Colloquium | Bridget Swanson

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - 12:00pm

330 Fisher-Bennett Hall | Penn Campus

Today's talk has been cancelled due to inappropriateness.

We received the very sensible statement from our speaker, Bridget Swanson:

"Today is Kristallnacht, the day of remembrance of the Jewish pogrom in Germany. Because it explores the pedagogic potential of a comedic adaptation of a Nazi Jewish hate film, it would be painful - and inappropriate- in the direct aftermath of the election. I need to cancel today, but would kindly request that anyone who had been interested in attending spend a few minutes in silence in honor and remembrance of the victims of the Jewish pogrom."

With our apologies.

Bridget Swanson

Reframing Jud Süß: Pedagogy and Twenty-First-Century Canon Films

How can one ethically engage with and represent the discontents of the Third Reich’s filmic past? In this talk, I present the concluding section of my dissertation “Twenty-First-Century German Film, Education, and the Development of a Transnational Adaptation Aesthetic.” Here, I focus on Veit Harlan’s notorious Jud Süß (1940), whose material circulation has been forbidden within Germany since the end of WWII, but whose status has remained emblematic of Susan Sontag’s famous formulation of “fascination fascism” as an often-fetishized object. I examine Oskar Roehler’s controversial cinematic adaptation Jud Süss – Film ohne Gewissen (2010) as an attempt to recuperate and materialize Harlan’s film for its potential to educate contemporary, transnational spectators. Although Roehler succeeds at reframing Harlan’s footage, the film – as the intersection of two material texts – nevertheless problematically revivifies and recirculates that original object within Roehler’s adaptation. Roehler’s transnational audiences are positioned not only as critical viewers but also as voyeuristic recipients of an image that struggles to overcome its fetishized status, thereby troubling the spectator’s position vis-à-vis the object of the film(s). Drawing on contemporary work attuned to the materiality of adaptation practices, the appropriative actions of educational institutions, and spectator theory, my argument is fundamentally about the difficult appropriation of an historical imaginary within a materialized image.

Bridget Swanson is a graduate student at Penn. She holds a B.A. in German and English Literatures from the University of Miami, and a M.A. in Germanic Languages and Literatures from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include film studies and foreign language pedagogy, and she is currently completing her dissertation, entitled "The 21st Century Canon Film and the Development of a Trans/National Adaptation Aesthetic." In addition to her dissertation research, Bridget is co-author of Augenblicke: German through Film, Media and Texts, currently in use at University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Irvine. She regularly presents her research on the intersection of film and foreign language pedagogy at conferences nationwide.

Cinema Studies Program
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