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M.A. Hans Roth


Freie Universität Berlin

Institut für Theaterwissenschaft

CRC 1171 "Affective Societies" - C05

Doctoral Researcher

Habelschwerdter Allee 45
Room JK 33/213
14195 Berlin
since 2015

Dissertation project on comedy in (post-)migrant theatre (working title: "The Comical and the Political. On the dialectics of hostility and solidarity in ethnic humor and postmigrant theatre")        


M.A. in Theater Studies at Free University Berlin. Master Thesis: "Theatre of indeterminacy. An analysis of Hans-Thies Lehmann's concept of Postdramatic Theatre"                                                                   


B.A. in Theater Studies and Political Science at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz  

other activities:


Student assistant at the Institute of Theater Studies at Freie Universität Berlin (Chair of Prof. Dr. Helmar Schramm)


Student assistant at the Department of Philosophy at Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (Kant Research Center)

The Comical and the Political. On the dialectics of hostility and solidarity in ethnic humor and postmigrant theatre (working title)       

My doctoral research project deals with the ambivalent affective potentials of postmigrant comedy. While satire and irony are one of the most common theatrical means to subvert and to criticize everyday racism, ethnic humor can also serve as a medium for the reproduction of the very same clichés. In my dissertation, I argue that this ambiguity of mockery and solidarity, of affirmation and subversion, has to be reconsidered as a paradoxical relationship between the comical and the political. In this perspective, humor is able to both elicit and to reflect on various constellations of conflict and community.

The theoretical basis of my work are approaches towards the affective economy of wit and humor (Freud, Wirth, Critchley) as well as antagonistic theories of the political (Gramsci, Laclau/Mouffe, Marchart), whose structural overlappings are to be brought to the fore. Using a combination of performance and discourse analysis, I investigate the affective dynamics of postmigrant comedy with regard to aesthetic strategies but also to their resonances in ephemeral laughing communities and in controversies surrounding the performances.

Special attention is drawn to the conceptualization and exploration of those theatrical situations that enable processes of distancing oneself from the involuntary ridicule of ethnic and cultural minorities. However, such an aesthetic resistance against a 'politics of enmity' (Mbembe) is not easily available, but – as becomes clear in theatre-related debates about racist comedy and 'political correctness' – is a highly contested and precarious phenomenon.

Research topics and interests
  • Theatre genres and acting techniques as mirror(s) of society
  • Modern and postmodern aesthetic theory
  • Avant-gardes of the 20th century
  • Theatre metaphors in Philosophy and Political Theory
  • The theatre of Bertolt Brecht and its controversial legacy
  • Critical Theory

„Komik als ‚kritische‘ Strategie – Zur Frage der Unterscheidbarkeit von Subversion und Affirmation am Beispiel von Verrücktes Blut“. In: Gerald Siegmund et. al. (Eds.): Theater als Kritik. Theorie, Geschichte und Praktiken der Ent-Unterwerfung, Bielefeld: Transcript. (Forthcoming)

 “Affektökonomien im Vergleich: Ein (neuer) Blick auf Theater und Migration in Berlin und London“ (with Friederike Oberkrome), in: Matthias Warstat et. al. (Eds.): Profitable Aesthetics. Performative Strategien der Teilhabe, Berlin: Theater der Zeit. (Forthcoming)

 “German ‘Sprechtheater’ and the Transformation of Theatrical Public Spheres” (with Friederike Oberkrome and Matthias Warstat), in: Anne Fleig, Christian von Scheve (Eds.): Public Spheres of Resonance: Constellations of Affect and Language, London: Routledge. (Forthcoming)

“Affective Economy” (with Hauke Lehmann and Kerstin Schankweiler). In: Jan Slaby, Christian von Scheve (Eds.): Affective Societies. Key Concepts, London: Routledge. (Forthcoming)