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Tanja Klankert


Tanja Klankert

Tanja Klankert, M.A.
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Associated member, PhD student at the Humboldt University of Berlin



Tanja Klankert is a doctoral student at the Department of Cultural History and Theory at the Humboldt University of Berlin. She studied philosophy, German studies, computer linguistics, and computer science and engineering at the University of Heidelberg and the University of Stuttgart. Tanja Klankert received her Master’s degree at the University of Stuttgart for her thesis within the collaborative research project SmartKom, a multimodal human computer interaction system, headed by the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). During her course of studies, she stayed a semester abroad at the Panasonic Speech Laboratory, Santa Barbara, California. In her dissertation project, she follows the trace of the masks from the theatre mask to the social role through to today’s forms such as avatars and digital masking. The project included several visits to Japan and the USA, where she stayed as a Visiting Scholar at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York in 2016 and 2017, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Dissertation project

The Trace of the Masks: Conceptual, Cultural and Media Historic Transformations of Masks and Masking in European Modernity (Working Title) 


At the beginning of modernism, a there was an intense engagement with masks in visual and performing arts based on models of the antiquity, of European ancient customs as well as non-European masks. Besides the artistic reception, mask and masquerade also played a significant role as metaphor in writings from such different disciplines as philosophy, anthropology, ethnography, sociology, gender studies, art history, and media theory. Masks can be understood as a mimetic form based on a dialectic of showing and disguising, of making visible and hiding, through which social and cultural, material and media conditions of identification and categorisation, of exclusion and inclusion, and of recognition are brought forth and may thus be questioned. The dissertation project argues that the mask as a mimetic form and medium serves to highlight the ambiguousness of interpersonal relations and the grey area of interrelation between the persona and the public. From a conceptual, cultural and media historical point of view, the dissertation project pursues the transformations of masks and of masking in discourses and in the arts since modernism until today to contribute to a genealogical analysis of the interrelation between the persona and the public.

Research Interests

Cultural theory and history, cultural aesthetics, cultural techniques, phenomenology, media philosophy, philosophy of technology, theatre, performance and dramatic theories, cultural transfer (esp. with respect to Japan)

Publications (Selection)

Klankert, Tanja (2015). Das Echo der Gastspiele von Kawakami Otojirō, Sadayakko und ihrer Truppe in den deutschsprachigen Printmedien. In: Ernst, Wolf-Dieter; Anno Mungen; Nora Niethammer; Berenika Szymanski-Düll (Hg.). Sound and Performance. Positionen – Methoden – Analysen. Thurnauer Schriften zum Musiktheater, Würzburg, erscheint 2015, 159-173.

Klankert, Tanja (2014). Strange Relations. Cultural Translation of Noh Theater in Ezra Pound’s Dance Poems and W. B. Yeats’s At the Hawk’s Well. Word and Text. A Journal of Literary Studies and Linguistics, IV(2), 2014, 98-111.

Schweitzer, Antje; Norbert Braunschweiler; Grzegorz Dogil; Tanja Klankert; Bernd Möbius; Gregor Möhler; Edmilson Morais; Bettina Säuberlich; Matthias Thomae (2006). Multimodal Speech Synthesis. In: Smartkom 2006, 411-435.