dissertations in german studies 2016

Adams, Samuel. Art and Epic Theater in Cold War Germany. University of Southern California; Art History. Directors: Megan Luke, Paul Lerner, Suzanne Hudson. March 2016. Abstract:

“Art and Epic Theater in Cold War Germany” looks at medium mixing, border crossing, and genre defiance in the period of a divided Germany, when such acts had grave consequences. Produced in collaboration with a circle of leading theater directors, stage sets by artists John Heartfield, Joseph Beuys, Wolf Vostell, Daniel Spoerri, and Niki de Saint Phalle responded to post-fascist discourses of democracy and the continuing resonance of Bertolt Brecht’s “epic theater” amid student revolts and state terrorism. The dissertation begins with productions by Brecht and Heartfield in East Germany in the 1950s and 60s before moving to those of Brecht’s acolytes in West Germany, showing the influence of American Pop Art at the Theater Bremen, Fluxus at theaters in Hamburg and Cologne, and installation art in Bochum, Stuttgart, and Berlin. The stage became a laboratory for art-gallery dissidents who rejected the art market’s mechanisms of cultural commodification. Curtains, scripts, rehearsals, and performances offer a framework for understanding iterative and impermanent artworks, both onstage and in galleries. The intermediality of theater—its re-presentations and conventions—was among the vital strategies for artists seeking to overcome the Cold War era’s specious distinctions of medium, ideology, and nation.

Anthony, Elizabeth. Return Home: Holocaust Survivors Reestablishing Lives in Postwar Vienna. Clark University, History Department. Advisor: Debórah Dwork. May 2016. Abstract:

After the utter devastation of families and communities, a few thousand Austrian Jewish Holocaust survivors nonetheless returned to live in Vienna. They came back in waves that largely corresponded to their shared wartime experiences, and members of each group held similar motivations and expectations. Those who endured in Nazi Vienna in hiding or under other special protected circumstances resurfaced immediately to reclaim their familial home, followed soon after by camp survivors seeking the same. Jewish exiles returned even later from places of refuge abroad, some with an idealistic political commitment to take part in the reconstruction of Austria and regain their political home, while others wanted to reestablish careers in their professional home. Why did some Viennese Jews still conceive of Vienna as “home” after all that happened? Why did they chose to live among those who just shortly before had sought their annihilation? Return Home: Holocaust Survivors Reestablishing Lives in Postwar Vienna foregrounds the private, political, and professional experiences of Austrian Jews in postwar Vienna while examining the situation of the population as a whole. It illuminates this group of survivors’ enduring attachment to the city as “home,” and examines the nuanced concepts they held of that notion.

Albierto, Olivia. Moments of Rupture: Narratological Readings of Contemporary German Literature. University of Washington; Germanics. Advisor: Brigitte Prutti. July 2016. Abstract:

This dissertation explores the representation of disruptive moments in contemporary German novels using a narratological framework of analysis. Joining the larger conversation on narrative practices in contemporary German literature, it focuses on key questions of literary form, narration and storytelling. By drawing on influential works of narratology, this project shows how narratives relate, mend and overcome personal, hermeneutical, political and social ruptures, and how they are in turn shaped by them. The opening chapter examines how a moment of personal rupture in Christoph Ransmayr’s Der fliegende Berg (2006) is reflected in the transitions between physical, virtual and mythological times and spaces, and in the encounters that characterize them. Chapter two investigates the plotting of Wolfgang Herrndorf’s Sand (2011) and the tension between (re)cognition and mistakes, understanding and bafflement on the level of diegesis and reading. Chapter three shows how the relationship between characters in Lutz Seiler’s Kruso (2014) translates into a political allegory, which stands for the failure of a utopian project and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The final chapter explores how the plural voice in Saša Stanišić’s Vor dem Fest (2014) functions to preserve a post-socialist community affected by slow decline and the death of its storyteller.

Balkan, Osman. Death on the Move: Repatriation, Burial, and the Politics of Belonging among Muslims in Germany. University of Pennsylvania; Political Science. Directors: Anne Norton, Robert Vitalis, Jeffrey Green, Jonathan Laurence. September 2016. Abstract:

This dissertation examines what happens to migrant bodies after they die. It demonstrates that the governance of the dead is intimately linked to the construction of the nation and the enactment of sovereignty. Through a comparative study of the mortuary practices of ethno-religious minorities in Germany, it highlights the ways that death structures political membership and identity. Building on extensive fieldwork conducted in Berlin and Istanbul in 2013-15, which included interviews and participant observation with bereaved families, Muslim undertakers, government officials, religious leaders, and representatives of funeral aid societies, it shows how decisions about where and how to be buried are linked to larger political struggles over the meaning of home and homeland. Focusing primarily on Turkish and Kurdish communities, it demonstrates that the corpse functions as a political object by structuring claims about citizenship, belonging, and collective identity. In highlighting the role that burial decisions play in the negotiation of social, cultural, and political boundaries, this dissertation contributes to a growing body of literature on how the long-term settlement of Muslim immigrants is transforming European societies.

Barzilay, Tzafrir. Well-Poisoning Accusations in Medieval Europe: 1250-1500. Columbia University; History. Advisor: Adam Kosto. September 2016. Abstract:

In late medieval Europe, suspicions arose that minority groups wished to destroy the Christian majority by poisoning water sources. These suspicions caused the persecution of different minorities by rulers, nobles and officials in various parts of the continent during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The best-known case of this kind of persecution was attacks perpetrated against Jewish communities in the German Empire during the first outbreak of the Black Death. Also in 1321, lepers in southwestern France were accused of attempting to spread their particular illness by poisoning wells, and local Jews of aiding them. Similar cases can be traced up until the fifteenth century. Often Jews were the victims, but lepers, Muslims, paupers and foreigners faced similar allegations and persecution. This dissertation explains why and how well-poisoning accusations were adopted in late medieval Europe. It describes the origins of this phenomenon, how it spread through the continent and its eventual decline. It shows that these accusations were created to justify and drive the persecution and marginalization of minorities. At the same time, it claims that well-poisoning accusations could not have caused such major political and social shifts unless contemporaries genuinely believed the charges were plausible, convincing and threatening.

Born, Erik. Sparks to Signals: Literature, Science, and Wireless Technology, 1800–1930. University of California, Berkeley; Departments of German Studies and Medieval Studies, and the Designated Emphasis in Film Studies. Advisors: Niklaus Largier, Anton Kaes, Mary Ann Doane. May 2016. Abstract:

“Going wireless” involves not only the elimination of wires but also the production of electromagnetic waves, a realization that had far-reaching implications for the cultural logics of German modernity. As a media archaeology of wirelessness, this dissertation situates the “discovery” of electromagnetic radiation and the “invention” of wireless transmission in a richer field of scientific, experimental, and aesthetic relations during the early and pre-history of national broadcasting. Before wireless transmission came to be synonymous with the mass distribution medium of radio or even the long-distance communication medium of wireless telegraphy, it was at the center of speculation about a variety of possible wireless futures. As a contribution to the early and pre-history of national broadcasting, this dissertation suggests a new way of thinking about the order of wirelessness, from “wireless” as synonymous with the communication medium of telegraphy or the distribution medium of radio, to “wireless” as electromagnetic radiation and a medium of experimentation.

Brand, Benjamin. Nebeneinander, Miteinander, Querfeldein: Johann Peter Hebel - Walter Benjamin - W.G. Sebald. Brown University, Department of German Studies. Advisor: Schestag, Thomas. April 2016. Abstract:

“Nebeneinander, Miteinander, Querfeldein” identifies the subversive and salvific potential in proliferating paratactic constructions in Johann Peter Hebel's work, and how this approach was captured by Walter Benjamin and ultimately passed on to the literature of W.G. Sebald. Hebel destabilizes the familiar and seemingly simple by breaking them up into incommensurable complexities. His particular use of language reveals the connection between the perceptible to the absolute excess of creation. Walter Benjamin calls Hebel’s specific mobilization of language “double talk,” which he defines as being incapable of speaking of the great and the small in any other way than as simultaneous and as deeply intertwined. Benjamin visualizes the most saturated passages of Hebel’s prose as an image, and emphasizes their relationship to death. I further maintain that in his own works, Sebald, who is introduced to Hebel’s writings through Benjamin, adapts Hebel’s “double talk,” albeit fractured through Benjamin’s lens, in order to encourage a polyvocal reading. The multitude of voices allows the living and the dead to co-reside in his prose, most notably in those motifs that he inherits directly from Hebel, such as the pilgrim and the Rose of Jericho.

Brünger, Sebastian. Geschichte und Gewinn. Der Umgang deutscher Konzerne mit ihrer NS-Vergangenheit [History and Profit. German corporations` dealings with their Nazi past]. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft. Advisors: Martin Sabrow, Michael Wildt. April 2016. Abstract:

From the Nuremberg economic processes to the negotiations for forced labor compensation, German corporations have always tried to shape the public image of their Nazi past. Sebastian Brünger is now investigating the continuity and break-up of this process of the past since 1945. He discusses strategies and forms of entrepreneurial past processing in four examples (Bayer, Deutsche Bank, Daimler and Degussa) and analyzes them in the context of the public, politics and science of their respective times. Brünger shows how companies were able to reconcile the changes in the German culture of history, while concrete role models, such as the "decent merchant", continued to carry on and research assignments to historians increasingly become an important image factor. In this way, Brünger expands the memory-historical perspective on the German culture of history by the dimension of the company's history and comprehends companies as actors of cultural memory.

Burks, Marlo Alexandra. Art’s Challenge: An Analysis of the Role of Aesthetics in the Work of Hugo von Hofmannsthal. University of Toronto; Germanic Languages & Literatures. Director: John Zilcosky. September 2016. Abstract:

My dissertation analyzes a selection of Hofmannsthal’s literary works in order to provide a thorough account of his understanding of the aesthetic encounter. By reshaping how we view philosophical aesthetics, the I argue for Hofmannsthal’s importance in the discourses of his time and our own. Setting this in the European context, I show how Hofmannsthal’s portrayal of the aesthetic encounter strives to incorporate an ethical impulse within a dialogical structure; this attempt results in a logical aporia in which ethics and aesthetics must always approach each other, but never embrace. Hofmannsthal’s most ethically successful work is also his most aesthetically stylized; it is the work farthest removed from reality. Hofmannsthal’s way to this aporia raises fundamental questions about our understanding of art: what does art do to us, and how do we respond?

Chong, Nicholas. Beethoven’s Catholicism: A Reconsideration. Columbia University; Music. Director: Elaine Sisman. June 2016. Abstract:

My dissertation challenges long-accepted views of Beethoven and his religious music by demonstrating that they were more heavily influenced by Catholic theological ideas than is usually thought. I focus in particular on the Missa Solemnis, and on Beethoven’s connection to the Bavarian theologian Johann Michael Sailer, but also explore other evidence linking the composer with the Catholicism of his time: religious references in biographical sources; religious books by theologians other than Sailer in his library; and the musical content of the religious works he wrote before the Missa, especially the Gellert-Lieder, Christus am Ölberge, and the Mass in C. I show that since the middle of the nineteenth century, most commentators have misinterpreted or overlooked the significance of such evidence, owing to an inadequate understanding of the complex nature of German Catholicism during Beethoven’s era, especially the phenomenon that recent revisionist historians of the Enlightenment have called the German Catholic Enlightenment. A more complete and historically coherent understanding of Beethoven’s religious context suggests that the composer was more of a Catholic than he has so often been made out to be, albeit one who was attracted to varieties of Catholicism that have become obscured by the mists of history.

Descher, Stefan. Relativismus in der Literaturwissenschaft. Studien zu relativistischen Theorien der Interpretation literarischer Texte. Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Seminar für Deutsche Philologie. Advisors: Simone Winko, Tilmann Köppe. December 2016. Abstract:

Relativistic accounts of interpretation are widespread in literary studies. According to these accounts, interpretations of works of literature can, at best, be relatively valid. Aiming for objective validity, proponents of relativism say, is an intrinsically flawed approach to the interpretation of literature. The book offers a comprehensive analysis of relativistic theories of literary interpretation. It examines the different forms relativistic theories can take, presents the arguments that were given for their justification, and gives a critical assessment of these arguments.

Eedy, Sean. Comic Books and Culture in the German Democratic Republic, 1955-1990: Between Constructions of Power and Childhood. Carleton University; History, Ottawa, Canada. Supervisor: Jennifer Evans. September 2016. Abstract:

In 1955, the Socialist Unity Party authorized the creation of comics to fill gaps in children’s entertainment through the regulation of Western comic books. These socialist comics were employed as extensions of the regime’s education system, developing the socialist personality for the construction of state-socialism. Just as these comics organized children’s leisure Ame, these children made their own meanings of the publications’ contents. As much as these comics fulfilled the state’s ideological agendas and fostered the spirit of socialism, the readers themselves understood comics in terms of perceived freedoms. As such, children projected their own desires, interests, and tastes upon these publications. Expectations thus limited the range of actions available to the regime for drawing readers into socialism and the SED-state. This dissertation approaches the subject of comics in the German Democratic Republic as constructions of state power and as levers of power that perpetuated SED control and the limitations of dictatorship. Although GDR comics were constructions of the regime’s power, at the same time they provided fantasies of empowerment, escapism, and were constructive of the experience of childhood under socialism.

Efimova, Svetlana. Das Schriftsteller-Notizbuch als Denkmedium in der russischen und deutschen Literatur. Freie Universität Berlin, Peter Szondi-Institut für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft. Advisor: Georg Witte. July 2016. Abstract:

Seit der Antike sind Notizbücher zum paradigmatischen Schriftraum geworden, wo sich die menschlichen Denkprozesse frei abspielen. Im Zentrum der Dissertation stehen vier prominente Notizbuchschreiber: Lev Tolstoj, Thomas Mann, Vladimir Majakovskij und Bertolt Brecht. Die herangezogenen Kontexte reichen aber weit darüber hinaus. Das Schriftsteller-Notizbuch wird als portables Medium und Denkform, als Textart und Autormodell untersucht. Das Notizbuch bildet einen Zwischenraum zwischen Operativität und Freiheit, zwischen der inneren Rede und der Schriftsprache, zwischen kognitiven Ereignissen und Werkgenese, zwischen Fakt und Fiktion sowie zwischen unterschiedlichen Facetten des Autor-Ichs. Durch die fragmentarische denk- und schreibperformative Prozessualität entstehen im privaten Notizbuch neue Formen und Techniken, die ihre literarische Produktivität im 20. Jh. bewiesen haben. Das sind die literarische Kleinform, die heterogene und disparate Sammlung der Kleinformen als hybride Gattung, der Bewusstseinsstrom, die literarische Montage, der offene Text. Als assoziatives Netz der gespeicherten Informationsstücke wird das Notizbuch zum Vorläufer des digitalen Hypertexts.

Fauroux, Camille. French Women Workers in Wartime Nazi Germany : Experiences, Politics, Memory, 1940-1945 (Les travailleuses civiles de France : des femmes dans la production de guerre de l'Allemagne national-socialiste). EHESS, Paris. Advisor: Laura Lee Downs. November 2016. Abstract:

This study considers how transnational work policies and nation-building projects shaped the intimate, daily lives of the 80,000 women who departed from France to work in Nazi Germany between 1940 and 1944. The large-scale employment of foreign labor in Germany was part of a broader strategy to increase military production without disturbing the Nazi family order. The German recruitment of French women created tensions for the French state which sought both to foster economic collaboration and restore the French family. This dissertation examines these transnational wartime labor policies and discourses and links them to personal experience, drawing on a case study of French women employed in Berlin’s electronic industry. These women lived in foreign workers camps organized by their employers. These camps were key in enabling surveillance and work coercion while preventing families from living together. In this context, the women created precarious and informal romantic relations, many giving birth to children. Mother-child ties were monitored and facilitated in the camps but became increasingly difficult to maintain as work pressure rose. Bridging transnational and personal scales, this thesis examines the nexus of war, work, and family while addressing themes of agency, gender, and memory.

Fietkau, Sebastian. Einstellungen gegenüber Immigranten in Deutschland - Abstraktionsebenen und Erklärungsansätze. Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz; Sozialwissenschaften, Medien und Sport. Directors: Dr. Thorsten Faas, Dr. Kai Arzheimer. April 2016. Abstract:

Vor dem Hintergrund des Spannungsverhältnisses von Einwanderung in liberale Demokratien und restriktiveren Bevölkerungsmeinungen wird die Frage gestellt, welche Ansichten Inländer über Zuwanderer haben und welche Gründe hierfür vorliegen. Für den deutschen Kontext liegen nur wenige Studien vor, welche sich ausführlich mit Einstellungen gegenüber Zuwanderern befassen. Mit Blick auf die demokratische Legitimität politischen Handelns ist es unerlässlich Meinungen innerhalb der Bevölkerung zu kennen und zu verstehen. Auf Grundlage einer bevölkerungsrepräsentativen Studie der Universität Mannheim werden als Einstellungsgründe in erster Linie ökonomische und nicht-ökonomische Interessenskonflikte ausgemacht. Hinzu kommen Einflüsse durch Kontakt mit Zuwanderern. Eine entscheidende Neuerung dieser Arbeit stellt die Betrachtung von Einstellungen gegenüber Immigranten auf unterschiedlichen Abstraktionsebenen dar. So unterscheiden sich sowohl die Einstellungen gegenüber individuellen Immigranten, verschiedenen Gruppen von Immigranten (mit Schwerpunkten auf Spaniern, Polen und Türken) sowie Immigranten in ihrer Gesamtheit als auch deren Erklärungen. Insbesondere individuelle Zuwanderer werden durch den sogenannten Person-Positivity Bias als wesentlich positiver wahrgenommen. Zudem kann gezeigt werden, dass je konkreter sich ein Evaluationsobjekt für den Befragten darstellt, desto eindeutiger können auch mögliche Bedrohungen wahrgenommen werden. Dies ermöglicht wiederum eine genauere Vorhersage von Einstellungen. Als unmittelbare Konsequenz ergibt sich daraus vor allem ein hohes Verbesserungspotential bei der Operationalisierung des Konzepts „Immigranten“ für die zukünftige Forschung.

Gabriel, John. Opera After Optimism: The Fate of Zeitoper at the End of the Weimar Republic. Harvard University; Directors: Anne Shreffler, Alexander Rehding, Carolyn Abbate. April 2016. Abstract:

Zeitoper – those jazz-infused operas of Weimar Republic Germany, where cars drive across the stage while characters listen to radio and sing arias in bathtubs about the joys of hot running water – is generally considered a short-lived and inconsequential genre of opera. I contend that Zeitoper endured beyond its supposed expiration date in modified forms and as a major influence on other genres of opera and music theater. Focusing on the genre’s supposed expiration date around 1930, I argue that when the optimism of the Weimar Republic’s heady middle years evaporated, composers and their collaborators continued to pursue topicality, but their operas after optimism necessarily reflected their changed views of the present-day. My analysis of the discourse of the time reveals competing understandings of topicality, what I label surface topicality and structural topicality. I then analyze five works. Ernst Toch’s Der Fächer and Ernst Krenek’s Leben des Orest demonstrate how surface topicality lost its luster but structural topicality remained a driving concern. Erwin Schulhoff’s Flammen and H.M.S. Royal Oak demonstrate how surface topicality influenced other genres of opera and music theater, and Hanns Eisler’s Die Massnahme shows the influence of structural topicality on the genre of the Lehrstück.

Gardner, Christine. The Production of Read and Conversational Speech by L1 and L2 Speakers of German. Pennsylvania State University, Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures. Advisor: Carrie N. Jackson. May 2016. Abstract:

Non-native speakers of a language often fall short of native-like pronunciation, in part because their understanding of speech styles in the L2 is limited. Sounding too formal or informal in a given situation can have social ramifications as well as effects on comprehensibility. This research investigates, through the lens of word duration, how L2 German speakers produce the different speech styles of read and conversational speech. Additional factors that moderate word duration are word frequency, word class, and second mention (i.e., where the second mention of a word is produced with a shorter duration than the first mention of the word). Data from 17 advanced L1 English-L2 German speakers and 17 L1 German speakers were submitted to a linear mixed model, which showed that the L1 English-L2 German speakers reduced function words in a native-like manner and exhibited frequency effects. In addition, the results indicate that advanced L2 speakers do produce read and conversational speech differently, making it evident that research on L2 speech should not solely rely on read speech data. Together, these findings reveal that it is possible for L2 learners to produce differences between speech styles in many of the same ways as L1 speakers.

Gheran, Michael. Betrayed Comradeship: German-Jewish World War I Veterans under Hitler. Clark University; Strassler Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies. Director: Thomas Kühne. July 2016. Abstract:

This dissertation examines how Jewish veterans of World War I responded to the rise of National Socialism, which survival strategies they developed under Nazi oppression, and why many believed that Germany would not betray them, even as the Holocaust unfolded around them. National Socialism threatened to erase everything the Jewish former combatants of the Great War had achieved and sacrificed. It sought to destroy the identity they had constructed as soldiers in the service of the fatherland, as well as the high status accorded them as Frontkämpfer, upon which their masculine and German identity rested. The same values that compelled Jewish soldiers to demonstrate bravery in the front lines in World War I also made it impossible for them to passively accept these degradations. The Nazi years were a struggle for redemption, a battle to reclaim status and honor. Without taking their military background into consideration, their behaviors and decisions during the Holocaust cannot be fully understood.

Graef, Josefin. Narrating Violent Crime and Negotiating Germanness: The Print News Media and the National Socialist Underground (NSU), 2000-1012. University of Birmingham; Political Science and International Studies. Directors: Sara Jones, Isabelle Hertner. December 2016. Abstract:

This thesis examines how the German print news media negotiate notions of Germanness by narrating the acts of violent crime committed by the right-wing extremist group National Socialist Underground (NSU) between 2000 and 2011. I combine Paul Ricœur’s textual hermeneutics with insights from narrative criminology as well as violence and narrative media studies to approach the NSU as a narrative phenomenon. I trace and compare the media narratives of a murder series of men with a migration background, a nail bomb attack in a Turkish-dominated street and an (attempted) murder of two (German) police officers both before and after the identification of the perpetrators in November 2011. The extensive narrative analysis of news media discourses reveals how notions of Germanness are negotiated through the construction of relationships between perpetrators, victims, society and the state. My key argument is that the NSU has not affected dominant perceptions of Germanness, but reinforced existing ones through the creation of a hierarchy of “‘Others’ within”: immigrants, East Germans, and (right-wing) extremists. The findings show that the interpretation of acts of violent crime, especially over extended periods of time, is rooted in everyday practices of story-telling and identity construction.

Hardtke, Thomas. Wahn - Glaube - Fiktion. Die Pathologie devianter Religiosität im medizinischen, religiösen und literarischen Diskurs seit 1800. Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Philosophie und Geisteswissenschaften. Advisor: Jutta Müller-Tamm. November 2016. Abstract:

In order to shed light on Modernity's discourse about the pathology of deviant religiosity, this dissertation focusses on three topoi: Marian apparition, the imitation of Christ and religiously motivated homicide, all of which foregrounding the problematic differentiation between "sound" faith and religious delusion. The dissertation does not only ask how medical, religious and literary knowledge about the pathology of deviant religiosity was being produced, received and adopted. It also analyses its constitution. The assignment of religious deviancy to medical discourse in the 19th century was reflected manifoldly in literary and religious texts. Various interrelations between real cases, medical and religious texts as well as literary and cinematic fiction (relations that are not only unidirectional) are being explored. Also, the poetic construction and simultaneous subversion of religious mania as fiction will be examined as a metaleptic figure of thought.

Hart, Heidi. Contrary Voices: Heine, Hölderlin, and Goethe in the Music of Hanns Eisler. Duke University; German. Advisor: Thomas Pfau. April 2016. Abstract:

Contrary Voices examines composer Hanns Eisler’s settings of 19th-century poetry under changing political pressures from 1925 to 1962. The poets’ ideologically fraught reception histories, both under Nazism and in East Germany, led Eisler to intervene in this reception and voice dissent by radically fragmenting the texts. His musical settings both absorb and disturb the charisma of 19th-century sound materials, through formal parody, dissonance, and interruption. Often the very charisma the composer seeks to expose for its power to sway the body politic exerts a force of its own. At the same time, his text-settings resist ideological rigidity in their polyphonic play. A dialogic approach to musical adaptation shows that, as Eisler seeks to resignify Heine’s problematic status in the Weimar Republic, Hölderlin’s appropriation under Nazism, and Goethe’s status as a nationalist symbol in the nascent German Democratic Republic, his music invests these poetic voices with surprising fragility and multivalence. It also destabilizes received gender tropes, in the masculine vulnerability of Eisler’s Heine choruses from 1925 and in the androgynous voices of his 1940s Hölderlin exile songs and later Goethe settings. Ultimately Eisler’s music translates canonical material into a form as paradoxically faithful as it is violently fragmented.

Hochmuth, Hanno. Öffentlichkeit und Privatheit in Friedrichshain und Kreuzberg. Eine integrierte deutsche Stadtgeschichte. Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften. Advisors: Paul Nolte, Konrad H. Jarausch. July 2016. Abstract:

The dissertation explores the history of the divided Berlin by focusing on the two boroughs of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg in East and West Berlin, respectively. They shared a mostly similar history, until the two boroughs became part of opposing political systems. The Cold War set them onto diverging trajectories. In 1961, the erection of the Wall finally cut most remaining connections between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. After the fall of the Wall, however, the two boroughs started to converge again and have even merged within the reunited city of Berlin in 2001. This unique historical constellation allows a special perspective on the German division. The dissertation examines the divided German history on a local level while considering not only aspects of division but also shared challenges and mutual reactions on both sides. This kind of an integrated postwar history explores commonalities, differences and entanglements between East and West Berlin.

Horakova, Anna. Mimicry as Critique: New Perspectives on the Prenzlauer Berg, Avantgarde Aesthetics, and Communist Cultures of Dissidence. Cornell University; German Studies. Advisor: Leslie A. Adelson. July, 2016. Abstract:

This dissertation reappraises the literary and artistic production of the “Prenzlauer Berg poets,” a loosely associated collective of poets and artists who produced work in self- publishing journals (samizdat) throughout the last decade of the German Democratic Republic. Challenging the scholarly consensus, my project assesses methods of formal mimicry in texts by the PB poets Jan Faktor, Bert Papenfuß-Gorek, Karla Sachse, Uwe Warnke, and others in relation to the cultural and political context of the GDR. Such mimicry is comprised of conflicting gestures of imitation, rejection, and critique, which these poets appropriate from the transnational avantgardes. “Mimicry as Critique” argues that the poets adapt these practices to the late 20th-century GDR in three key ways: first, by subverting the regime’s self-legitimizing claims to steady progress toward communism, and thus continuing a dialogue between three successive generations of East German avantgardists (Chapter One); second, by manipulating official East German discourse with an eye to its reform (Chapter Two); and third, by joining in a diachronic dialog that extends from the Russian productivist avantgarde to the Weimar era and East German photomonteur John Heartfield (Chapter Three), and finally to the playwrights Bertolt Brecht and Heiner Müller (Chapter One).

Kage, Melanie. ‘Schimmelreitergeschichte’: Companion Species and Clutlral Techniques in ‘Jahrhundertwende’ Novellas by Hofmannsthal and Storm.University of British Columbia, Canada; Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies. Advisors: Dr. Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, Dr. Steven Taubeneck, Dr. Ilinca Iurascu. December 2016. Abstract:

The thesis investigates horse-riding in two novellas of the German Jahrhundertwende: Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Reitergeschichte and Theodor Storm’s Der Schimmelreiter. Cultural and Literary Animals Studies constitute the framework for the analysis of equitation as a human-animal relationship with cultural and literary entanglements. Two posthumanist theories untangle the human-animal agents: Donna Haraway’s Companion Species (CS) approach and German Media Studies’ Cultural Techniques (CT) approach. CS concepts analyse the texts’ human-equine figures and contact zones, while CT notions examine the recursive chains of operations in the body technique horse-riding. The combined approaches engage with the material-semiotic complexities of equitation with new methodological tools: world- making, emerging thirds, natureculturalization and earthiness. The literary texts are accompanied by Equitation Science research and horsemanship manuals for even deeper practical insights. The interpretations of Reitergeschichte and Der Schimmelreiter untangle the concatenated links, loops, and liminal zones between rider, horse and earthy ground. Thus, the earthiness of riding stands out and indicates seismic shifts of the Jahrhundertwende’s trembling transitions in art, science and society in a larger context. The thesis thereby expands into the fields of Ecocriticism and Environmental Humanities.

Kovacs, Teresa. Drama als Störung. Elfriede Jelineks Konzept des Sekundärdramas. Universität Wien, Institut für Germanistik. Advisor: Pia Janke. April 2016. Abstract:

Die Dissertation geht vom Prinzip der Störung aus, um das widerständige, politische Potential von Elfriede Jelineks selbst eingeführter „Gattung“ des „Sekundärdramas“ zu beschreiben. Die von Jelinek als Sekundärdramen ausgewiesenen Stücke Abraumhalde (2009) und FaustIn and out (2011) dürfen ausschließlich gemeinsam mit jenen Texten inszeniert werden, auf die sie sich beziehen: Lessings Nathan der Weise und Goethes Urfaust. Störungstheorien verschiedener Disziplinen miteinbeziehend, fokussiert die Arbeit auf Michel Serres’ Der Parasit und sein darin entwickeltes Kommunikationsmodell, das die Positionen von „Wirt“, „Gast“ und „Störer“ prinzipiell offen und somit uneindeutig lässt. Dies ermöglicht es, nicht einseitig Jelineks Texte als Störung zu begreifen, sondern auch Lessings und Goethes Dramen aus dieser Position heraus zu lesen. Die Arbeit interessiert sich in den konkreten Text- und Inszenierungsanalysen für das „In-Verhältnis-Setzen“ von Drama und Sekundärdrama und fragt, inwieweit diese einander modifizieren, in Frage stellen, aber auch anreichern. Das Drama wird als eine historische Form diskutiert, die an patriarchalen Macht- und Gewaltstrukturen partizipiert, und die Jelineks Sekundärdramen, die bewusst von konventionellen Dramaturgien abweichen, kritisch reflektieren. Die Dissertation zeigt, wie durch das Ineinander von literarischem Kanon und davon Ausgeschlossenem sowie von historischer und gegenwärtiger Text- und Theaterpraxis Bruchstellen eröffnet werden, die dem „Anderen“ Raum geben und alternative Formen der Wahrnehmung möglich machen.

Lozinski-Veach, Natalie. Creaturely Constellations: Animals, Literature, and Critical Thought after Auschwitz. Brown University, Comparative Literature. Advisor: Gerhard Richter. December 2016. Abstract:

The dissertation analyzes the destabilization of the human-animal divide in literary and theoretical discourse after the Shoah. It demonstrates how the works of Theodor W. Adorno, Paul Celan, W. G. Sebald, and Tadeusz Różewicz respond to the dehumanization of the Holocaust by embracing non-anthropocentric literary modes of expression. Challenging a traditional binary perception of humans and animals, their texts attempt to think human being not in contrast to other forms of life, but in mutual attentiveness, transforming language from a dividing line into a point of contact between different species. In this manner, these texts challenge the normative Western model of human exceptionality, which has often been considered to have provided, against its own intentions, part of the conceptual and ideological framework for the Holocaust. If dehumanizing systems rely on devaluing human life by reducing it to mere animality, troubling the systematic rift between humans and other animals undermines such paradigms. The project probes the implications of the critical animal turn for reading and writing about the Holocaust while also reconsidering the question of humanity after the Shoah by exploring how an extension beyond the human can illuminate the blind spots in theoretical frameworks that presuppose secure subject positions.

McKean, John. Towards a ‘Wahre Art’: The Development of Keyboard Technique in the German Baroque. University of Cambridge; Music. Supervisors: John Rink, Martin Ennis. April 2016. Abstract:

Keyboardists and music historians have long spoken of ‘a great change’ that reshaped German keyboard performance practice around the turn of the eighteenth century. Conventional historiography accounts for these developments in conceptual terms, as a history of ideas and compositional techniques. However, many performers sense that these developments stemmed in large part from the haptic, kinaesthetic dimension of keyboard playing. To understand that dimension more fully, this study provides an account of historical keyboard technique as a nexus of ever-evolving theoretical frameworks and embodied kinaesthetic practices of musical performance. To this end, the (im)material elements of keyboard playing are first examined: organology, the role of notation/Generalbass, and the notion of technique itself. Thereafter, historical pedagogy and the literary discourse on keyboard performance and Generalbass are considered. A close reading of historical keyboard compendia paints a picture of common playing technique entering a period of flux. Developmental trends concerned with finger mechanics and fingering reveal how whole-hand techniques and the greater use of the thumb gradually superseded the practices of paired fingering. Finally, the corpus of published keyboard music from the turn-of-the-century period is surveyed, revealing how developmental trends are manifest in repertorial contexts.

Mrozek, Bodo. Delinquenz und Normalisierung. Von der Jugend- zur Popkultur: eine transnationale Geschichte / Delinquency and Normalization. From Youth Culture to Pop Culture – a transnational history. Free University Berlin, Friedrich-Meinecke-Institute, Department for Contemporary History. Advisors: Paul Nolte (Berlin), Detlef Siegfried (Copenhagen). July 2016. Abstract:

Clamorous sounds, unruly behavior, and colorful fashions: the sonic vocabulary used by contemporaries to describe the new youth scene in the mid-20th century mark a cultural dividing point. Aesthetic conflicts culminated in street riots and produced police measures, censorship, and laws. Spectacular court cases against youths led to negative social clichés of male urban youth: the American juvenile delinquent, the British teddy boy, the French blouson noir and the German halbstarke. Under the pressure of new formats like DJ radio, European radio broadcasters, first and foremost the BBC, hesitantly opened up to new content. New kinds of youth and music magazines influenced pop-specific semantics. Like cinema, these media played an important role in the international expansion of new youth styles: hipsters, existentialists and beatnik, mods, and hippies presented alternatives to national youth ideals. However, images of race, class, and gender were also negotiated controversially. In his comprehensive pop cultural history, Bodo Mrozek describes a profound transformation that took place in the fifties and sixties, and also influenced adult society: what was still combated as delinquent youth in 1956, was already considered the epitome of urban culture under the seal of pop. This uneven decade could be considered a “saddle period” of pop history.

Neuman, Nichole. L.A., Berlin, and Beyond: Decentering german Film History. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; German, Scandinavian, and Dutch. Directors: Richard McCormick, Rembert Hüser. October 2016. Abstract:

“L.A., Berlin, and Beyond: Decentering German Film History,” investigates different cinematic communities, questioning where German cinema occurs and what cinematic objects comprise German film history. This research focuses on the transatlantic migrations of a collection of German language Heimat films (the “LA-Sammlung”) in order to recast how national cinema is defined. In examining sites of German cinema outside its generic and geo-political borders, I call for a broad inclusion of Germanness in defining German cinema and cinema history. This work looks at German/-American Los Angeles in the mid 20th century and utilizes the theoretical framework of prosthetic memory to posit that the postwar Angeleno media (including the German theater, La Tosca) cultivated a West German identity, despite a heterogeneous German-speaking audience. It further examines the German film archive’s own institutional politics to illustrate both the restrictions and possibilities of a nationally based cinema. The final section looks at the postwar, West German Heimat genre’s influence on and presence in other national screen cultures, e.g., in Bollywood, to suggest that this so-called domestic genre has global reach.

Neumann-Rieser, Doris. "der staub, den sie bei ihren kämpfen aufwirbeln, das ist die wirkliche materie." Realitätskonzeptionen in Bertolt Brechts Texten. Universität Wien, Institut für Germanistik. Advisors Werner Michler, Günther Stocker. May 2016. Abstract:

Der Diskurs um das Reale und die Realität, die Wahrheit, die Wirklichkeit und deren „objektive“ Darstellung ist in den letzten Jahren in der Forschung von Bedeutung gewesen. Diese Dissertation unternimmt es, die Positionierung der Texte Brechts in diesem Diskurs zu untersuchen. Beachtet werden literarische Texte aller Gattungen, sowie theoretische Arbeiten des Autors, geordnet nach Entstehungszeit. Es zeigt sich, dass die jeweiligen Aussagen zu Realität, „realistischer“ Darstellung, Wahrheit, objektiver Dokumentation etc. mit der jeweiligen Entstehungszeit korrespondieren und Brecht mithin in seiner Textproduktion den Strömungen des Diskurses folgt, auf aktuelle Debatten und literarische Modeerscheinungen eingeht. So lassen sich Positionierungen im Kontext des Spätexpressionismus anhand einer Option für ein materialistisches, jedoch philosophisch nicht reflektiertes Realitätskonzept, im Kontext der Neuen Sachlichkeit anhand eines Lobes von Sachlichkeit im Gegensatz zu Innerlichkeit feststellen. Parallel entwickelt sich die Theorie des epischen Theaters, das Darstellung als solche reflektiert und reflektierbar machen will – das Dargestellte erscheint dabei nie unkritisch als die Wirklichkeit selbst. Ab 1930 ergänzt sich dieses Bild um den innerkommunistischen Diskurs, der die (soziale) Realität zu definieren beansprucht. Brechts Texte zeigen fortan das Bestreben diesen Diskurs gerade auch mit den Mitteln der Literatur kreativ mitzuprägen. Weiters ist die Konjunktur eines widersprüchlichen Wahrheitsbegriffs um 1934/5 zu verzeichnen.

Pehar, Lara. Kafka: A Blueprint of Desire. University of Toronto; Germanic Languages and Literatures. Supervisor: John Zilcosky. December 2016. Abstract:

Desire in Kafka has been variously theorized through the works of Freud, Lacan, Girard, Deleuze and others. Yet there appears to have been, up to now, no inverse attempt: to extract from within his literature a theoretical model of desire. By tracing the author’s incessant experimentation with desire on key texts between 1912 and 1922, this dissertation lifts the blueprint of a theory, revealing Kafka as a great theoretician of desire. Kafka’s letters, novels and stories entail a series of literary experiments that test the potency of written texts and human bodies to be employed as two mutually exclusive vehicles for desire. In his late novel-project, Das Schloß, Kafka successfully dismantles this opposition and arrives at a nuanced understanding of desire as a free multi-directional force of self-becoming. Kafka’s evolving conceptualization of desire has direct implications for the increasingly open narrative structure of his late writings: As the flow of desire ceases to be determined by the choice of a single vehicle (written texts or human bodies) and by its limitations, so too the Schloß-novel escapes the narrow parameters of a linear text and becomes multi-directional, culminating in a new literary form: a hypertext.

Plummer, Jessica. Selling Fiction: The German Colportage Novel 1871-1914. University of Texas at Austi; German Studies. Advisor: Kirsten Belgum. December 2016. Abstract:

This dissertation investigates late nineteenth-century German Kolportageromane (colportage novels), serial novels sold door-to-door as subscriptions. These publications constituted an important nexus of influence in popular print culture, but their connection to other genres such as journalism and classical drama has been overlooked. This project explores the broader cultural significance of these novels as key in the development of early mass media and culture in Germany. The initial chapters define the colportage novel and examine its links to prevailing models of practice in serial fiction and popular print in other countries. The next part focuses on the media ecosystem within Germany, in which colportage novels fill a reading niche that shared borders with the Generalanzeiger and the family magazine. On the basis of extensive work with the Kosch collection at the Deutsches Literaturarchiv in Marbach, the dissertation posits that authors and publishers of colportage novels adopted an “aesthetic of authentication” to engage readers and to compete with newspapers. Using a selection of novels about the Franco-Prussian War and the Dreyfus affair and novels adapting Faust and Wilhelm Tell, the final chapters examine how strategies of authentication dovetailed with sentiment and politics in these popular works.

Poser, Thomas. Raum in Bewegung. Mythische Logik und räumliche Ordnung im 'Erec' und im 'Lanzelet.' Universität Zürich, Deutsches Seminar. Advisor: Susanne Köbele. July 2016. Abstract:

Die spezifische Strukturlogik des Mythos erlaubt es, komplexe Sachverhalte in eine narrative Gestalt zu bringen, die andernfalls als bloß selbstwidersprüchlich und inkonsistent erscheinen müssten. Mythisches Erzählen im Modus literarischer Rede erweist sich so als veritables Instrument kultureller Selbstbeobachtung. Das Buch verfolgt dies mit Blick auf die räumlichen Strukturen der untersuchten Texte. Im Mittelpunkt stehen Schlüsselepisoden zweier Artusromane, des Erec Hartmanns von Aue und des Lanzelet Ulrichs von Zatzikhoven, flankiert von zusätzlichen Vergleichstexten aus dem weiteren Umfeld höfischer Literatur. Die These lautet, dass Raum nicht allein von der Bewegung der Figuren im Raum abhängt, sondern seinerseits als veränderlich und beweglich zu denken ist. Räumliche Strukturen werden durch die literarische Arbeit mit mythischen Erzähllogiken dynamisiert und die ihnen zugrundeliegenden Ordnungsvorstellungen so in je neuen literarischen Versuchsanordnungen auf ihre Tragfähigkeit hin befragt.

Ritson, Katie. Shifting Sands: The North Sea lowlands in the literary imagination of the Anthropocene. Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, Institute for Nordic Philology. Advisors: Annegret Heitmann, Christof Mauch. June 2016. Abstract:

My dissertation uses literary analysis to show the fragile landscapes around the North Sea have served as bellwethers for environmental concern both now and in the recent past. I look at literary accounts of the landscapes drawn from the countries around the North Sea (Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway) from the mid-nineteenth century onwards in a variety of genres, taking them out of their established national and cultural philological contexts and reframing them in the light of international human concern with fast-changing and hazardous environments. This fresh approach, which combines environmental history and ecocriticism, shows the importance of cultural artefacts in understandings of, and responses to, environmental change, and advocates for the importance of literary studies in the environmental humanities.

Rothfeld, Anne. Unscrupulous Opportunists: Second-Rate German Art Dealers as Nazi Functionaries during World War Two. American University, Washington, DC; History. Directors: Lisa Moses Leff, Richard Breitman. April 2016. Abstract:

This dissertation focuses on a group of opportunistic German art dealers who acted as collaborators with the Nazis in confiscating paintings during World War II, including Maria Almas-Dietrich, Gustav Rochlitz, Alois Miedl, and Hans Wendland. In so doing, it demonstrates the complexity of Nazi looting, by showing how collaborators took advantage of competing Nazi interests in order to enrich themselves. Second-rate, lesser-known German art dealers like these four were important cogs in the Nazis’ confiscation machine. Even though they operated on the periphery of so-called official Nazi art agents, their buying and selling of artworks was a crucial part of the story that previous scholars have overlooked. By bringing their stories to light based on research in the papers of the Art Looting Investigation Unit (ALIU), we gain a richer understanding of how Nazi expropriation efforts worked. In so doing, it also contributes to our understanding of the illegal movements of looted assets by those opportunistic art dealers, as well as the Allied attempts of investigating those involved and bringing them to justice.

Schaefer, Derek M. East German Literature in the 21st Century: Minor Literature and Alternative Memory. University of Illinois at Chicago, Germanic Studies. Advisor: Elizabeth Loentz. November 2016. Abstract:

East German Literature in the 21st century is situated in a “minor realm” within the greater canon of German Literature; a small, but essential part of the whole. After the “Wende” and the resulting collapse of the German Democratic Republic literary scholars, critics, and the public alike have either attempted to position literature by authors who lived in the former German Democratic Republic under the umbrella of “German Literature,” or to read through their works in a search for the definitive Wenderoman; for the end of the GDR had marked the end of a “GDR Literature” per se. As with the end of World War II, the ushering in of a new era once again prompted calls for literature to reflect upon the chapter in recent history that had just closed, 40 years of division ending with the “Peaceful Revolution” and unification. Despite 25 years of German unification, the writing of authors born in the GDR remains distinctly different from their West German counterparts. By examining the post-millennial works of three authors of what could also be called the “Third Generation” (Ingo Schulze, Antje Rávic Strubel, and Julia Schoch) through the lens of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s theory of “Minor Literature,” this project shows how their experiences and memories of life in the GDR, the Wende, the post-Wende 1990s, and the resulting political and social effects continue to influence their writing. I will argue that rather than simply “writing back” defiantly or nostalgically in a post-colonial sense as Paul Cooke put it in his analysis of East German writing produced in the 1990s, there has been an evolution in their literary subject matter and aesthetic characteristics. Rather, these authors explore the legacy of dictatorship, the Stasi, or “Ostalgie” (nostalgia for life in the East) and their relevance for, and effects upon contemporary society.

Schmidt, Nina. Autobiographical Writing and the Representation of Illness – a Disability Studies Perspective on Contemporary German Literature (2007-2013). University of Sheffield (UK), Germanic Studies Dept. Advisors: Caroline Bland, Sue Vice. May 2016. Abstract:

This thesis is motivated by a notable new wave – intensifying from 2007 onwards – of autobiographically inspired writing on illness/ disability, death and dying in the German-speaking world. Taking this writing seriously as literature, it examines how the authors of such personal narratives come to write of and negotiate their experiences between the poles of cliché and exceptionality, in text and in the wider public realm. Identifying shortcomings in the approaches hitherto displayed to texts that have arisen out of personal experiences with illness/ disability, the introduction makes methodological suggestions as to how to better read these new illness narratives from the stance of literary scholarship. The thesis goes on to demonstrate the value of a literary disability studies approach to autobiographical illness writing in its four main chapters, which present close readings of five examples of contemporary illness narratives, namely: Charlotte Roche’s Schoßgebete (2011), Kathrin Schmidt’s Du stirbst nicht (2009), Verena Stefan’s Fremdschläfer (2007), and – in the final, comparative chapter – Christoph Schlingensief’s So schön wie hier kanns im Himmel gar nicht sein! Tagebuch einer Krebserkrankung (2009) and Wolfgang Herrndorf’s Arbeit und Struktur (2010-2013).

Seidel, Sarah. "Erfunden von mir selbst ist keine einzige dieser Geschichten" August Gottlieb Meißners Fallgeschichten zwischen Exempel und Novelle. Fachbereich Literaturwissenschaft, Universität Konstanz. Advisor: Juliane Vogel, Matthias Schöning. May 2016. Abstract:

August Gottlieb Meißner (1753–1807) gilt als Begründer der deutschen Kriminalerzählung. Seine Skizzen, in denen er die Fallgeschichten veröffentlichte, wurden mehrfach aufgelegt und übersetzt, Raubdrucke wurden angefertigt. Als »Skizzen-Meißner« ist er Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts in die Literaturgeschichte eingegangen – aus der er schon wenige Jahre später wieder verschwand.Diese Studie widmet sich einem Autor der zweiten Reihe und dessen populären Texten. Unter Profilierung des Konzepts der Fallgeschichte werden August Gottlieb Meißners Kriminalgeschichten gattungstypologisch zwischen Exempel und Novelle gestellt. Sie werden erstmals einer umfassenden diskursiven und narratologischen Betrachtung unterzogen. Juristische und anthropologische Themenkomplexe werden mit ästhetischen und rhetorischen Darstellungsformen konfrontiert. So kann unter anderem danach gefragt werden, wie sich der Vorsatz zum Verbrechen erzählen lässt. In narratologischen Analysen werden spezifische Erzählverfahren Meißners ausgearbeitet und Meißners Vorgehen als »Textarbeiter« dargestellt.

Stokes, Lauren. ‘Fear of the Family’: Migration and Integration in West Germany, 1955-2000. University of Chicago; History. Co-Chairs: Michael Geyer and Tara Zahra. July 2016. Abstract:

This dissertation examines the politics of "family reunification" for labor migrants in West Germany since 1955 and the state's attempts to uphold a boundary between "labor" and "family" within the migration process. When "guest workers" and their family members insisted on claiming space in German society as both laborers and family members, this ultimately led to harsher restrictions on migration. The restrictions on crossing the artificial dividing line between family and labor worked to enforce a gendered division of labor within foreign families. I also argue that migration policy contributed to racializing discourses on the foreign family. During the 1980s, the "traditional" gender roles enforced by migration policy were taken to be an unchanging characteristic of the foreign family. The foreign family, initially understood as a staging ground for integration, was increasingly depicted as an obstacle to integration. Both the 1990 reform of the Ausländergesetz and the 1999 citizenship reform were influenced by this vision of "integration" as an individual project requiring a break from the family of origin.

Tillotson, Jonathan. Smallpox, Interiority and the Emergence of the Modern European Autobiography. University of Illinois at Chicago, Dept. of Germanic Studies. Advisor: Heidi Schlipphacke. May 2016. Abstract:

My dissertation examines episodes of childhood smallpox illness in the autobiographies of Franz Xaver Bronner, Giacomo Casanova, Katharina II, Wilhelmine von Bayreuth, Goethe and Johanna Schopenhauer. Drawing from Habermas’ theory of the public sphere and Friedrich Kittler’s theory of Bildung as Sozialisationsspiel, my project examines the degree to which autobiographical accounts of childhood smallpox episodes initiate a “constructed” Bildungsgeschichte, one that disguises the process of socialization through a narrative of self-fulfillment (Kittler); conversely, my project also explores the degree to which such smallpox episodes present the author’s initiation into adulthood as a moment of growth that is independent of Bildung. As an inner bodily experience, smallpox equates a subjective inner transformation of the autobiographical subject; smallpox invokes interiority as a modern construction of the body (Butler) and expresses subjective experiences of the modern self, both within the autobiographical Bildungsgeschichte as a constructed narrative of socialization (traditionally associated with the Bildungsroman) and within the autobiographies that do not express a linear Bildungsgeschichte (such as the more episodic memoirs of Casanova and Wilhelmine von Bayreuth).

Tøllefsen, Trond Ove. The British-German Fight Over Dismantling - The Removal of Industrial Plants as Reparations after the Second World War and Its Political Repercussions. European University Institute, Florence, Italy. Department of History. Advisors: Youssef Cassis, EUI, Anne Deighton, Wolfson College, Oxford University. June, 2016. Abstract:

This thesis is about the British programme to dismantle German factories as war reparations after the Second World War. Russian dismantling in Eastern Germany is more well known, but the British one was also ambitious in scope, aiming, for instance, to remove about half of the steel production capacity of the Ruhr. While the British did not succeed with their goals, they did continue pushing for completion until the Autumn of 1949, against hardening German and American opposition. This thesis, unlike other works on the British dismantling programme, focuses on it as a political issue, and especially on its later period, from 1948 onwards. It concludes that by late 1948 the British themselves did not have any clear economic or security goals behind continuing dismantling, but felt it was necessary to continue to maintain British prestige. The German response to dismantling was shaped by their wish to convince the Americans, and build connections with the French to get it ended, leading German politicians to start calling for European economic integration. The thesis shows that the political struggle over dismantling in the British Zone is an important link between the Marshall Plan and the start of European integration.

Walter-Gensler, Cindy. Ideologies of Motherhood: Literary Imaginaries and Public Discourses. University of Texas at Austin; Germanic Studies. Directors: Katherine Arens, Janet Swaffar. February 2016. Abstract:

Compared to other industrialized nations, the number of female professionals in Germany remains low, and fewer women combine a career with raising children. Public debates repeatedly argue only stay-at-home moms can secure the ideal upbringing of children. This contemporary social phenomenon is examined as a result of the interplay between Germany’s crises and multiple transformations during the twentieth-century and the failure of the nation’s shared social imaginary to provide images of alternative social roles for women. To do so, this dissertation traces discourses about mothers and motherhood reflected in German popular media (novels, films, magazines) from the Weimar Republic until today, demonstrating the persistence of a limited number of images of female identities that constrain “acceptable” roles for women to family contexts. Instead of seeking a complete history of Germany’s maternal images, however, the study provides an archive of persistent and visible gender identity scripts secured by law, custom, and the media, in its connection to the return to normalcy after crises and ruptures, which was perceived as a necessary revival of more traditional gender roles—to fill a lacuna in understanding the persisting gender inequality that sets Germany apart from other European nations and the US.

Wankhammer, Johannes. Cultures of Sense: Science, Aesthetics, and the Art of Attention in the Eighteenth Century. Cornell University; German Studies. Directors: Peter Gilgen, Paul Fleming, Neil Saccamano. July 2016.

My dissertation excavates the formative influence of a transdisciplinary discourse on Aufmerksamkeit (attention) on the emergence of modern poetics and aesthetics in eighteenth-century Germany. Adopting discourses on attention in contemporary philosophies of mind and scientific method, eighteenth-century poets like B. H. Brockes and critics like J. J. Breitinger conceived poetry as a way of training readers in a paradoxical “habit of the new” that promoted a subjectivity defined by the mastery of and adaptability to ever-changing environments. I demonstrate that this nexus between literature and the training of attention formed the basis of A. G. Baumgarten’s momentous conjunction of aísthēsis (sense perception) and artistic production in a unified theory of aesthetics. Critically revising narratives that tie the emergence of aesthetics in eighteenth-century Germany to developments within philosophical rationalism or British discussions of taste, my dissertation excavates a key constellation of modern culture centered around the training of attention as the foundation upon which an aesthetic regime of literature took shape. In doing so, it also sheds new light on a neglected chapter of the cultural history of attention, identifying the education of attention as a centerpiece of subject formation in the Enlightenment period.

Wilbers, Christian. Between Third Reich And American Way: Transatlantic Migration And The Politics Of Belonging, 1919-1939. College of William and Mary, American Studies Program. Advisor: Charles McGovern. June 2016. Abstract:

Historians consider the years between World War I and World War II to be a period of decline for German America. This dissertation complicates that argument by applying a transnational framework to the history of German immigration to the United States, particularly the period between 1919 and 1939. The author argues that contrary to previous accounts of that period, German migrants continued to be invested in the homeland through a variety of public and private relationships that changed the ways in which they thought about themselves as Germans and Americans. By looking at migration through a transnational lens, the author also moves beyond older conventions that merely saw Germanness in language and culture. Instead, the author suggests a framework that investigates race, class, consumerism, gender and citizenship and finds evidence that German migrants not only utilized their heritage to define their Americanness but that German immigrant values, views and norms did indeed fundamentally shape American national identity.