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MC: Darko Lukić: Strategies of Subversion and cultural mythologies - multiple voices of collective memory in contemporary playwriting

When Oct 26, 2017
from 10:00 to 02:00
Where Phil I, GCSC, R.001
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 641 / 99-30 131
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The masterclass will explore and discuss the following issues:

  • how playwriting can access collective memory through individual reminiscence
  • whether playwrights can access collective or cultural trauma through their own individual remembrance
  • the representational strategies playwrights can use to deconstruct national mythologies and dominant cultural narratives in a  theatre of recollection
  • how subversive strategies of writing about cultural trauma relate to dominant national mythologies.


In this masterclass we will try to rethink theories of trauma writing and the literature of trauma derived from Trauma Studies (Kali Tal 1998 - We will also consider important approaches which challenge or even oppose the concept of cultural trauma (Caruth, Weinberg, Kansteiner & Weilnböck).

The masterclass will discuss the specific position of drama and playwriting in confronting the stereotypes of collective memory and how this could contribute to the deconstruction of national mythologies.

Through reflection on the particular position of the playwright in post-authoritarian and post-conflict societies we will explore the possibilities and limits of playwriting in challenging national and nationalist mythologies through performativity and cultural transformation. One case study will explore how Croatian dramatists have addressed tragedies resulting from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, with individual experiences proving one way of resisting collectivized, national mythologies. By drawing on broader examples, we will consider how the Croatian case relates to the broader paradigms of war literature, mythologies and trauma writing. In my book The War Trauma Drama, I developed the concept of “war trauma playwriting” as a specific form of the “trauma literature” genre. This is one of the concepts we will consider here, exploring its broader applicability, in multiple cultural settings where a key concern is challenging common, often nationalist myths, and instead making room for an individual, critical approaches

Beyond theatre studies and trauma studies, the approaches developed Jay Winter and Andreas Langenohl offer important points for investigating post-authoritarian communities.


For PhD researchers in interdisciplinary cultural studies, the masterclass could have relevance in rethinking and reexamining the role of performativity and performance, including drama, playwriting and memory theatre, in processes of cultural representation. It is also particularly relevant to those in memory studies, offering broader reflection on relations of the individual and collective. The intention of the masterclass is to encourage discussion about relationships and dependence between subversive playwriting and construction/deconstruction of the national myth(ologies) in processes of making collective memory.  



Recommended reading:

Duncan S. A. Bell: Mythscapes: memory, mythology, and national

Identity, British Journal of Sociology. Volume 54, Issue 1

March 2003 Pages 63–8.


For optional information on Croatian playwriting 1990s and 2000s:

Maria Ignatieva: Links in the Chain

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