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Sara E. Jackson

Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Director for German Studies

Sara E Jackson, Assistant Professor, UMass Amherst

sarajackson@umass.edu

(413) 545-6686

Herter Hall 513

Sara (S.E.) Jackson's first book, The Problem of the Actress in Modern German Theater and Thought (Camden House 2021), reconstructs the formative role that women played on an off the stage in shaping not only modernist theater aesthetics and performance practices, but also influential strains of modern thought. The book establishes how German and Austrian actresses presented a complex problem socially and theoretically as they gained prominence and influence at the turn of the century. Analyzing stage performances and writing by actresses in direct relation to canonical aesthetic and philosophical texts, Jackson argues that modern actresses had a consequential impact that resonated in and far beyond the theater. She is now working on her second book, "Mothers, Monsters, Machines: Myth and/as Science of the Feminine," which examines a strategic interplay between scientism and myth in constructions of women and femininity in sciences, literature, and the arts from the Enlightenment to the twentieth century. The book examines a diverse range of texts and other cultural products to investigate how hegemonic gender discourses incorporated both myth and science (intentionally and innately) to establish normal and deviant female identities, to explain women's behavior when it defied limiting categorizations, and to mask inconsistencies in the logic of such claims. Jackson is also co-founder of GTPR: German Theater and Performance Research.

 

Education

PhD 2013, Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan Ann Arbor
MA 2004, German Languages and Literatures, University of Oregon
BA 2002, German and English, University of Oregon
 
 

Research Areas

  • Theater, Drama and Performance
  • Women's and Gender Studies
  • Fin-de-Siècle Cultural Studies
  • Modernism/Modernity
  • Classical Reception
  • The History of Science (with a focus on the modern human sciences)

Publications

The Problem of the Actress in Modern German Theater and Thought (Camden House 2021)

"Embodied Femmes Fatales: Performing Judith and Salome on the Modernist German Stage." Women in German Yearbook: Feminist Studies in German Literature & Culture. 31 (2015): 48-72.

"Rat Teeth not Roses: Aesthetics and Politics of the Grotesque in Gerhart Hauptmann's Naturallist Theater." German Studies Review 42.3 (2019): 427-445.

"Whose Lulu is it anyway? Performing through Dramaturgies of Excess." Theater Journal 72.1 (2020): 21-37.

[Forthcoming] Guest Editor, Feminist German Studies, Special Issue - Performing Resistance 37.1 (2021)

[Forthcoming] "The Paradox of the Obedient Actor." Oxford German Studies, Special Issue - The Drama of Obedience 50.2 (2021)

Courses Recently Taught

  • German 270: From the Grimms to Disney
  • German 371: Crime & Criminals in Modern German Culture
  • German 372: Creating Modern Culture - Vienna around 1900
  • German 695D: Bodies & Law in German Literature & Thought
  • German 783: Classical Reception 18th-20th Century