The year 2020 has not only seen a global pandemic but also an intensification of major geopolitical issues and transnational problems. COVID-19 caused a world-wide recession; subjected the institutional frameworks and support systems of many countries to a stress test (with regard to public health, social security, education, media, and democratic governance); increased racial, gender, class, and generational inequalities as well as political polarization; accelerated a shift to remote learning, home offices, and live streaming performances; and primarily benefited online entrepreneurs and not the essential workers keeping society afloat. On the one hand, many countries spontaneously reacted to the challenges of COVID-19 by retreating into nationalism instead of coordinating their responses with other countries. On the other hand, exacerbated by the social disparities laid bare by the pandemic, the police execution of George Floyd in Minneapolis triggered the largest international anti-racist protests since the 1960s. COVID-19, in conjunction with other major natural disasters, also reinforced the public perception of a highly fragile ecological environment.
For the Brecht-Jahrbuch/Brecht Yearbook 47, we are looking for articles that address how Brecht’s work cannot only help us make sense of these times but also provide ideas for creating a livable, sustainable, and socially just future. What can Brecht’s plays on fascism (The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Fear and Misery of the Third Reich) tell us about the “autocratic attempts” (Masha Gessen) of our time? How can Brecht’s understanding of his own writings and theater productions as almost scientific Versuche (“experiments”) inform our response to the rejection of science, reason, facts, and expertise by an increasing number of people in recent years? How can we resist a surveillance capitalism (Shoshana Zuboff) that allows lies to travel faster than facts? And how can we use Brecht’s “radio theory” of the early 1930s to reconceive the internet as a social commons not owned by a few entrepreneurs who have reduced it to profit-generating clickbait and the exploitation and manipulation of personal data? Live theater with actors and spectators in the same space is usually considered preferable to online performances, but is this also true for Brecht’s “learning plays” (Lehrstücke), given the interactive potential of a platform like Zoom? What will be the future not only of publicly or privately financed, metropolitan or regional theater companies but also of independent theatre projects – during and following the pandemic? Will we see the emergence of “small, agile forms of struggle” (Brecht) in theatre – live, online, or hybrid? What are we to make of the concept of Verfremdung in this new communal and theatrical context that is marked by social distancing and mask-wearing? How does Brecht’s dramatization of a plague-haunted society (Life of Galileo) relate to our current experience with COVID-19? How can we develop a critical and interventionist “art of spectating” (Brecht) to counter the tendency of the Society of the Spectacle (Guy Debord) to perceive the ongoing social and ecological crises as “big drama” rather than a call to action? And finally: How can we engage Brecht’s work in the attempt to create a diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist theater in which BIPOC are equally represented – but what are also major limitations with regard to staging Brecht in this context?
Proposals: June 30, 2021
First Drafts: October 30, 2021
Final Submissions: January 31, 2022
Publication Date: November 2022
● Please submit your proposal as an email attachment.
● Your proposal should be a Word document of no more than 350 words.
● Your proposal should present original, unpublished work not under consideration for publication elsewhere.
● If your proposal is accepted, you will be invited to submit a first draft of your article by the deadline indicated above.
● Your article should follow the “Manuscript Preparation Guidelines” or the “Anleitung zur Gestaltung von deutschsprachigen Manuskripten” for the Brecht-Jahrbuch/Brecht Yearbook. See: www.brechtsociety.org (Brecht Yearbook tab)
All proposals, submissions and general inquiries should be sent directly to the managing editor of the Brecht-Jahrbuch/Brecht Yearbook, Markus Wessendorf ([log in to unmask]).
The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Sean Franzel
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: https://grs.missouri.edu/german/german-program-resources