Addressing ‘the Cultural Level of an Average European’ (Kafka)

Twitchin, Mischa. 2023. Addressing ‘the Cultural Level of an Average European’ (Kafka). European Journal of Theatre and Performance(5), pp. 146-177. ISSN 2664-1860 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Several times during Oliver Frljić’s 2019 production of Kafka’s Report to an Academy, at Berlin’s Gorki Theatre, the question ‘are you afraid of Jews?’ is posed. This essay will explore what Kafka’s parables make it possible to ‘remember’ theatrically, through the haunting of the past by the future. Here, perhaps, the question as to what we might be afraid of concerns the idea of European citizenship, as it is repeatedly impugned by the social stigmatisation—and worse—of different communities. In a context where authoritarian populism is a major political force, and with the European memory of laws that fail to provide for a universal condition of citizenship, the question of anti-Semitism, as of Islamophobia, might be rephrased in terms of the politics of ‘majorities’ and ‘minorities’—and theatrically posed as: ‘Are you afraid of democracy?’

Item Type:



Kafka, Frjlić, Gorki Theatre, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)


31 January 2023Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

03 Feb 2023 15:59

Last Modified:

04 Feb 2023 01:27

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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