Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies

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07.09.2014 – 13.09.2014

In 2014 the international Summer School of the Graduate School of East and Southeast European Studies took place in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The focus laid on an interdisciplinary discussion of the term Performance. Apart from PhD students from Munich and Regensburg doctoral candidates of the Babeș-Bolyai-University Cluj and the Higher School of Economics Moskow participated.

Report by Svetlana Yatsyk, PhD-student (Higher School of Economies, Moscow, Russia):

When writing this letter, I am still filled with enthusiasm: the summer school “Performance. History. Art. Culture” in Cluj-Napoca was an intellectual benefit not only for me but also for all the other participants I believe. One rarely experiences such an intense discussion held at the highest level with an enormous variety of topics and problems.
It was not the first Summer School of this kind organized by the Graduate School. Last year a similar school focusing on “Area Studies in a Globalized World” was held at the Central European University in Budapest. These schools always take place in Central, Eastern and South-eastern Europe and are carried out in cooperation with local universities. What all these summer schools have in common, is their interdisciplinary approach: both the lectures and the reader cover the main subject of the school from points of view of different social sciences and by the examples of different Eastern and Southeast European regions. Taking place at Cluj-Napoca, a western Romanian city, this year's summer school brought together professors, PhD-students and graduate-students from Berlin, Munich, Krakow, Bucharest, Belgrade, Trier, Regensburg, Moscow, Cluj et al. The very intense schedule of the summer school consisted of a seminar and discussion part in the morning, supplemented by lectures and cultural
activities such as sight-seeing, performances of local artists and meeting with Romanian dissidents in the afternoons. During the seminars we discussed articles that included the classical works on performative studies (“How to do things with words” by John L. Austin and “The Transformative Power of Performance” by Erika Fischer-Lichte) as well as works demonstrating the application of performative approach to highly specialised fields of knowledge such as an article of the performance theorist and theatre director Richard Schechner. Apart from clarification of terms and text critique, the participants were expected to try to apply the introduced method to their own researches. It was not easy sometimes. I for instance, as a person working with legal documents and reflecting the procedure of canonization, had never thought about exploiting the performative approach in my work. But during the summer school I gained an intellectually enriching experience that prompted me to engage with research far from my own
field of experience, to place my work within a comparative context and to direct attention to the liturgical aspects
of canonization. Another strength of the summer school was that it gave its participants the possibility to deeply engage with scholars and young researchers from a great variety of fields of expertise and several different countries. The interdisciplinary character of the school resulted particularly valuable. I am sure that this experience broadened and refined my view on performative methodologies and strategies of research, their advantages as well as their limits. Finally I would like to warmly thank the organizers for the excellent Summer School. The management was outstanding and the hospitality shown to us was more than generous. I felt very welcomed and I enjoyed both the intense work at the school and the excursions. I consider this meeting a precious opportunity in my academic career and a very promising starting point for further collaborations.