Since the late 1980s the ‘body’ is a central object of research in cultural studies. In the Department of Languages and Cultures several researchers are dealing with questions related to “performing bodies”. The concept of performing bodies next to ‘figurations’ focuses on historical and cultural “movements of bodies” as well as “moved bodies” and the social, political and media-related technical constraints. The suggested research group will, bring together researchers from different fields and will focus on corporeal practices and the relation of body and performance – respecting the backdrop of the complex and ever-changing history of those terms. Key aspects of cultural studies like individual, collective and cultural identities, perception and interpretation, self-assertion, gender assignments, culture of commemoration and remembrance, are approached beyond static descriptions of symbolic systems in consideration of relativity and effectiveness dissolving single disciplines’ limitations. Certain concepts are considered crucial in the approach of the research group:
1. Corporeal practices as well as semantics coined by bodies and concentrating on practices which create, preserve, reproduce, and change collective systems of value;2. The body perceived as a processual, historical and alterable/modifiable entity while they at the same time realize the body’s functionalities and fixations (Foucault, Butler et al.), not operating through awareness or sense or not exclusively taking place between humans (for example Animal Studies in terms of humans as animal amongst others);3. The body as medium of communication such as cultural techniques, or at the body as agitated and destabilized places, which permanently expand the boundaries but also bodies as object of order and production of knowledge (gender studies, dramatics, etc.);4. The body as the “first and most natural instrument of mankind“ (Mauss) that is able to cultivate and professionalize specific corporeal techniques, both in the “Zweiheit” (“duality” acc. to Gugutzer) of the tangible body and the intangible body as the place of sensual perception and subject constitution, and addressing questions on the relation of one body to the other, the connection of body and technology, body and media, etc.