Brown University and the Freie Universitat Berlin

13-14 March 2009 ▪Grant Recital Hall, 1 Young Orchard Avenue▪Brown University







Welcome to the Symposium Website


This interdisciplinary symposium brings together Brown faculty from several departments with five invited scholars from the Free University of Berlin to examine “theatricality” and its relationship to goals and methods of performance studies and the humanities.

In everyday parlance the term “theatricality” often implies a suspicious lack of authenticity or truth—an excess of expressive means that must be controlled or monitored. How and with what consequences did theatricality acquire this pejorative meaning in the western world? How does theatricality inhabit cultural practices beyond the theater proper, and how can we explain its pervasive influence in communicative contexts of all kinds?

This symposium explores the appearance of theatricality in diverse cultural performances including opera, political spectacle, popular music, video games, dance and avant-garde theater. We will question how it reproduces or subverts power relations, what role it plays in individual and collective identity formation, how it is reinscribed in newer forms of media, and how it can be manipulated for social and political effects.

This event is free and open to the public.

[a longer description of the Symposium topic]




Event Sponsored by:

Office of International Affairs

The Cogut Center for the Humanities

Department of German Studies

Department of Music

Department of Theater, Speech, and Dance