From the Rubble of War: Rebuilding Cultural Landscapes in Berlin and Vienna
During her stay at the IFK, Rebecca Rovit will explore how multinational cultural policy influenced „first responder“ artists and theatre repertoire in post-World War II Berlin and Vienna. How did performing artists collaborate to remediate cultural life after the upheaval caused by war and the concurrent breakdown of social systems? The comparative study addresses an emerging cultural heritage of a military occupation that reset the balance of power in postwar Europe. The project also examines a turning point in theatre history. As Alon Confino has suggested, we cannot separate the memory of World War II in a given European society from how that culture developed the idea of „memory “ after 1945 to understand the past, including the personal and public narratives of that nation. Drawing on archival work and cultural memory studies, the project interrogates historiographical and national narratives within German-language theatre in two cultural capitals after the Holocaust and during the Cold War.
Rebecca Rovit is Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Kansas. She teaches courses in Script Analysis, Theatre History, Theatre and Genocide, and Cultural Memory at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her research explores the cultural heritage of the Holocaust, including art produced by prisoner-artists „in situ“ and the role of the performing arts under duress: within Nazi Germany, and in ghetto and camp settings. Her book, The Jewish Kulturbund Theatre Company in Nazi Berlin (2012), is a microhistory of an all-Jewish theatre company that coexisted with the Nazi regime. She is editor of the „Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism“ and has written widely on topics in theatre historiography, performance, trauma, and the Holocaust. During Trinity Term 2016 she was a Visiting Senior Associate at Pembroke College, the University of Oxford. She is working on a new book that explores German-language theatre under multinational occupation in the aftermath of World War II. Rebecca Rovit is currently Fulbright/IFK_Senior Fellow.
„Berlin’s ,First Responder‘ Artists, 1945-46: Theatre and Politics from the Rubble“, Theatre History Studies 35 (forthcoming, 2016); „Cracks in the Berlin Wall: Identity, Remembrance, and the Jewish Kulturbund Theatre“, Special feature on DVD release of the DEFA films „Die Schauspielerin“ (1988) and „Spuren“ (1989), University of Massachusetts (Amherst): DEFA Film Library, 2014; The Jewish Kulturbund Theatre Company in Nazi Berlin, Iowa 2012; with Alvin Goldfarb, Theatrical Performance during the Holocaust: Documents, Texts, Memoirs, Baltimore 1999.
Rebecca Rovit, Fulbright/ IFK_Senior Fellow in winter fall 2016 wrote her Editor’s Note, inspired by many discussions at the IFK during her stay at the IFK.The journal issue for Fall 2016 has been published and is available on PROJECT MUSE.
When the Red Army and Allied forces entered Berlin in 1945, the war had destroyed the city’s infrastructure, disrupting all “familiar points of reference—of community, of social and cultural network” for Germans caught in the transition.(1) Rebecca Rovit examines the effects of war and military occupation on an emergent theatre repertoire.