia Boll, CDE Secretary
The 2019 CDE conference officially opened with the welcoming words by the conference organiser Nassim Balestrini (University of Graz), Maria Löschnigg (University of Graz), and Leo Lippert (University of Vienna). The President of the society Ute Berns thanked the conference organisers for their work and commitment. The conference organisers then introduced the conference theme, followed by a welcome by Martin Löschnigg, the deputy head of the Institute of English Studies at the University of Graz.
After dinner, the conference participants made their way into Graz city centre to attend a performance of Ayad Akhtar’s The Who and the What at Schauspielhaus Graz, followed by a roundtable discussion with dramaturgs and other representatives of the theatre.
The second day started with the conference’s first keynote: Erin Hurley (McGill University, Montréal), “Community Vitality and Minority-language Theatre: English-language Drama and Theatre in Modern Québec” (chaired by Nassim Balestrini). Hurley traced English-language theatre’s status as a minority theatre in francophone Québec, arguing that the crisis of anglophone theatre in Québec does not register as a crisis.
Conference Report: 27th CDE Conference: Fear and Anxiety in Contemporary Drama
May 31-June 3, 2018, University of Hildesheim
by Dr. Julia Boll CDE Secretary
The 2018 CDE conference officially opened with the welcome speeches by the conference organiser Stefani Brusberg-Kiermeier and the Dean of the University of Hildesheim’s Faculty of Arts Prof. Dr. Jens Roselt. The President of the society Prof. Dr. Ute Berns thanked the conference organisers for their work and commitment. She then informed the members of the recent death of long-standing member of CDE, Dr. Christoph Henke, PD (Augsburg), who died the weekend before the conference. A minute of silence followed.
The President then announced the two winners of the Bi-Annual CDE Award for outstanding dissertations (jury: Annette Pankratz, Kerstin Schmidt, Christina Wald). She read the laudations for Cyrielle Garcon and Jan Suk, who shared the prize this year: Cyrielle Garson (Univ. de Avignon) for her thesis Beyond Documentary Realism: Aesthetic Transgression in Contemporary British Verbatim Theatre, and Jan Suk (Charles University Prague) for The Poetics of Immanence: Performance Theatre of Forced Entertainment. Both theses will be published as monographs in the CDE book series.
RADAC 40th Anniversary Conference: Crossing Borders: Contemporary Anglophone Theatre in Europe
Paris, October 11th-12th, 2018
Susan Blattès (President RADAC) ILCEA4 Université Grenoble Alpes
This conference had several objectives. First, we wanted to celebrate the 40th anniversary of RADAC (Recherches sur les Arts Dramatiques Anglophones Contemporains), an association of scholars and theatre professionals set up in France in 1978. Second, as a group which increasingly involves members from other countries, we wanted to look at the wider issue of the place of contemporary Anglophone theatre in continental Europe. Finally, by involving speakers and participants from many different European countries, we thought that the conference would allow us to consider how to increase collaboration amongst drama and theatre scholars throughout Europe, with a view to setting up a European network. We decided therefore to include in the conference programme a session in which this could be discussed.
The conference ran for two complete days and brought together around 70 academics and theatre professionals, translators and publishers. Papers were given in parallel panels during the morning. In all, twenty papers were given dealing with a wide range of playwrights, types of play or topics concerning the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Spain and France, of course. All panels were chaired by specialists coming from the various countries mentioned as well as Britain and Germany. The panels all included a mix of nationalities while speakers ranged from PhD students to internationally recognised scholars. The papers gave rise to fascinating discussions in which our common interest in Anglophone theatre was confronted with the specific contexts of theatre production in other European countries (translating, publishing, programming performing …).
The afternoons were organised differently. There were two round-tables: one brought together theatre practitioners (writers, actors, directors) who discussed the challenges of producing Anglophone theatre in a non-Anglophone context. A second round-table focused specifically on issues relating to translation and the publishing of translated plays (round-table participants came from France, Germany and Italy). Another session was organised in which those scholars who belonged to a network of theatre researchers extending beyond their own institution presented their group. This included CDE (Contemporary Drama in English) in Germany which functions in a similar way to RADAC, the Contemporary Drama Barcelona group from Spain, and one from Rome. All groups brought up the question of funding conferences, publications, supporting doctoral students etc. A thorough presentation of European funding was given by two representatives from Sorbonne University. Many of the participants expressed the desire to collaborate at the European level.
Two keynote addresses were given. Elisabeth Angel-Perez (Sorbonne University) discussed the presence of Anglophone theatre in France and the role played by certain directors and translators in getting these works performed in France. Peter Boenisch (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama) looked at the work of English directors on the continental stage, insisting particularly on two directors (Robert Icke and Joe Hill-Gibbons) in Holland, Germany and German-speaking Switzerland.
Each day ended with an appropriate climax. Day one concluded with An Irish Story by Kelly Rivière (surtitled by students from Paris 8 under the guidance of Marie Nadia Karsky).
At the end of day two the conference participants were treated to an interview of celebrated playwright Simon Stephens by Dan Rebellato (Royal Holloway London). Simon Stephens is an ideal dramatist to interview in relation to the theme of the conference. Firstly, his own work has been put on across Europe, notably thanks to his collaboration with Sebastian Nübling. Secondly, Simon Stephens has contributed to the circulation of non-Anglophone plays in the UK, having translated/adapted works by playwrights such as Brecht, Chekhov and Ibsen. The discussion between Dan Rebellato and Simon Stephens brought out the importance of crossing borders in Stephens’s work and in the Anglophone theatre in general. Despite the many serious themes evoked, Stephens and Rebellato managed to end on an optimistic note about the role of theatre in Europe to the delight of the conference participants.
A selection of the papers will be published in 2019 along with highlights from the round-table discussion in a special issue of Coup de Théâtre.
“Nation, Nationhood and Theatre”: 26th Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (CDE)
Reading (Department of Film, Theatre & Television at the University of Reading/UK),
29 June–02 July 2017
Julia Boll (Konstanz, Germany)
The 26th CDE conference, hosted at the Minghella building (Dept. of Theatre and Film) at the University of Reading, provided a platform to discuss the representation of issues of nation and nationhood in contemporary theatre and drama in English, a very topical theme in the year after the referendum on Britain’s EU membership, and in times of a global rise of nationalisms and populist movements.
The conference started with a welcome address by local organisers Vicky Angelaki and John Bull. They stressed the uniqueness of CDE and how the background of many members of the society is intricately connected to questions of nation and nationality. They also commented on the society’s spirit of community, reflected in the practise of avoiding parallel sessions, and then spoke about the critical momentum of the conference, the case of worrying nationalism, of jingoism, and how theatre might be the best way of approaching these issues. Continue reading “Conference Report: “Nation, Nationhood and Theatre””→
Marisa Kerbizi, “Alexander Moisiu” University of Durrës (Albania) and CEO of “Association of Heritage and Education”
“Education and Cultural Heritage” Conference was organized by Association of Heritage and Education in cooperation with Cultural Association Konitza, on June 10, 2017. The conference was hosted by Belgian-Italian Chamber of Commerce, Brussels, Belgium. Scholars from well known academic institutions and universities in the region took part in this conference; worthy to mention a few, La Sapienza University of Rome, Tirana University, “Alexander Moisiu” University, Ministry of Research Technology and Higher Education of Indonesia, Volgograd University, Danubius University of Galati, South-East European University, “Ismail Qemali” University, European University of Tirana,“Fan Noli” University but also Institute of National Economy Bucharest, FEDRA, Young Ambassadors Program Initiative, Centre for the Modern History Documentation of Volgograd Region, etc.
The conference featured a welcoming note by Counselor for Education, Associate Professor Pranvera Kamani, representative of Mission of Albania in EU. A very interesting speech was held by Ms.Amet Gjanaj, Deputy in Belgium Parliament. A Special Guest in ICECH Conference was Ms.Haxhi Bajraktari, Minister-Counselor in Embassy of Kosovo Republic in Brussels. Conference keynote speakers were Prof. Dr. Dhimitër Doka, Tirana University and Associate Professor PhD Gabriela Marchis, Danubius University of Galati, Romania.
Letters: International and Interdisciplinary Academic Conference
Interhotel Cherno More, Varna, Bulgaria
27-29 April 2017
Peyo Karpuzov, St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Convened at the Bulgarian coast of the Black Sea, the conference gathered scholars with a wide range of interests within the humanities from China through Europe to the USA and Canada. It was organised jointly by the Bulgarian Society for British Studies (BSBS) and the Bulgarian American Studies Association (BASA) in conjunction with the Alma Mater Centre of Excellence in the Humanities at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and the Faculty of Modern Languages at St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo. The topic of the conference, ingeniously devised to accommodate papers on the two principle meanings of the word “letters” as graphic signs and written messages and all the space between them, gave the participants generously free licence to unfold their creativity and self-expression which everyone took due advantage of. Additionally, the conference hosted a Transatlantic Seminar on the US recent presidential elections.
The conference featured a welcoming note by Ludmilla Kostova (University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria), who presided diligently over the organising committee and the smooth flow of the event, three plenary lectures by prominent scholars, twelve concurrent sessions – among which an experimental Skype panel which proved a daring but altogether successful endeavour – and an afternoon sightseeing trip to the botanical gardens and Queen Marie of Romania’s summer residence in nearby Balchik. The first-day keynote lecture by Tsenka Ivanova, Dean of the Faculty of Modern Languages, University of Veliko Tarnovo, focused on alphabets as crossroads of culture and politics. The keynote speaker on the second day was ESSE’s President Liliane Louvel (Université de Poitiers, France) who dwelled on the mediating role of letters between texts and images, exemplified by a vast array of pictorial representations from the past and present. Distinguished poet and scholar Nick Norwood (Columbus State University, GA, USA) delivered the last plenary lecture on the third day of the conference, capturing the audience’s attention with his talk on Richard Howard’s epistolary strategies. The papers, presented in the concurrent sessions, built on the plenary insights and brought the discussion of “letters” into the multifarious directions and beyond new horizons. The conference was held in the spirit of mutual respect and fruitful exchange of ideas and heated, but friendly, discussions marked especially the third day of the conference, after the joyful trip to Balchik had served as a socialising catalyst among the participants.
The proceedings of the conference are to be published in the annual STUDIA PHILOLOGICA UNIVERSITATIS TARNOVENSIS series at the beginning of 2018.
“Theatre and Mobility”: 25th Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (CDE)
Eichstätt (Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt),
26–29 May 2016
Sarah Heinz (Mannheim, Germany)
In what has been termed the ‘mobility turn’ by scholars like John Urry or Tim Cresswell, research has analysed the complexities of economic, social, and political spaces, dealing with both the historical development of movement and mobility and today’s world of social networks, airtravel, multinational corporations, and SMS texting, among others. Contemporary stages have in the last decades addressed this issue of mobility in a multicultural and global world. Playwrights and audiences alike have been fascinated with aspects and processes related to mobility and its many aspects, e.g. ethical issues like hospitality and unequal access to mobility, technological and virtual mobility, migration and displacement, or mobile and immobile bodies on stage. The 25th CDE conference, hosted at the historical Collegium Willibaldinum at Eichstätt, provided a platform to discuss what mobility might mean in the ‘here and now’ of contemporary theatre and drama and how aspects like gender, race, or class might reflect and inflect issues and representations of mobility. Continue reading “Conference Report: 25th Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (CDE)”→
We were delighted to host the 13th ESSE conference at National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland. There were 3 plenary lectures, 17 sub-plenary lectures, 80 seminars, 10 round tables, 5 special PhD sessions and a poster session as well as the ESSE General Assembly and book awards ceremony.
Approximately 800 delegates attended this very busy conference. Special events included the Welcome Reception, a Sean Nós Song and Dance Performance from The Centre of Irish Studies, readings by the novelist Mike McCormack and the poet Mary O’ Malley, the conference dinner in the Radisson Hotel (including Irish music and dancing performances), three plays by the Fishamble theatre company, and a special closing seminar on women and contemporary theatre from the Druid Theatre Academy. Delegates could enjoy a tour of the library and special collections on any day of the conference and the exhibition “Shakespeare Lives through Kenneth Branagh on Stage and Screen” was on display in the library.
Emma Smith, the Cultural Studies plenary speaker, entertained us with “The Biography of a Book: Shakespeare’s First Folio.” Since the theme of this issue of the ESSE Messenger is Shakespeare Lives, Emma Smith has kindly published her lecture. Paul Baker was the Linguistics plenary speaker, delivering a fascinating lecture entitled “Divided by a Common Language? A Comparison of Recent Change in American and British English.” Colm Tóibín, the Literature plenary speaker, captivated the audience with “As Things Fall Apart: The Response to Violence in the Work of W.B. Yeats and James Joyce.”
Liliane Louvel, ESSE’s President, addressed the ESSE membership at the General Assembly. There was applause for Alberto Lazaro and Smiljana Komar, who have been re-elected as ESSE’s Treasurer and ESSE’s Secretary for another three year term. The prestigious ESSE book awards were presented to the prize winners.
Borders and Crossings: An International and Multidisciplinary Conference on Travel Writing,
Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce, Poland, 12-14 September 2016
Eva Oppermann, Kassel
Held for the second time in former Eastern Europe, this conference, which is the 13th Borders and Crossings Conference since 1998, was hosted by the Department of Modern Languages of the Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, Poland. Dr. Agnieszka Szwach and associate professor Magdalena Ożarska, as its main organizers, did an excellent, extremely supportive, job. In eighteen sessions, more than fifty speakers from nearly twenty countries and about fifteen disciplines have covered a wide range of topics concerning travel writing of all ages. The two keynote lectures, “Illusion, immediacy, and the “vehicle of description” in travel writing and travel illustration” by Benjamin Colbert (university of Wolverhampton) and Ludmilla Kostova’s (St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria) “Intercultural mediation in travel writing and its (dis)contents: the cases of Mary Wortley Montagu and Rebecca West” introduced various topics of wider interest in the field: Colbert discussed the concepts of both the picturesque and subjectivity in connection with travel writing, especially with description and illustration. Kostova introduced xenophilia, interpretation and mediation as means of understanding the “other” in women’s travel writing. The topics of the sessions included a concentration on various national literatures (e.g. Polish, French, Russian and British), gender (women’s travels), non-human travel (esp. animals; the space travel of science fiction was not represented), or travel in important works of literature. Continue reading “Conference Report: Borders and Crossings Kielce, Poland, 12-14 September 2016”→
Games of Empires. Historico-Cultural Connotations of Board Games in Transnational and Imperial Contexts
Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany, 21-23 April 2016
Katrin Berndt (Associate Professor, University of Bremen, Germany)
As a universally shared human activity and a fundamental form of cultural expression, playing has been an object of research in the humanities and the social sciences since philosopher Karl Groos developed his evolutionary psychological theory of play in Die Spiele der Menschen (1899; Engl. The Play of Man). To sketch out and establish a historico-cultural approach to the genre of board games was the aim of Games of Empires, an interdisciplinary conference organized by the Department of Ancient History and the Chair for Transcultural Anglophone Studies of Saarland University that took place from 21 to 23 April 2016 in Saarbrücken, Germany.
EASA 13 Conference: Australia as Topos – The Transformation of Australian Studies
University of Pannonia, Veszprém, Hungary
ANDRÁS, Ferenc – FORINTOS, Éva
The town of Veszprém in Hungary has in many ways been at the cusp of history throughout its 7,000 years of known existence. The surrounding hills witnessed the decisive battles fought in the region more than 1,000 years ago. In several ways Veszprém is also a cultural capital: it was the first Hungarian city to have a university level educational institution in the 13th century. We are delighted to announce that the University of Pannonia (Veszprém, Hungary), in cooperation with Topos – Bilingual Journal of Space and Humanities and the Veszprém Regional Branch of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences successfully hosted the 13th biannual international conference of the European Association for Studies on Australia (EASA) between 30 September and 3 October 2015. Continue reading “Conference Report: EASA 13 Conference, Veszprém, Hungary”→
“Afroeuropeans 2015”: Black Cultures and Identities in Europe
The 5th Biennial Afroeuropean Studies Network Conference
Jean d’Amour Banyanga (PhD Student, Åbo Akademi University, Finland)
From 16 to19 September 2015, the fifth biennial Afroeuropean Studies Network conference took place in the beautiful city of Münster, Germany. There were 170 participants from 15 countries: Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Romania, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the USA. The conference featured keynote lectures, paper presentations, panel discussions, and cultural events on the literature, history, music, art, politics, and youth culture of Africans and their descendants in Europe. Since a full report on all events and sessions would be impossible, the following account is limited to a representative selection. The conference opened in the evening of Wednesday 16 September 2015 with the screening of the film Real Life: Deutschland, followed by a discussion with the director, Nancy Mac Granaky-Quaye from Cologne. Continue reading “Conference Report: “Afroeuropeans 2015”, Münster 2015″→
“Theatre and Spectatorship”: 24th Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English (CDE)
University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 4–7 June 2015
Sarah Heinz (Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany)
Research into spectatorship and the role of audience has stressed that the spectator is a corporeal presence and indispensable to a performance but that as a concept spectatorship is slippery and difficult to define. Seminal publications like Susan Bennett’s Theatre Audiences (1990) or Jacques Rancière’s The Emancipated Spectator (2009) have highlighted both the interest of theatre practitioners in the role of the spectator and its comparative scholarly neglect up to the 1980s. In this context, scholarly work has increasingly focused on the productive, collaborative role of audiences and spectators, contributing to a decisive paradigm shift in the field which, with its emphasis on ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ respectively, has long linked spectatorship with passivity. Since then, there has been a gradual yet sustained increase in interventions in the field. The 24th CDE conference at the University of Barcelona, hosted at the 15th-century Residència Salesiana Martí-Codolar, reflected on such theoretical, methodological as well as artistic work on spectatorship in the context of contemporary theatre and drama in English. Continue reading “Conference report: “Theatre and Spectatorship”, Barcelona 2015”→