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Dissertationsthema: "Petit Paris en Amérique? - French Theatrical Culture in Nineteenth-Century Louisiana"
Stipendium: „Würzburg-Stipendium“ der Graduiertenschule für die Geisteswissenschaften der Universität Würzburg (1. Oktober 2008 - 30. September 2011).
Kontaktadresse an der Universität Würzburg:
Lehrstuhl für Amerikanistik
Neuphilologisches Institut/Moderne Fremdsprachen
Erstbetreuer: Prof. Dr. Jochen Achilles
Klasse in der Graduiertenschule: "Philosophie, Sprachen, Künste"
Promotion in der Graduiertenschule seit WS 2008/2009.
In the conflicted space of Louisiana, where opposing cultural forces enhanced and resisted political and social changes, the vibrant theater scene of nineteenth-century New Orleans functioned as a steady focal point for people from all social and ethnic walks of life. Nevertheless, theaters also represented sites of struggle over cultural sovereignty and acted as a ‘stage’ for negotiating ethnic identities.
In my dissertation I examine how ethnic differences between the dominating anglophone culture and the older, francophone tradition in Louisiana were (re-) negotiated permanently in and around theater. I am primarily interested in identifying how the French-language theater of Louisiana adopts, reinvents, integrates, or excludes elements of French and American theatrical culture and how this affects the larger trajectory of nineteenth- century American drama. Focusing on an in-depth analysis of the plays by five of the most important francophone Louisiana playwrights, Auguste Lussan, Louis Placide Canonge, Charles Oscar Dugué, P.E. Pérennès, and Victor Séjour, my dissertation traces the francophone theater of Louisiana from its beginnings in the late eighteenth century until 1861, when the most important French playhouse of New Orleans, the Théâtre d’Orléans, had to close its doors forever.
Conceiving of the theater of New Orleans as a medium of cultural self-reflexion in a space in which differences are constantly (re-)negotiated, the dissertation situates the francophone drama within a larger framework of theoretical debates initiated in literary, cultural and theater studies. It can thus describe the status of the francophone cultural production and its relevance for the continued existence of the French community in Louisiana, and its legacy on the North American continent.