Foreign Affairs: Travel in Post-War German and Austrian Film

Graduate Courses

CINE 550 - Foreign Affairs: Travel in Post-War German and Austrian Film

GRMN 550 | COML 552
401 |Imke Meyer |T 3-6pm

This course will focus on the representation of travel in post-war German and Austrian cinema. The trope of travel in post-war German and Austrian film allows for the cinematic exploration of questions linked to nation, national identity, and history. Issues such as self and other, historical burdens and responsibilities, migration, transnationality, colonialism, race, gender, and religion are advanced via cinematic representations of travel. The course traces the use of the trope of travel in post-1945 German and Austrian film as a reflection of and intervention in discourses on nation and national identity. Within these cultural contexts, these discourses are inextricably bound to the historical burdens of fascism and the Holocaust. The opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and German reunification in 1990 have further complicated conceptions of German nationhood. Prior to the lifting of the Iron Curtain, East and West Germany had found themselves on opposing edges of the ideological abyss separating two superpowers, Now, a reunited Germany has begun to assume a geopolitical position in the center of Europe, a fact that was also underlined in 2004, when a number of former Eastern Bloc countries joined the European Union. Meanwhile, in the wake of the 1955 State Treaty, Austria had sidestepped the participation in a public discourse on nation and the crimes of the Nazi past, a discourse that had long since begun to dominate the German cultural landscape. Since Austria’s entry into the European Union in 1995, though, it, along with its EU partners, has been confronted with questions concerning the expansion of the EU towards the east and the ways in which Turkey’s possible entry into the EU might alter European notions of national identity. Over the course of the semester, we will screen films by, for instance, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Frank Beyer, Tom Tykwer, Michael Haneke, Ayse Polat, Fatih Akin, Peter Timm, and Barbara Albert. Our discussions of the films will be framed by a selection of theoretical texts and secondary sources by, among others, Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Eric Rentschler, Thomas Elsaesser, Sabine Hake, Randall Halle, Johannes von Moltke, and Robert Stam and Ella Shohat.

last updated 06/24/2014 - 3:57pm

Cinema Studies Program
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