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Katharina Pewny

Prof. Dr. Katharina Pewny

Zelfstandig Academisch Personeel

Director of the research center S:PAM (Studies in
Performing Arts and Media)

Secretaris Examencommissie
Kunstwetenschappen vanaf 2012/2013

1. Contactgegevens

Telefoon: 0032-9-2644129
Fax: 0032-9-2744181
Adres: Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 41, Technicum, Blok 4, 2de verdieping, 9000 Gent
Kantoor: Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 41, Technicum, Blok 4, 2de verdieping

Spreekuur: donderdag 9u-12u, enkel na afspraak

2. Courses


3. Research Interests

From her roots in Performance Studies, the body of Katharina Pewnys research is located within the following three areas: 1. theatre history (Greek classics), 2. contemporary theatre, performance and dance, and 3. new media and communication techonologies. Especially the ethical, political and social aspects of the Performing Arts and Media are of interest. This includes collective (transnational) memory and theatre history. Recently, she is particularly compelled by Ritual Studies and Interreligious Theatre. She invites Ma-, PhD- and postdoctoral projects on the above mentioned and related topics.

In her doctoral thesis, Katharina Pewny studied constructions of gender within contemporary theatre texts. For this research, she applied Platos, Theodor W. Adornos and Luce Irigarays theories of "mimesis" to the artistic corpus. In her Habilitation thesis on the “Theatre of the Precarious”, Katharina Pewny developed the concept of the “precarious” as a new analytical category for Performance Studies. In the course of this project she has translated Emmanuel Lévinas’ ethics into the realm of performance. For this research project she received the highest funding awards given by Austrian funding institutions. Katharina Pewny thus created a firm link between Performance Studies, Gender and Postcolonial Studies. Her, and her teams, current research focusses are death and transformation of form, representations of the "Other", the interplay of media in performance, dramaturgy and/of new theatre texts.

4. Research Projects

Current Projects:

Finished Projects:


5. Main publications

Katharina Pewny is board member of the S:PAM series „Studies in Performing Arts and Media" (Academia Press) and editor of the series “AGent. New Theses in Performance Research


  • 'Relational dramaturgies as a search for the other generation beyond European borders: Veronika Blumstein and Wunderbaum', in: Dramaturgies in the New Millennium : Relationality, Performativity and Potentiality. In Schriftenreihe Forum Modernes Theater 44, 2014
  • 'Tracing the other in the theatre of the precarious (Lola Arias, Elfriede Jelinek, Meg Stuart, Wajdi Mouawad, Christoph Marthaler)', in: ARCADIA, Vol. 49, NR. 2 (2014)
  • 'Performing the Precarious in Europe and in Japan', Forum Modernes Theater 2014
  • 'Die Ethik des Botenberichts in Antike und Gegenwart', Forum Modernes Theater 2010
  • 'Real Theatrical: Transformations in European Theatre in Rimini Protokoll's Karl Marx, das Kapital, erster Band and Call Cutta', in: Sydney Journal of Literature and Aesthetics 2008
  • 'In One Breath. Performance Theory as Queer/Feminist Critique of Violence', in: Sexualidades. Revista de Estudios Sociales 2007


Single Author:


  • Occupy Antigone. Tradition, Transformation, Transition in Performance. Tübingen: Günter Narr 2016
  • Unfolding Spectatorship. Ghent: Academia Press 2015 (in preparation)
  • Dramaturgies in the New Millennium: Relationality, Performativity, Potentiality. Tübingen: Günter Narr 2014. Schriftenreihe Forum Modernes Theater, Nr 44.
  • Zwischenspiele. Neue Texte, Wahrnehnungs- und Fiktionsräume in Theater, Tanz und Performance. Bielefeld: Transcript 2010.
  • Performance, Politik, Gender. Wien: Löcker Verlag 2007.
  • Schnittstelle Lehren und Coachen. Wien: Universität Wien 2003.
  • Differenz/en und Vermittlung. Feminismus – Bildung - Politik. Wien: Edition Frauenhetz 1995.

Academic Bibliography


6. Academic Services

Katharina Pewny is convenor of the Working Group Dramaturgy (Society for Theatre Research), member of the international advisory board of the Elfriede Jelinek research center (Vienna University), member of the "Intermediality Working Group" of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) and member of the editorial board of the journals Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies DiGeSt and of the journal Theatertijdschrift Documenta. She is also a member of the international board der „Elfriede Jelinek Forschungsplattform“ (Vienna University). In 2012, she organized a conference on “Relational Aspects of Dramaturgy”, in cooperation with Johan Callens (VUB) and Katrien Vuylsteke-Vanfleteren. In march 2014, she organized an international conference on „Occupy Antigone“, together with Charlotte Gruber. Since october 2013, she is also member of the board of the School of Art of the Hogeschool Gent (Ghent University College).

She is also editor of the following publication series:

  • (co-)editor  of the publication series Studies in Performing Arts and Media (Academia Press Ghent)
  • (co-)editor of the publication series AGENT. New Theses in Performance Research (Tectum Verlag)
  • Member of the editorial board of the journal Forum Modernes Theater (since 11/16)

She is peer reviewer for funding institutions, international journals and publishing houses in Belgium, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, in the UK, in the US, and in Canada.

7. Joint Research Group Thalia

Together with Inge Arteel (Free University Brussels), she is also director of the Joint Research Group THALIA. Interplay of Theatre, Literature and Media in Performance.


8. Community Service (since 2006)

  • Dramaturge for Victoria Hauke’s choreography ‘( ) else’, Sprechwerk Hamburg (2009)
  • Member of the Theatre and Performance Jury, City of Hamburg (2006-2008)
  • Curator and chair of theoretical discussions at the international theatre and performance festival ‘Her Position in Transition’ (Vienna 2006)


9. Biographical information

Katharina Pewny is Professor of Theatre, Performance and Media Studies and Director of the research center S:PAM (Studies in Performing Arts and Media) at Ghent Universities Art Studies Department. From 2005-2007, she was a research fellow at Hamburg University and at Free University Berlin, in 2004 at University of California Los Angeles. She holds a PhD and a Master from Vienna University in Theatre, Film and Media Studies. She wrote her Master's thesis on ‘Tragedy as a Paradigm and Construction of the Female’ (1993). In her PhD thesis, she applied theories of mimesis to contemporary dramatic art. Her Habilitation thesis (University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, 2009) on the “Theatre of the Precarious” concerns contemporary European Theatre, Dance and Performance Art. In it, she develops the concept of the “precarious” as a new analytical category for Performance Studies. She is a member of the faculty board of the School of Art of the Hogeschool Gent (Ghent University College). Since november 2016, she is also a member of the editorial board of Forum Modernes Theater. Katharina Pewny also worked as a free lance dramaturg, as a theatre critique and festival curator in Hamburg and in Vienna.