444 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Germany about their New Books
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New Books in German Studies Marshall Poe

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 26 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of Germany about their New Books
Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/german-studies

    Aleksandra Prica, "Decay and Afterlife: Form, Time, and the Textuality of Ruins, 1100 to 1900" (U Chicago Press, 2022)

    Aleksandra Prica, "Decay and Afterlife: Form, Time, and the Textuality of Ruins, 1100 to 1900" (U Chicago Press, 2022)

    Western ruins have long been understood as objects riddled with temporal contradictions, whether they appear in baroque poetry and drama, Romanticism’s nostalgic view of history, eighteenth-century paintings of classical subjects, or even recent photographic histories of the ruins of postindustrial Detroit. Decay and Afterlife: Form, Time, and the Textuality of Ruins, 1100 to 1900 (U Chicago Press, 2022) pivots away from our immediate, visual fascination with ruins, focusing instead on the textuality of ruins in works about disintegration and survival. Combining an impressive array of literary, philosophical, and historiographical works both canonical and neglected, and encompassing Latin, Italian, French, German, and English sources, Aleksandra Prica addresses ruins as textual forms, examining them in their extraordinary geographical and temporal breadth, highlighting their variability and reflexivity, and uncovering new lines of aesthetic and intellectual affinity. Through close readings, she traverses eight hundred years of intellectual and literary history, from Seneca and Petrarch to Hegel, Goethe, and Georg Simmel. She tracks European discourses on ruins as they metamorphose over time, identifying surprising resemblances and resonances, ignored contrasts and tensions, as well as the shared apprehensions and ideas that come to light in the excavation of these discourses.
    Lea Greenberg is a scholar of German studies with a particular focus on German Jewish and Yiddish literature and culture; critical gender studies; multilingualism; and literature of the post-Yugoslav diaspora.
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    • 1 hr
    James Koranyi, "Migrating Memories: Romanian Germans in Modern Europe" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

    James Koranyi, "Migrating Memories: Romanian Germans in Modern Europe" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

    Romanian Germans, mainly from the Banat and Transylvania, have occupied a place at the very heart of major events in Europe in the twentieth century yet their history is largely unknown. This east-central European minority negotiated their standing in a difficult new European order after 1918, changing from uneasy supporters of Romania, to zealous Nazis, tepid Communists, and conciliatory Europeans. 
    Migrating Memories: Romanian Germans in Modern Europe (Cambridge UP, 2022) is the first comprehensive study in English of Romanian Germans and follows their stories as they move across borders and between regimes, revealing a very European experience of migration, minorities, and memories in modern Europe. After 1945, Romanian Germans struggled to make sense of their lives during the Cold War at a time when the community began to fracture and fragment. In this interview, James Koranyi talks about how although the revolutions of 1989 seemed to mark the end of the German community in Romania, but instead Romanian Germans repositioned themselves as transnational European bridge-builders, staking out new claims in a fast-changing world.
    Roland Clark is a Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Liverpool, a Senior Fellow with the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right, and the Principal Investigator of an AHRC-funded project on European Fascist Movements.
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    • 1 hr 15 min
    Ronald Beiner, "Dangerous Minds: Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the Return of the Far Right" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2018)

    Ronald Beiner, "Dangerous Minds: Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the Return of the Far Right" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2018)

    Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and demise of the Soviet Union, prominent Western thinkers began to suggest that liberal democracy had triumphed decisively on the world stage. Having banished fascism in World War II, liberalism had now buried communism, and the result would be an end of major ideological conflicts, as liberal norms and institutions spread to every corner of the globe. With the Brexit vote in Great Britain, the resurgence of right-wing populist parties across the European continent, and the surprising ascent of Donald Trump to the American presidency, such hopes have begun to seem hopelessly naïve. The far right is back, and serious rethinking is in order.
    In Dangerous Minds: Nietzsche, Heidegger, and the Return of the Far Right (U Pennsylvania Press, 2018), Ronald Beiner traces the deepest philosophical roots of such right-wing ideologues as Richard Spencer, Aleksandr Dugin, and Steve Bannon to the writings of Nietzsche and Heidegger--and specifically to the aspects of their thought that express revulsion for the liberal-democratic view of life. Beiner contends that Nietzsche's hatred and critique of bourgeois, egalitarian societies has engendered new disciples on the populist right who threaten to overturn the modern liberal consensus. Heidegger, no less than Nietzsche, thoroughly rejected the moral and political values that arose during the Enlightenment and came to power in the wake of the French Revolution. Understanding Heideggerian dissatisfaction with modernity, and how it functions as a philosophical magnet for those most profoundly alienated from the reigning liberal-democratic order, Beiner argues, will give us insight into the recent and unexpected return of the far right.
    Beiner does not deny that Nietzsche and Heidegger are important thinkers; nor does he seek to expel them from the history of philosophy. But he does advocate that we rigorously engage with their influential thought in light of current events--and he suggests that we place their severe critique of modern liberal ideals at the center of this engagement.
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    • 47 min
    Marc Caplan, "Yiddish Writers in Weimar Berlin: A Fugitive Modernism" (Indiana UP, 2021)

    Marc Caplan, "Yiddish Writers in Weimar Berlin: A Fugitive Modernism" (Indiana UP, 2021)

    In Yiddish Writers in Weimar Berlin: A Fugitive Modernism (Indiana UP, 2021), Marc Caplan explores the reciprocal encounter between Eastern European Jews and German culture in the days following World War I. By concentrating primarily on a small group of avant-garde Yiddish writers—Dovid Bergelson, Der Nister, and Moyshe Kulbak—working in Berlin during the Weimar Republic, Caplan examines how these writers became central to modernist aesthetics. By concentrating on the character of Yiddish literature produced in Weimar Germany, Caplan offers a new method of seeing how artistic creation is constructed and a new understanding of the political resonances that result from it.
    Yiddish Writers in Weimar Berlin reveals how Yiddish literature participated in the culture of Weimar-era modernism, how active Yiddish writers were in the literary scene, and how German-speaking Jews read descriptions of Yiddish-speaking Jews to uncover the emotional complexity of what they managed to create even in the midst of their confusion and ambivalence in Germany. Caplan's masterful narrative affords new insights into literary form, Jewish culture, and the philosophical and psychological motivations for aesthetic modernism.
    Lea Greenberg is a scholar of German studies with a particular focus on German Jewish and Yiddish literature and culture; critical gender studies; multilingualism; and literature of the post-Yugoslav diaspora.
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    • 1 hr 10 min
    Olivier Delers and Martin Sulzer-Reichel, "Wim Wenders: Making Films that Matter" (Bloomsbury, 2020)

    Olivier Delers and Martin Sulzer-Reichel, "Wim Wenders: Making Films that Matter" (Bloomsbury, 2020)

    Wim Wenders: Making Films That Matter (Bloomsbury, 2020) is the first book in 15 years to take a comprehensive look at Wim Wenders's extensive filmography. In addition to offering new insights into his cult masterpieces, the 10 essays in this volume highlight the thematic and aesthetic continuities between his early films and his latest productions. Wenders's films have much to contribute to current conversations on intermediality, whether it be through his adaptations of important literary works or his filmic reinventions of famous paintings by Edward Hopper or Andrew Wyeth. Wenders has also positioned himself as a decidedly transnational and translingual filmmaker taking on the challenge of representing peripheral spaces without falling into the trap of a neo-colonial gaze. Making Films That Matter argues that Wenders remains a true innovator in both his experiments in 3D filmmaking and his attempts to define a visual poetics of peace.
    Olivier Delers is Associate Professor of French and Chair of the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Richmond, USA.
    Martin Sulzer-Reichel is Director of Arabic at the University of Richmond, USA.
    Gustavo E. Gutiérrez Suárez is MA in Anthropology, and BA in Social Communication. His areas of interest include Andean and Amazonian Anthropology, Film theory and aesthetics. You can follow him on Twitter vía @GustavoEGSuarez.
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    • 1 hr 14 min
    Malika Maskarinec, "The Forces of Form in German Modernism" (Northwestern UP, 2018)

    Malika Maskarinec, "The Forces of Form in German Modernism" (Northwestern UP, 2018)

    The late 19th and early 20th centuries in Europe were times of intense technological, social and political change and transformation, and so it’s no surprise that much of the art and literature of this period was equal in its innovative intensity, attempting to make sense of times that were radically out of joint. Traditional scholarship on this period has focused on the alienation and disassociation that can be experienced when trying to keep up with the frenetic pace of modern life. But is this what the artists and writers of the day were trying to communicate to their audience?
    Without discounting the alienating effects of modernity, Malika Maskarinec has stepped in with a fascinating monograph on the period, The Forces of Form in German Modernism (Northwestern UP, 2018), which challenges and complicates this reading, drawing our attention to other themes present in the work of the period. Turning to various archival sources to see what the artists and their peers were interested in, Maskarinec finds a collection of figures reflecting on questions of the forces and forms that hold bodies together against the weight of gravity. In this intellectual milieu, buildings and statues capacity to hold themselves up can be part of profound aesthetic experience, abstract shapes maintaining their position on a page can stir feelings of empathy, and even simple everyday activities such as laying down, standing up and walking around are activities of profound existential importance. Touching on figures such as Schopenhauer, Rodin, Simmel, Klee and Kafka, Maskarinec’s book is overflowing with insights that will help students and scholars of the period revisit these works with fresh eyes, and like the artists and writers discussed, she will prove an excellent interlocutor for all those interested in what it means to be human.
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    • 1 hr 14 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
26 Ratings

26 Ratings

Robinson76879648 ,

Timely and topical

Given that our President is a belligerent Fascist Ethno-Nationalist, it’s a crucial time to learn your Nazi history. This is an amazing resource.

JardinCook ,

should be called N*ZI studies

Over 90% of these episodes are interviews of writers on the War, Nazi Germany and/or the Holocaust—all subjects that are already well covered elsewhere, as they should be. But there is actually more to Germany’s past and present than that.

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