Katrin Sieg




Faculty - SFS


My research has sought to illuminate the processes by which performance practices in modern Germany have both constituted and challenged social power relations. In my books I have asked how women artists have grappled with seemingly neutral but in fact deeply gendered notions of literary or artistic quality, which have marginalized and devalued women’s cultural accomplishments; how postwar Germans ‘unlearned’ the Nazis’ scientific racism and struggle with (and against) democratization; and how contemporary Europeans overcome ethno-nationalist notions of belonging, and invent transnational, cross-cultural, antiracist forms of community.

I study performance both in the narrow sense of looking at playscripts, practitioners, and stages, and in the wider sense of interpreting embodied, non-discursive practices—ranging from investigative journalism, to leisure practices and urban festivals—through which social behavior and norms are encoded, transmitted, refashioned, and challenged. Since I began working in the interdisciplinary context of European cultural studies, my research has expanded to encompass film, biography and autobiography, and crime fiction. My critical framework is drawn from feminist and queer theory, postcolonial, and critical race theory.

Since completing my last book (Choreographing the Global), I have been writing about postmigrant theater and performance, initially by studying productions at the Ballhaus Naunynstrasse in Berlin-Kreuzberg, and more recently in relation to transnational video installations by Ming Wong and Branwen Okpako. In addition, I participated in the transdisciplinary research network "The Eurovision Song Contest and the 'New Europe.' The essays that came out of that collaborative work address European discourses of postsocialist integration, cosmopolitan empire, and neoliberal race.