JUNE 3 – 27, 2019

Seminar Director:  Julia Hell, Professor of German Studies, Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures, University of Michigan

The recent reemergence of authoritarian regimes and populist movements has revived debates about the nature of twentieth century fascisms. This four-week seminar for North American faculty and recent PhDs will draw from the vast archive of transdisciplinary German Studies to explore the politics and aesthetics of the Nazi regime. Starting from Hannah Arendt’s thesis about the Third Reich as an empire of “horrible originality,” we will investigate central discourses and practices of National Socialism such as Führertum, Volk, state, Reich/empire, and politics as anti-Semitic and racialized friend/enemy constellations. Emphasizing Nazi theatricality, we will use different theoretical approaches to analyze this aesthetic dimension across different media (architecture, film, literature, the visual arts, etc.). We will conclude by reading excerpts from Peter Weiss’s Aesthetics of Resistance. Participants are encouraged to draw upon their own fields of interest and present their work in progress.

The seminar will end with a two-day conference (June 28-29) involving participants and U-M faculty.