Banner Viadrina

Mark Aaron Keck-Szajbel

Thinking under a Rock: A Cultural History of East Central Europe, 1939-1990

Seminar: BA, Kulturwissenschaften- / Kulturgeschichte-Vertiefung
Blockseminar, Ort: AM 203, Veranstaltungsbeginn: 09.04.2011

As historians intensely involved in decoding culture for posterity, how are we to present perceptions and impressions of cultural products in totalitarian and post-totalitarian states? To what degree can we say that work published in state socialism was merely a product of propaganda, another instrument of the state to keep its population subservient and apolitical? In this compact seminar, we will analyze novels (e.g. The Loser), movies (e.g. The Architects), children’s stories (e.g. The Tinkers), and popular music (e.g. Jimmy Joe) as historians. We will interrogate the works of art, keeping in mind society, politics, as well as global events. The focus will be on state socialism and its legacy in East Central Europe, and will explicitly select works (originally) condoned by regimes. We will ask in what ways the works were subversive, extract coded language and ambiguities, and explore the fine line between samokritika and outright opposition. In so doing, we will look for the broader implications of public works on the creation of civil society and the fall of (what one scholar recently termed) “uncivil society.”
After our meetings in April, participants will be provided with time to focus on their own research projects, and we will consult regularly to help you polish your research. We will conclude with a workshop where we will present our tentative research conclusions at the end of the semester.
Literatur: A full reading list will be circulated on the first day of class, and online.
Hinweise zum Blockseminar:
Saturday, April 9 (10:00-14:00), AM 203
Saturday, April 16 (10:00 – 14:00), AM 02
Thursday, April 21 (16.00-18.00), GD 102
Saturday, April 30 (10:00 – 14:00), AM 02
July (Block, to be announced)
Please register until April 1 to obtain information on reading material for first class:
Sprache: Englisch
Leistungsnachweis: Regular response papers, Class presentations, Research paper