Katharina JOBST

Katharina JOBST



Katharina is a PHD student in German cultural studies at the Sorbonne University in Paris. She graduated in 2018 with a Master in History and obtained a doctoral contract. Since then she has been researching cultural dance history, including appropriation and transfers between India and German-speaking countries in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Her thesis, entitled The “Oriental dancer”, representation, imaginaries and myths of India in German-speaking countries (1st half of the 20th century), analysis the perceptions of Indian dancers in Europe (and especially Germany) leading to the rise of the so-called “Oriental” dancer. Mainly inspired by oriental images, narratives, as well as performances of Indian dances taking place in the mass-phenomenon of human zoos (Völkerschauen), a certain number of Western women artists created dances called “nautch”, “oriental dance, “Hindu dance” etc. which encountered an immense success in Germany and Europe around 1900. Therefore, Katharina’s work questions not only the fascination issued by these dances but also the incarnation of oriental and colonial clichés via the dancing female body in the context of the mutations of modernity. Besides, the impact of “oriental” dance in Germany has long been overshadowed by the simultaneous emergence of various free dances, including dance of expression (Ausdruckstanz).

Conversely in the 1920s, expressive dance characterized among other things by the quest for a “German” dance, inspired Indian artists at the dawn of Indian independence. Therefore personalities like Uday Shankar, Rabindranath Tagore, and Zohra Seghal traveled to Germany to perform, to teach their art, and to learn more about expressive dance.

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