WARWICK WORKSHOP FOR INTERSDISCIPLINARY GERMAN STUDIES
Thursday 22 October, 5 pm, Social Studies C1.11/15
Anja Henebury (University of Leeds)
'Historical Testimony in Günter Grass's Im Krebsgang'
When Günter Grass's novella Im Krebsgang about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff was published in 2002 it triggered a debate about representations of the suffering of non-Jewish German civilians during World War II. Through his alter ego which appears in the text as well as in the interviews which accompanied its publication Grass emphasised that this chapter of German history had until recently been taboo and thus neglected by his generation of writers. Yet, Grass stressed, it needed addressing because this shortcoming had allowed a right-wing revisionist interpretation of the events to become hegemonic. In recent years, however, it has been argued convincingly that this taboo never existed but that wartime stories about expulsions were always present in official publications, literature and in the private sphere of family memories. The paper will examine Grass's attempt to tackle the alleged taboo-subject by focussing on the textual strategies which legitimise the narrative and explore the discourse of the 'survivor' Tulla Pokriefke as an adaptation of the testimonial literature of the survivors of the Holocaust.
Tuesday 03 November, 5 pm, H2.02
Lorenz Schröter liest aus seinem Buch Mein Esel Bella oder wie ich durch Deutschland zog, eine Hommage an Robert Louis Stevensons Reise durch die Cevennen. Es geht um eine 300-Meilen-Wanderung mit Esel durch Deutschland und um Analogien von Lesen und Reisen. Mitbringen wird Schröter auch seinen letzten Roman Das Buch der Liebe. Lorenz Schröter, 1960 in München geboren, gilt dank Die Einsamkeit des Amokläufers (1982) und Die Nacht des Fehlers (1985) als „vergessener Vater der Popliteratur“ (Telepolis) und dank seiner Reportagen in Tempo als „Pionier des Popjournalismus“ (Wikipedia). In den 80er Jahren spielte er unter dem Namen Lorenz Lorenz in diversen Avantgarde-Bands und radelte um die Welt. In den 90ern lebte er teilweise in Hongkong und schrieb Mein Esel Bella (7. Platz der Zeit Sachbuch Bestsellerliste) über seine Reise mit einem Esel durch Deutschland. Es folgten die Romane Lucy, Die Venuspassage, Das Buch der Liebe sowie drei Ratgeber für junge Erwachsene und die Meeressammelsurium-Reihe Kielschwein (in 7 Ländern publiziert). Lorenz Schröter schreibt Hörspiele und Features. Er lebt in Berlin.
17 November, 5-7pm
Helmut Schmitz/Christine Achinger (University of Warwick)
Benjamin/Brecht - Adorno/Celan: Konstellationen einer Ästhetik vor und nach Auschwitz
09-10: TERM 2
Tuesday 09 February, 5pm, H2.02, Humanities Building
Anthony Phelan (University of Oxford):
‘Brecht on Benjamin: On the Philosophy of History’
In 1929 Walter Benjamin sought out the friendship of Bertolt Brecht, and they hoped to collaborate on a new journal. The friendship continued amidst the vicissitudes of exile, and on three occasions Benjamin visited Brecht in Denmark. After Benjamin's death, Brecht had a chance to read 'On the Philosophy of History' and noted in his diary: 'The little treatise deals with historical research and could have been written after reading my CAESAR (which Benjamin couldn't make much of when he read it in Svendborg [Denmark]).' The paper explores this possible common ground in Benjamin's and Brecht's notions of historical understanding, and seeks to address the question of whether history for Benjamin is understood as an intuition (the 'tiger's leap') or as a construct.
Tuesday 23 February, 6pm, H2.02, Humanities Building
Dagmar Brunow (University of Halmstad / Universität Hamburg):
‘Migrant documentaries as national counter-historiography. Fatih Akin's We forgot to go back (Wir haben vergessen zurückzukehren, 2001)’
In its performative mode Fatih Akin's autobiographical documentary Wir haben vergessen zurückzukehren (We Forgot to Go Back, Germany 2001) constitutes a work of memory which contests the exclusion of migrant and diasporic experiences from official German historiography. Autobiographical filmmaking, in folding private recollections into the public sphere, can be regarded as a counter-practice to the hegemonic national discourse. Yet, while counter-practices often imply taking a somewhat essentialist, homogenizing stand as a migrant or diasporic subject, Dagmar Brunow argues that Akin's film employs aesthetic strategies which defy essentialism. This paper will analyse how Akin's film opposes notions of homogeneity and authenticity both by pointing at the situatedness of knowledge and by decoupling identity from territory through the use of music and the mapping of urban space.
Dagmar Brunow teaches film studies at Halmstad University College in Sweden, at Linnaeus University in Växjö and at Lund University (Sweden) and is currently completing a PhD at Hamburg University (Germany). Her thesis deals with aesthetic strategies in Black British and Asian British avant-garde filmmaking as well as with questions of canonisation and diasporic memory. Her work as a literary translator comprises more than 30 books, among them Stig Björkman's interview book with Lars von Tier (Trier über von Trier) and The Ingmar Bergman Archives (Taschen). She also works as a radio editor at the independent radio station FSK 93,0 in
Hamburg and as a contributor to the critical journal of popular culture testcard. Beiträge zur Popgeschichte.
Tuesday 09 March, 5pm, H2.02, Humanities Building
Peter Riedl (Universität Freiburg):
‘Gewaltinszenierungen. Formen des Spiels im Spiel in Kleists Dramen’
In den Dramen und Erzählungen Heinrich von Kleists findet sich eine Fülle sehr unterschiedlich modellierter kleiner Schau-spiele, die, in differenten Formen und Funktionen, die gestörte oder suspendierte Kommunikation der Protagonisten vorführen, konterkarieren oder auch verschärfen. Der Vortrag beleuchtet einzelne dieser Szenarien und fragt danach, wie sie das Kräftefeld der jeweiligen Dramen prägen. Im Mittelpunkt der Betrachtung stehen einschlägige Spiel-Handlungen in Penthesilea, Die Herrmannsschlacht und Prinz Friedrich von Homburg, die u.a. auch mit Blick auf entsprechende Techniken in William Shakespeares Hamlet interpretiert werden. Kleists Spielanordnungen sind indes keine ‚Hebeammenkunst’ der Wahrheitsfindung; sie erzeugen vielmehr selbst einerseits arbiträre Zeichen, folgen andererseits, im Falle Herrmanns, aber auch einer mörderischen Strategie totaler Manipulation von Freund und Feind. Die – in unterschiedlicher Weise – grausamen Spiele der Protagonisten sind Akte der Gewalt und evozieren, beabsichtigt oder nicht, Gewalt, die, einmal entfesselt, sich nicht mehr kontrollieren lässt. Die Spiele im Spiel in Kleists Dramen sind jedenfalls unterschiedlich ausgeprägte Gewaltinszenierungen, die in ihrer Mikrostruktur die Makrostruktur der Dramen spiegeln.
09-10: TERM 3
Tuesday 04 May, 5pm, H2.02
Cornelie Usborne (Roehampton University, London)
'Discovering Desire: researching female sexuality in everyday life in Nazi Germany’
How can we study women’s sexuality in the past? What sources are available that tell us how women experienced desire? Historiography has hitherto tended to concentrate on the construction of sexuality, ie. the study, regulation and control of sexuality and it tended to concentrate on the repression of sexuality by scientific and other social elites. A cultural history of sexual practices is much rarer because more difficult to research. This paper discusses the problems but also possible solutions to locating women’s own narratives. It will focus on archival records from the Second World War which reveal the fate of German women who were denounced and interrogated for having illicit romantic unions with prisoners of war from the occupied territories in France. The events took place in villages or market towns in Upper Bavaria. Many women who were left to look after farms and small holding or women who had been conscripted to work in industry were assigned help from prisoners of war and thus often worked in very close proximity alongside these men. Frequently, such close cooperation developed into sexual relations. I am keen to learn more from these judicial files how women thought and talked about desire and what role they played in sexual encounters. Did they conform to the notions of gendered sexual behaviour assigned by sex reformers and politicians or did women subvert such prescriptions? What do these sources tell us about women’s view of marriage and propriety? Was there a special allure of foreign men and Frenchmen in particular? These are only some of the questions I want to address when evaluating these particular sources.
Tuesday 18 May, 5pm, H2.02
Christoph Mick (University of Warwick)
'War, memory and nation building: Lviv in the 20th century’
Lviv, today the urban centre of Western Ukraine, has been contested throughout its history. In the 19th and early 20th century the city was the Polish and Ukrainian Piedmont and a centre of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. At the same time it was a focal point where imperial Russian, Austrian and German aspirations intersected. During the two world wars the city experienced seven regime changes. Using the example of Lviv and the Polish-Ukrainian borderlands, the paper will analyse the connections between war, memory and nation building in 20th century Europe.
07 October, 5pm , H202
Ladislaus Loeb (University of Sussex):
‘Rezső Kasztner – A Jewish Schindler?’
(in collaboration with the Social Theory Centre)
Six monts before the end of World War II 1670 Hungarian Jews were released from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and sent to Switzerland thanks to an extraordinary deal between Adolf Eichmann, chief organiser of the Holocaust, and Rezső Kasztner, a Jewish lawyer and journalist. In the 1950s in Israel Kasztner was accused of collaborating with the Nazis and murdered by Jewish extremists. Ladislaus Löb, Emeritus Professor of German at Sussex University, was one of many children saved by Kasztner. Based on his new book, Dealing with Satan: Rezső Kasztner’s Daring Rescue Mission, he will discuss Kasztner’s controversial achievement and recount memories of life in ‘Belsen’.
28 October , 5pm, H2.02
Erica Carter (University of Warwick):
‘Béla Balàzs and the fairy tale of early silent film’
(jointly hosted with the Department of Film and Television Studies)
This paper emerges out of Erica Carter’s collaboration with Rodney Livingstone (Southampton) on a translation of two film-theoretical works by Béla Balázs, Der sichtbare Mensch
, 1924) and Der Geist des Films
(The Spirit of Film
, 1930). The paper situates Balázs as an emblematic early twentieth-century cosmopolitan intellectual whose vision of film as a universal language drew inspiration from the multilingual, European-Jewish and leftist intellectual circles in which he moved. During his early years in Budapest, Vienna, Paris, Florence and
Berlin, Balázs embraced in both his theoretical writings and his fiction (fairy stories, screenplays, plays, ballets, opera libretti) a mode of utopian modernism developed in dialogues across a network of collaborators, mentors and friends, including Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály, György Lukács, and Georg Simmel. Central both to his film theory and to his prose fiction was a romantic enthusiasm for the fairy tale, whose relation to film the paper explores through Balázs’s analyses of the close-up, performance and montage.
11 November, 5pm, H2.02
Georgina Paul (St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford):
'Masculinity in trouble: narratives of the self in Max Frisch's Mein Name sei Gantenbein (1964)’
‘Ich probiere Geschichten an wie Kleider!’
(‘I try on stories like clothes!’)
Max Frisch’s 1964 novel Mein Name sei Gantenbein
is renowned for its highly intricate narrative structure, through which a male first-person narrator generates a proliferation of named narrative roles in an apparent effort to come to terms with a never explicitly defined ‘Erfahrung’ (‘experience’). Approaching the novel in the context of a larger study of gender in post-1945 German literature, Georgina Paul proposes a reading of the novel as symptomatic of a crisis in the conceptualisation of masculine subjectivity inherited from earlier in the modern period and an attempt, through narrative role-play, to retrieve a form of masculine identity based on self-mastery and control.
08-09: TERM 3
Tuesday 28 April, 5pm, Humanities H2.02
Sabine Hake (University of Texas)
‘Weimar Modernism and the Architecture of Class’
Weimar Berlin remains a ubiquitous reference point in the debates on post-unification Berlin and the marketing of the German capital as a heterogeneous, multicultural, and cosmopolitan metropolis. Both the 1920s and 1990s share a similar preoccupation with architecture as an overdetermined signifier of identity, nation, and community, and both periods have produced a rich body of images, texts, and discourses that position architecture as the center of often competing spatial and symbolic practices. Sabine Hake shows how the program of the New Berlin initiated by Martin Wagner not only forces us to approach modernism as an intervention in Weimar class society but also allows us to reassess the discursive function of architectural culture in general from the perspective of class.
30 October 2007
Helmut Schmitz (Warwick)
'Trauma and mourning in Sebald's Luftkrieg und Literatur und Friedrich's Der Brand'
5pm, Humanities Building, H 202.
27 November 2007
Anil Bhatti (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
‘Weltliteratur, Germanistik und Komparatistik im postkolonialen Zusammenhang'
In this paper, Professor Bhatti will discuss postcolonial perspectives in German literary studies from Goethe, through twentieth-century exile literature, to contemporary diasporic cultural production.
Professor Bhatti’s recent English-language publications include Jewish Exile in India. Ed. Anil Bhatti & Johannes Voigt, New Delhi 1999 (Manohar); and ‘Cultural Homogenisation, Places of Memory and the Loss of Secular Urban Space. In: Helmuth Berking, Sybille Frank et.al. (eds), Negotiating Urban Conflicts. Interaction, Space and Control, Bielefeld 2006. 5pm, Humanities Building, H 202.
Prof. Bhatti will also be giving the Donald Charlton lecture for the Warwick Humanities Research Centre on
28 November 2007
For a recording of the lecture, please click here.
5.30 pm, Ground Floor, Humanities Building, H 051.
07-08: TERM 2
26 February, 5pm, H202
'Race, Blood, and Masculinity: Nazi efforts to control the sexuality of German soldiers in the Soviet Union, 1941-1945'
11 March, 5pm
Reading by José Oliver (Warwick Writer in Residence)
For links to poems and podcasts please click here
07-08: TERM 3
Wednesday 30 April, 2008, 5pm; Humanities H 2.02
Geoff Eley (Department of History and Department of German, University of Michigan)
'Empire by Land or Sea? Germany's Imperial Imaginary, 1871-1945'
This talk will take stock of the past four decades of historiography surrounding German imperialism by setting more recent preoccupations against the concerns of the Fischer Controversy and the concurrent interest inspired by Wehler's concept of social imperialism, and by reflecting on the relationship between Nazi imperialism and the earlier period of the Kaiserreich. The paper will explore the possibilities of developing an overall framework of analysis that can allow those separate forms of expansionism to be considered together.