In this episode, we host a conversation between Dr. Layla Zami, a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York,  and Jan Dammel, a doctoral fellow at the RTG minor cosmopolitanisms. The conversation centers around Dr. Zami’s recently published book: Contemporary PerforMemory: Dancing through Spacetime, Historical Trauma, and Diaspora in the 21st Century. We start by talking about German memory culture and how PerforMemory engages with ideas such as multidirectional memory and rememory. The conversation continues with how PerforMemory recognises performance as both producing memory and as a form of knowledge-making. We also explore questions of circular and nonlinear time, which PerforMemory can enable.


In Conversation with:

Dr. Layla Zami (Pratt Institute, New York)

Dr. Layla Zami is an interdisciplinary academic, artist, and curator. She is the author of Contemporary PerforMemory: Dancing Through Spacetime, Historical Trauma, and Diaspora in the 21st Century. Zami is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute (New York), where she teaches in the fields of humanities, art history, and performance studies. She holds a Ph.D. from the Center for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies at Humboldt-University in Berlin, where she also earned a Faculty Teaching Award. Her Ph.D. was sponsored by a Doctoral Fellowship from ELES/BMBF. She graduated from Sciences Po Paris, worked at the French Parliament, and was a Visiting Research Scholar at Columbia University. As a Resident Artist with Oxana Chi, Layla Zami creates and performs music, spoken words, and physical theater in dialogue with the choreography. The duo performed across the globe, and co-curated events such as the International Symposium-Festival Moving Memory (Berlin, Technical University, 2016) and the Dagesh Transitions Festival for Jewish Contemporary Arts (Berlin, Dagesh 2021). Born in Paris in 1985, she is proudly rooted in a Jewish-German-Russian and Afro-Indian-Caribbean cultural heritage.

Jan Dammel (University of Potsdam)

© Barbara Dietl

Jan Dammel is a theatre and performance scholar who has studied Theatre and Performance Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, Universiteit van Amsterdam and Université Lille III. Since 2019 he is a doctoral fellow at the RTG Minor Cosmopolitanisms and his project, Theatre and German Colonialism, investigates theatre practices in the context of Tanzanian-German entangled histories by conceptualizing theatre as a site of both complicity and resistance. Furthermore, Jan is an event organizer who has (co-)organized in different roles a range of events with and for festivals such as Foreign Affairs and Theatertreffen (Berliner Festspiele) or PERFORMATIK (Kaaitheater Brussels), research projects at Freie Universität Berlin and Universität der Künste Berlin, a professional association, anti-racist student groups, li:chi – transcultural network for art and political education, NGOs such as Berlin Postkolonial, and his colleagues at the RTG.




  • AK Forschungshandeln. InterdepenDenken. Wie Positionierung und Intersektionalität forschend gestalten? Berlin: w_orten & meer, 2016. Co-Edited by Layla Zami as part of the working group AK Forschungshandeln https://wortenundmeer.net/product/interdependenken-wie-positionierung-und-intersektionalitaet-forschend-gestalten/ 
  • Hirsch, Marianne. The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012.
  • Rothberg, Michael. Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009.
  • Oyěwùmí, Oyèrónkẹ. The Invention of Women: Making an African Sense of Western Gender Discourses. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.                    
  • Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017.                                              
  • Ha, Kien Nghi. “Rostock-Lichtenhagen – Die Rückkehr des Verdrängten.” Berlin: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, 2012. https://heimatkunde.boell.de/de/2012/09/01/rostock-lichtenhagen-die-rueckkehr-des-verdraengten
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