BERLIN: THEATRE OF PUBLIC MEMORY
Avishek Ganguly (Faculty, RISD Literary Arts + Studies)
Germany: Berlin. July 8-26, 2019 (3 weeks)
3 credits, RISD Liberal Arts
In this course we will examine the theatrical and performative nature of history and public memory in post-war Berlin, Germany as part of an ongoing process of working through the city’s traumatic and violent recent pasts. We will look at the memorialization of the Holocaust, the Nazi regime, and the authoritarian nature of the communist GDR, but we will also think about ongoing conversations related to Germany’s colonial repression in Namibia. To witness a different performance of public remembrance and forgetting we will travel to the Ruhr region to visit memorials to Germany’s industrial and mining heritage. We will combine theoretical and historical readings with regular visits to sites of memory around Berlin, a short trip to Weimar and Nuremberg, as well as theatrical performances and artistic responses that engage with this history. There will be multiple guest lectures by prominent theatre workers, performance artists and scholars. By the end of the course you can expect to develop a solid understanding of how performance offers a productive lens for engaging with difficult histories and cultural memory in contemporary Germany; I also hope that the experience of this course will enable you to develop a comparative perspective and reflect on questions of remembrance and forgetting when it comes to traumatic historical events and repercussions of the unfolding present in the United States.
Estimated Cost: $5,675 (includes tuition, accommodation, field trips, group dinners + some meals, museum entrances, health and travel insurance)