Rita Rieger

Centre for Cultural Studies, University of Graz

Email rita.rieger[at]uni-graz.at
Website general website: https://zentrum-kulturwissenschaften.uni-graz.at/en/ ; personal project website: https://rita-rieger.com/
Project Name Poetics of Movement
Field of research Romance Literary and Cultural Studies, Comparative Literature
Keywords dance ǀ figuration ǀ emotion ǀ scene ǀ writing ǀ scenario

The Aesthetic and Cultural Relevance of Movement for Modern Poetics


What is my research about?

Theoretical texts on theatrical dance from the 18th century until today lend a particular shape to the concept of ‘movement’ as they convey reflections on the multiple meanings of movement and the challenge of its writability. This project examines how movement can be expressed in and through writing in mainly French texts and how these expressions convey cultural knowledge about the ideas of dance, emotion and literary writing which in turn appear central in modern discourse about reality, subjectivity, and art.

What is the idea?
Starting from the general assumption that the written transmission of movement implies an analysis, selection and method of presentation of movement knowledge, this comparative study on French theoretical dance texts focuses on the potential of ‘text’ as a medium for the representation and communication of social, epistemological, and aesthetic processes. The project’s aim is to systematically describe the cultural relevance of psychophysical movement as an essential aspect of modern poetics and aesthetics for the very first time.

How did I come up with my research topic?
While analyzing the cultural and aesthetic implications of ‘love’ in the Spanish Novel of Realism and Modernism in my PhD thesis, I noticed that dancing often appears at crucial moments in the narrative and differs regarding its presentation, from a brief mention of a particular dance to detailed descriptions of scenes in which dancing mirrors the inner feelings of protagonists. This led to the generation of my principal research questions, namely whether and how physical movement relates to inner motion and in which ways dance can be represented through writing.

Since 10/2018 Rita Rieger is Elise-Richter-Fellow at the Centre for Cultural Studies, University of Graz where she works on »Poetics of Movement. Dance Texts 1800, 1900, 2000«. She studied Spanish and French Literature and Language as well as Theory of Education in Graz, Sevilla and Rennes and holds a teaching degree for secondary schools. She was fellow of the interdisciplinary PhD programme »Categories and Typologies in Cultural Studies« and completed her PhD in Romance Literary Studies with a thesis on figurations of love in the Spanish Novel around 1900: »Liebe – poetologisch und kulturell. Figurationen im spanischen Roman um 1900. Göttingen: V&R unipress 2016«. Since 2008 she is temporary lecturer for Spanish and French literature at the Department of Romance Studies at the University of Graz and since 2018 guest lecturer for Cultural Studies at the Paris-Lodron-University of Salzburg. In her research she focuses on cultural and aesthetic implications of movement in literature and film in the Modern Era, on writing studies, on emotion and literature, and on Argentine Tango in Literature and Film.