'The Greatest Show on Earth!': The Circus in German Literature and Film (NEMLA, April 30-May 3 2015, Toronto)

full name / name of organization: 
Anna Stainton / University of Toronto, Vanessa Plumly / University of Cincinnati
contact email: 
anna.stainton@utoronto.ca

Recent German literature and film have seen an increased focus on the performative space of the circus. Germany’s longest-running television series Tatort turned to the topic in the episodes ‘Schwindelfrei’(Wiesbaden, 2013) and ‘Zirkuskind’ (Ludwigshafen, 2014) and in literature, authors Zsuzsa Bánk (Die hellen Tage, 2011) and Yoko Tawada (Etüden im Schnee, 2014), among others, have integrated this space into their recent publications. Nevertheless, the circus as a site of academic investigation and inquiry still remains poorly visited from all sides. The circus is, however, not a new cultural phenomena and has been present in German literature and film even before this recent re/turn as evinced in works such as Wim Wenders’ film Wings of Desire (1987), East German DEFA films such as Gerhard Klein’s Alarm im Zirkus (1954), and Günther Grass’s world famous novel Die Blechtrommel(1959). This panel investigates the role of the circus in its past and present manifestations as a site of performance, identity construction, entertainment, surveillance, pleasure, and violence and proposes answers to the question of why at a time when the circus as an art form and leisure space of society is in decline, it has, nevertheless, become all the more prominent in contemporary German cultural productions. Furthermore, we seek to identify what, if anything, is particularly German about the circus as it is presented in such works.

Abstract Submission: Please follow the link provided to submit abstracts to this panel. https://nemla.org/convention/2015/cfp.html#cfp15304

cfp categories: 
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
film_and_television
interdisciplinary