This volume assembles the select proceedings of an international conference held at the University of Cambridge in March 2002. The conference took its cue from the ‘performative turn’, which has put issues of performance and performativity at the centre of current academic debate in the humanities. The volume aims to show the ways in which German Studies have been turning towards questions of the performative in recent years. On the one hand, this involves an increased interest in the performing arts in the scholarship and teaching of German Studies and a growing understanding of the literary text too, as a performed process as much as a finished object, on the other, an incorporation of theories of performativity, not least in the area of gender and sexuality. The essays cover a range of performance media (theatre, film, performance art, photography) as well as the representation of turns or acts of performance in literary texts from Goethe to key contemporary writers. Together, they indicate exciting new ways forward for German Cultural Studies.