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Dorota Sajewska: Necroperformance

Dorota Sajewska

Cultural Reconstructions of the War Body

Translated by Simon Wloch

Softcover, 464 pages

PDF, 448 pages

Cultural Reconstructions of the War Body

Dorota Sajewska proposes an innovative perspective for looking back at the formative process of Polish modernity, delving into repressed areas of experience connected with World War I and the ensuing emancipatory movements. Underpinning modern Polish nationhood, she reveals, is not only a Romantic myth of independence but also the up-close horrors of fratricidal warfare and the pacifist aspirations of those confronted with its violence.

Searching for traces of memory in precarious bodies inflicted with the violence of war, Necroperformance implores us to acknowledge the fragility of life as it actively reinforces an attitude of respect for the right to live. Sajewska constructs here an alternative culture archive, conjuring it from compoundly-mediatized historical remnants—bodies, documents, artworks, and cultural writings—that demand to be recognized in non-canonical reflection on our past. Her chief objective is to understand the social impact of remains and their place in culture, and by examining the body and corporality in artistic practices, social and cultural performances, she strives to identify both the fragmentariness of memory and the discontinuity of history, and finally, to reinstate the body’s (or its documental remains’) historical and political dimension.

  • 7–44

    The Postmortal Life of the Body. A Prologue

  • 45–110

    The Cultural Reconstruction of Theatre

  • 111–198

    An Archive of the Great War

  • 199–272

    Polish Angels of History

  • 273–342

    Phantom Bodies

  • 373–412

    The Return of Odysseus the Soldier

  • 413–440

    Theory as Remain

  • Poland
  • First World War
  • death
  • performativity
  • war
  • war experience

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Dorota Sajewska

Dorota Sajewska

is assistant professor of interart (Eastern Europe) at the University of Zurich and at the Institute of Polish Culture (section for theatre and performance), University of Warsaw. She studied Polish and German philology at the Warsaw University and modern German literature, theatre studies and cultural communication at the Humboldt University of Berlin. In 2008–2012 she was deputy artistic director of the Dramatic Theatre in Warsaw. Her scientific interests oscillate between culture studies, historiography and anthropology, theatre, performance and contemporary art. Sajewska explores performativity of the body and materiality of objects, as well as interrelations between theatre, politics and media. She also specializes in theories of archiving, particularly concerning documentation of theatre and performance. She is an author of various publications on theatre and performance, theatre scripts and three monographs.
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