NEH Summer Institute to explore Cold War-era East Germany through art, music, and film
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Twenty-five NEH Summer Scholars will join seven international faculty members on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus for a four-week Summer Institute for College and University Teachers funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Directed by UMass Amherst faculty members Skyler Arndt-Briggs and Barton Byg, this NEH Summer Institute breaks new ground in the study of socialist modernity and culture during the Cold War, applying a sustained interdisciplinary examination into the role of arts and artists to the case of East German society. Drawing on the latest research in art history, musicology, film studies, history and German studies, it seeks to: re-evaluate debates about artistic freedom and censorship; consider relations between high and low (popular), as well as official and alternative arts cultures; and establish the importance and timeliness of revisiting this period of recent history in today’s college classrooms.
The ambitious four-week public film & lecture series, taking place at UMass Amherst and Amherst Cinema, presents materials that will be at the core of Institute workshop discussions. Running from June 17 to July 12, the series features 6 faculty lectures, an exhibition and final panel discussion, and 52 documentary and feature film screenings—many of which are North American premieres and will screen with English subtitles for the first time. Visit the Culture in the Cold War website for further details.
Among the wealth of presentations on classical and modern composers, painters and other artists, not-to-be-missed highlights include:
- The North American premiere and DVD release of DUSK: 1950s East Berlin Bohemia (1993), on the arts scene surrounding Bertolt Brecht and the Berliner Ensemble before the Berlin Wall
- Four feature film screenings at the Amherst Cinema Arts Center (28 Amity Street): Marriage in the Shadows (6/19), Midnight Revue (6/28), The Naked Man on the Sports Field (7/3) and whisper & SHOUT (7/10)
- A special, one-time-only showing of I’m a Negro, I’m an American (1989), an East German documentary about the American legend Paul Robeson (6/25)
- An exhibition of graphic artworks, Mutterkuchen: Selected Works of Anke Feuchtenberger (6/26-7/13; opening 6/26), in the Olver Design Building on the UMass campus
- Lectures by Institute faculty on: Five Myths about East German Visual Art (6/18, April Eisman, Iowa State Univ.); Sounding Utopia in the GDR (6/26, Elaine Kelly, Univ. of Edinburgh); Music, Modernity and International Solidarity (6/29, Johanna Yunker, UMass Amherst); Opera on Film, DEFA Style (7/2, Joy Calico, Vanderbilt Univ.); Artists on Film: Art for Art’s Sake (7/3, Seán Allan, Univ of St Andrews); and Painting Women: Women Artists in the GDR (7/5, April Eisman, Iowa State Univ.)
- A final panel discussion on Post-Unification Debates on GDR Art (7/11)
The Institute and accompanying Public Film & Lecture Series are organized and hosted by the DEFA Film Library and German & Scandinavian Studies at UMass Amherst. Major sponsors include: the National Endowment for the Humanities; the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, DEFA Film Library and German and Scandinavian Studies at UMass Amherst; and the DEFA Stiftung in Berlin.