Cultural Performance in Transnational American Studies

DFG funded Research Network “Cultural Performance in Transnational American Studies” (wissenschaftliches Netzwerk DFG # BA 3567/4-1, funding: 1/2015-12/2017)

Project Directors (Projektleitung):
Dr. Birgit M. Bauridl (University of Regensburg)
Dr. Pia Wiegmink (JGU Mainz)

This network explores the potential of an integration of Performance Studies approaches into the field of (transnational) American Studies. It investigates how, which, and with what outcome issues that, in the wake of the transnational turn, have become central to the American Studies agenda can be addressed more adequately by the study of ‘cultural performances.’ Based on the idea of culture as a corporeal, communal, and dynamic event rather than a stable textual product, the individual projects arranged in three culturally and spatially specific clusters–the city, the nation, the globe—position the local particularities of cultural performance vis-à-vis the dynamics of global mobility. Firstly, they examine the role and impact of ‘cultural performances’ as particular acts of cultural expression (like daily rituals, festive occasions, or theatrical events) in transnational contact zones—sites in which cultures meet, grapple with each other, and inevitably negotiate questions of socio-political agency, representation, and power. Secondly, they develop and evaluate ‘cultural performance’ as a methodological approach for the study of transnational processes. In sum, the network scrutinizes the benefits and limitations of a deeper and more reflective integration of a Performance Studies approach into American Studies. By bringing together scholars of Performance and American Studies from the US, Europe, and Asia, it constitutes an exemplary site of transnational collaboration and establishes a dialogue across disciplinary boundaries.


Opening Conference “Interdisciplinary Crossroads: Performance Studies in Transnational American Studies” took place in Regensburg from July 23-26, 2015.
Keynote speaker: John Carlos Rowe (USC, Los Angeles)


“Performance Matters: Theories, Concepts, Methods”
10-12 March 2016, U Mainz
Roundtable with Prof. Dr. Friedemann Kreuder, Theater Studies, U Mainz.
Project meeting on theories, concepts, methods.


“Transnational Performance in Practice”
1-3 December 2016, U Rostock
Organization: Dr. Andrea Zittlau.

Workshop guests:
Denise Uyehara
Marina Barsy Janer and Caro Ley


“Politics of Performance in Transnational Scenarios”
13-14 July 2017, U Erfurt
Organization: Prof. Dr. Ilka Saal and Nanne Buurman, M.A.

Workshop guests:
Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Dillon (Northeastern University)
Prof. Dr. David Savran (CUNY)


“Environment Meets Performance: Current Research in Transnational American Studies”
28-30 September 2017, U Regensburg
Altes Finanzamt – Room 319; Landshuter Str. 4, Regensburg
in cooperation with
Research Network “Environmental Crisis and the Transnational Imagination” (DFG)
and the Regensburg European American Forum (REAF)
Organization: Prof. Dr. Timo Müller, Dr. Birgit M. Bauridl, Dr. Pia Wiegmink.

Keynote Speaker:
Prof. Dr. David P. Terry (Louisiana State, Baton Rouge)
Concluding Speaker:
Prof. Dr. Ute Berns (University of Hamburg)

The preliminary program is now available here.
A picture gallery is available here.


Closing Conference: “Cultural Performance in Transnational American Studies”
21-23 June 2018, U Mainz
Organization: Dr. Pia Wiegmink (U Mainz), Dr. Birgit M. Bauridl (U Regensburg)

Keynote Speakers:
Denise Uyehara (performance artist, writer, playwright)
Prof. Dr. Werner Sollors (Harvard University)
Active members of the research network will present on and discuss the topic together with
further confirmed speakers:
Prof. Dr. Ben Chappell (University of Kansas)
Prof. Dr. Celeste-Marie Bernier (University of Edinburgh).

You will find the call for papers here.


For further information on the network (participants, projects, affiliates) please visit: