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GE15: Modern German Cultures of Performance

This paper will be permanently suspended with effect from the academic year 2022–23. Two new papers will be announced as replacements: they will be known as GE12 and GE13, and will replace content from the current GE9, GE10, GE13 and GE15.

This paper draws on the key role that the German-speaking world has played in the development of cultures of performance over the last century. It explores theories and practices of performance in different media - theatre, film, television, dance, sport, visual and performance art - investigating their specific character and the relationships between them. The paper is particularly concerned with how modes of performance mediate, and mediate between, aesthetic and ideological questions, across a dramatic period of political and cultural history. The legacy of Brecht, as the most significant pioneer of twentieth-century performance on the stage but also a key influence on performance on screen, will form a core focus for the paper.


Introduction to Theories and Practices of Performance

Weimar Dance and Physical Theatre: Expression, Entertainment and Politics

Bodies in Performance under National Socialism

Society on Stage: Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater

Screening the Real: Documentary Cinema in the Twenty-first Century

Preparatory reading: 

See Moodle site, link below.

Teaching and learning: 

Four modules will be active for teaching and examining in a given year, along with Theories and Practices of Performance. Each of the modules will be taught through two hours of lectures and one seminar during the Michaelmas and Lent terms. There will also be lectures devoted to theories and practices of performance. There will be a single session to coordinate revision in the Easter term.

Students taking the paper will be expected to attend all of the lectures and seminars. Two supervisions will be offered for each topic. Supervision can also be provided for optional dissertations on relevant topics.

For general guidance on the paper, module descriptions and the reading list, please see the GE15 Moodle site here.


The examination will include two questions for each of the four active modules and for theories and practices of performance. Students will be required to answer three questions in total, covering three modules, or two modules and Theories and Practices of Performance.

Course Contacts: 
Prof Andrew Webber (Until September 2021)
Dr Lucia Ruprecht (MT 2021)
Dr Leila Mukhida (LT/ET 2022)