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Felix Stenger


Theatre Studies

Academic Career & Education

since 2021

PhD student at DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 2638 „Normativity, Critique, Change“

September 2023: Visiting Researcher at metaLab, Harvard University, USA 


Master of Arts in Theatre studies at FU Berlin

2016 –19

Tutor at the Institute for theatre studies, FU Berlin

2016 –19

Student advisor for the undergraduate program of Theatre studies, Film studies, and Music studies at the Institute for theatre studies, FU Berlin


Student assistant in the Collaborative Research Center 626 “Aesthetic Experience and the Dissolution of Artistic Limits”, FU Berlin (subproject B2: “Aesthetic Experience as Experience of Liminality”, Supervision: Prof. Fischer-Lichte) 


Student assistant in the archive of the Institute for theatre studies, FU Berlin 


BA in Theatre studies, German philology and Philosophy at FU Berlin


  • Gesellschaft für Theaterwissenschaft (GTW)
  • International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ästhetik (DGÄ)
  • Gewerkschaft Erziehung & Wissenschaft (GEW)


Theatre of alienation. Aesthetic alienation in works by Susanne Kennedy, The Agency, Theresa Reiwer and Mette Ingvartsen

My reflections begin with the observation that the normative appeals of post-Fordism, which seek to affectively and emotionally involve rather than subjugate its subjects, can be formalized aesthetically. After all, the arts no longer stand in opposition to capitalist value creation. On the contrary, the latter skims the former’s practices and techniques for creative, emotional and communicative potentials.

I argue that contemporary theatre like that of Susanne Kennedy or The Agency reflects this situation in an aesthetic re-establishment of alienation: it tends to be slick and to desire surfaces, it relies on aesthetic phenomena and techniques of the digital. The subjects staged in this alienated manner do not suffer under the damaging and limiting experiences of Fordist alienation, quite the contrary: they withdraw from post-Fordism’s affective mobilization by tactically affirming alienation.

My dissertation project circles this positive potential of alienation. Can moments of alienation be understood as aesthetic equals to moments of self-expression and self-realisation? I argue that these moments do contain a resisting impulse, which works against the all too smooth engagement of subjects in post-Fordist settings by performing and stabilizing a (re-)normativizing function in an allegedly norm-free realm.

Staging analyzes of individual works by Susanne Kennedy, The Agency, Theresa Reiwer and Mette Ingvartsen build a framework within which common motives of the classic alienation discourse can be negotiated differently, both theatrically and discursively. Finally, I aim to present a reformulation of the concept of alienation with the help of contemporary aesthetic strategies.


Further research interests:

  • Historic avant-gardes
  • Late romanticism and Life Reform
  • Staging strategies of national socialism
  • Postoperaist theory
  • Theories of New Materialism


  • Kritiklose Künstlichkeit – künstliche Kritik. Susanne Kennedys materialistische Techniken der Selbstentfremdung, together with Hannah Schünemann (to be published 2024).
  • „Am Anfang“. Die Kritik und ihre Aporien, der Tod und seine Abschaffung am Beispiel Valeska Gerts. In: Ebert, Olivia; Holling, Eva; Müller-Schöll, Nikolaus; Schulte, Philipp; Siebert, Bernhard; Siegmund, Gerald [Hrsg.]: Theater als Kritik. Theorie, Geschichte und Praktiken der Ent-Unterwerfung. Bielefeld: transcript 2018, pp. 437-446. 

Smaller works

  • Forever Déja-Vu. In: Arenz, Jamila; Darian, Veronika; Hölzl, Jessica [Hrsg.]: RE/VERSIONEN (to be published 2024).
  • Zwischen letzten Gründen liegen. Gedanken zu Parzelle 62 von Barbara Lenartz. In: Lenartz, Barbara: Katalog zu Parzelle 62. Berlin 2020, p. 9.

Talks and Presentations (selection)

  • Old materialism, flushed through performance art, equals new materialism? Presentation in the metaLab colloquium, Harvard University, 14.09.2023.
  • „Kritische Nähe – subjektlose Kritik: Perspektiven mit Brecht auf Techniken des Gegenwartstheaters.“ Presentation together with Hannah Schünemannn, 17. symposium of the International Brecht Society, Tel Aviv, 12.12.2022.
  • „Über die Wünschbarkeit einer Praxis der immersiven Einsamkeit (Theresa Reiwer: Social Capsule).“ Presentation on the conference „(Literarische) Einsamkeitsreflexionen“ organised by Junge Deutsche Schillergesellschaft, Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, 03.11.2022.
  • „Kritik durch Nähe: Perspektiven mit Brecht auf Techniken des Gegenwartstheaters.“ Presentation together with Hannah Schünemann, 15. congress of the Gesellschaft für Theaterwissenschaft „Matters of Urgency“, FU Berlin, 30.09.2022.
  • „Enjoy alienation oder: Das Installative als Grenze der Aneignung.“ Input at the Gathering „Körper im Ausstellungsraum“ on the occasion of the exhibition Nurturael by THE AGENCY, Lothringer 13 Halle München, 08.07.2022.
  • „Tanz und Arbeit.“ Lecture together with PD Dr. Kai van Eikels in the lecture series „Perspektiven der Tanzwissenschaft“, organised by Prof. Gabriele Brandstetter, Institut für Theaterwissenschaft FU Berlin, 23.11.2016.
  •  „Am Anfang. Aporien der Kritik im Angesicht des Todes am Beispiel Valeska Gerts Tanz Tod.“ Presentation, 13. congress of the Gesellschaft für Theaterwissenschaft „Theater als Kritik“, Frankfurt am Main and Gießen, 06.11.2016.
Freie Universität Berlin
Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Universität der Künste Berlin