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Faculty Scholarship

Professor Skyler Arndt-Briggs

DEFA International: Grenzüberschreitende Filmbeziehungen vor und nach dem Mauerbau

Springer, 2013

Das Buch untersucht die internationalen Filmbeziehungen der DEFA von ihrer Gründung 1946 bis zu ihrer Auflösung nach dem Ende der DDR. Im Rahmen einer komparatistischen Mediengeschichtsschreibung werden stilistische Einflüsse in verschiedenen Filmgattungen ebenso untersucht wie Wechselwirkungen in der Rezeption und öffentlichen Diskussion. Die Beiträge gehen institutionellen Verflechtungen, deutsch-deutschen Filmkontakten und gelungenen wie gescheiterten Kooperations- und Koproduktionsvorhaben nach. Ein zentraler Aspekt des interkulturellen Austauschs der DDR wird damit erstmals grundlegend aufgearbeitet.

(Excerpt from Springer)

 

Professor Andrew Donson

Youth in the Fatherless Land: War Pedagogy, Nationalism, and Authority in Germany, 1914 - 1918

Harvard University Press, 2010

The first comprehensive history of German youth in the First World War, this book investigates the dawn of the great era of mobilizing teenagers and schoolchildren for experiments in state building and extreme political movements like fascism and communism. It investigates how German teachers could be legendary for their sarcasm and harsh methods but support the world’s most vigorous school reform movement and most extensive network of youth clubs. As a result of the war mobilization, teachers, club leaders, and authors of youth literature instilled militarism and nationalism more deeply into young people than before 1914 but in a way that, paradoxically, relaxed discipline.

The book details how Germany had far more military youth companies than other nations as well as the world’s largest Socialist youth organization, which illegally agitated for peace and a proletarian revolution. Mass conscription also empowered female youth, particularly in Germany’s middle-class youth movement, the only one anywhere that fundamentally pitted itself against adults. The book addresses discourses as well as practices and covers a breadth of topics, including crime, work, sexuality, gender, family, politics, recreation, novels and magazines, social class, and everyday life.

(Excerpt from Harvard University Press)

 

Professor Ela Gezen

Bracht, Turkish Theater, and Turkish-German Literature 

Boydell & Brewer, 2018

Bertolt Brecht died in 1956, but his theory and practice has continued to shape debates about the politics of culture - not only in Germany, but in Turkey as well, where a new generation of intellectuals emerged during a period of liberalization in the 1960s and sought to link culture to politics, art to life, theater to revolutionary practice. Ever since, Brecht has connected two cultures that have become ever more intertwined. Drawing upon archival research and close textual analysis, this study reconstructs how Brecht's thought was first interpreted by theater practitioners in Turkey and then by Turkish writers living in Germany. Gezen first focuses on Turkey in the 1960s, reconstructing theater programming and critical debates in literary journals in order to explore how Brechtian stage productions thematized issues in Turkish politics and cultural affairs. She then traces the significance of Brechtian theater practice and aesthetics for Aras Ören (1939-) and Emine Sevgi Özdamar (1946-), two important writers, actors, and dramatists who emigrated to Germany. By shedding light on their theatrical involvement in Turkey and East and West Germany, this study not only introduces a new context for comprehending individual works, but also enhances our understanding of the intellectual interchanges that shaped the emergence of Turkish-German literature.

(Excerpt from Boydell & Brewer)

 

Professor Mariana Ivanova

Cinema of Collaboration: DEFA Coproductions and International Exchange in Cold War Europe 

berghahn, 2019

From their very inception, European cinemas undertook collaborative ventures in an attempt to cultivate a transnational “Film-Europe.” In the postwar era, it was DEFA, the state cinema of East Germany, that emerged as a key site for cooperative practices. Despite the significant challenges that the Cold War created for collaboration, DEFA sought international prestige through various initiatives. These ranged from film exchange in occupied Germany to partnerships with Western producers, and from coproductions with Eastern European studios to strategies for film co-authorship. Uniquely positioned between East and West, DEFA proved a crucial mediator among European cinemas during a period of profound political division.

(Excerpt from berghahn)

 

Professor Jonathan Skolnik

Shylock und andere Schriften zu jüdischen Themen

Quintus, 2017

Der zweite Band der Werkausgabe stellt Hermann Sinsheimer als Autor von Beiträgen zum Thema Judentum vor: Arbeiten, die er nach seiner Entlassung aus dem Berliner Tageblatt vom Herbst 1933 bis zum Beginn seines Exils 1938 für jüdische Zeitungen und Zeitschriften schrieb. Damit werden Sinsheimers nun ganz auf das und sein Judentum bezogene Reflexionen wieder greifbar, erstmals wird sein bislang unveröffentlichtes Manuskript Benjamin – Wohin?veröffentlicht, das er für das Theater des Jüdischen Kulturbundes schrieb (Ende 1938 aufgeführt). Der zweite Teil des Bandes beschäftigt sich mit Sinsheimers Forschungen und Betrachtungen zur Figur des Shylock, den Shakespeare im Kaufmann von Venedig (1596/98) zu einer Hauptfigur jüdischer Existenz in der christlichen Gesellschaft gemacht hatte. 1938 wurde vom Jüdischen Buchverlag Joachim Goldstein eine Ausgabe angekündigt, zu der es nicht mehr kam, da Sinsheimer ins Exil nach London gegangen war, wohin er das Manuskript mitnahm. Die 1960 erschienene deutsche Erstausgabe von Shylock – die Geschichte einer Figur im Verlag Ner-Tamid ist die Grundlage für den Neudruck in diesem Band. 

(Excerpt from Quintus)

 

Jewish Pasts, German Fictions: History, Memory, and Minority Culture in Germany 1824 - 1955

Standford University Press, 2014

Jewish Pasts, German Fictions is the first comprehensive study of how German-Jewish writers used images from the Spanish-Jewish past to define their place in German culture and society. Jonathan Skolnik argues that Jewish historical fiction was a form of cultural memory that functioned as a parallel to the modern, demythologizing project of secular Jewish history writing.

What did it imply for a minority to imagine its history in the majority language? Skolnik makes the case that the answer lies in the creation of a German-Jewish minority culture in which historical fiction played a central role. After Hitler's rise to power in 1933, Jewish writers and artists, both in Nazi Germany and in exile, employed images from the Sephardic past to grapple with the nature of fascism, the predicament of exile, and the destruction of European Jewry in the Holocaust. The book goes on to show that this past not only helped Jews to make sense of the nonsense, but served also as a window into the hopes for integration and fears about assimilation that preoccupied German-Jewish writers throughout most of the nineteenth century. Ultimately, Skolnik positions the Jewish embrace of German culture not as an act of assimilation but rather a reinvention of Jewish identity and historical memory.

(Excerpt from Standford University Press)

 

Professor Robert Sullivan

Imagining the Self, Constructing the Past: Selected Proceedings from the 36th Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum

Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016

Imagining the Self, Constructing the Past celebrates the various ways in which the Middle Ages and the Renaissance are adapted, recollected, and represented in our own day and age. Most of the chapters fit broadly into one of three categories: namely, the representation of the self in medieval and early modern history and literature; the recollection and utilization of the past in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance; and the role of the medieval and the early modern in our own society. Overall, the contributions to this volume bear witness to the importance of representation to our understanding of ourselves, each other, and our shared past.

(Excerpt from Cambridge Scholars Publishing)

 

Justice and the Social Context of Early Middle High German Literature

Routledge, 2001

This book argues that far from preaching traditional, otherworldly ideals, the authors or these religious works were deeply engaged in the social, political, and spiritual issues that characterized the Holy Roman Empire at a time of radical transformation.

(Excerpt from Routledge)