4 credits / T 2:00 – 4:45 pm
Taught by Gabriele Brandstetter, Eberhard Berent Goethe Chair
Since the global spread of the COVID 19-pandemic, the mask has become a part of our social everyday life in a novel way. It serves as a filter and hygiene-object, it marks rules of distance and physical boundaries to prevent infection. In theatre, dance and rituals in various cultures, masks are and have been used as (cult) objects of transformation. This transformative potential of masquerade highlights situations and interactions between identity and de-facement in role-playing, in festivities like carnival and masked balls and in artistic works such as photography, film and performance. Furthermore, the notion of „masquerade“ has become a key-word in feminist and queer theory since the 1990s (with Judith Butler, Marjorie Garber, Teresa de Lauretis among others) and in the following critical reflection of the debate around identity, body politics and strategies of de-hierarchization. The following subject areas of masks and masquerade will be among the topics of the seminar: moments of history and culture of masks in dance, performance and ritual; texts and examples of gender- and queer-theory of masquerades; research, reflection and practical handling of the current situation of wearing masks during the “Covid” life (cf. G. Agamben; J. L. Nancy). In the course, we will read texts focusing on theory, aesthetics and politics of masks/masquerade (e.g. by J. Riviere, D. Haraway, J. Butler, J. Halberstam, A. Bolton, Trajal Harrel (on Voguing), K. Mezure and K. Sieg (on “Ethnic Drag”). The understanding of these texts will be deepened through the analysis of masks in dance (from e.g. M. Wigman, K. Jooss to contemporary dance and performance (ORLAN) and de-colonial approaches), in fashion, in Japanese dance/theater-tradition, in contemporary queer performances of vogueing and in ethnic drag.