This special issue of New German Critique explores the art of Dada and photomontage in transnational contexts. Dadaism, an art movement cultivated during World War I, questioned traditional aesthetics and eventually led to the formation of surrealism. Focusing on Dada’s achievements in building a network of artists in Europe and America, this issue examines photomontage as an integral part of the movement, as well as its relationship to mass media, photography, propaganda, constructivism, and left-wing politics in the Soviet Union and western Europe during the 1920s and 1930s.
The central figure of the issue is John Heartfield, a Dadaist who influenced much of the art world in Europe after World War I. The collection investigates Heartfield’s lesser-known early work with cinema in the service of the German High Command. Believing that photographic cinema was akin to war propaganda, Heartfield rejected live-action war footage in favor of American cinematic animation to promote an honest discussion about the horror and realities of war. One essay explores Heartfield’s photomontages while turning to film theory as a way of interpreting the politics of his work, demonstrating how his photomontages retain the organic and traditional nature of photography even as they produce cognitive dissonance and satire. Another essay on Heartfield’s role in Soviet discussions of the 1930s offers fascinating insights based on new archival research. The issue also looks at the relationship between Heartfield and the illustrated German magazine Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung and how that magazine influenced photomontage across Europe.
Arjun Appadurai, ed. Duke University Press, 2001 Library of Congress JZ1318.G5787 2001 | Dewey Decimal 303.482
Edited by one of the most prominent scholars in the field and including a distinguished group of contributors, this collection of essays makes a striking intervention in the increasingly heated debates surrounding the cultural dimensions of globalization. While including discussions about what globalization is and whether it is a meaningful term, the volume focuses in particular on the way that changing sites—local, regional, diasporic—are the scenes of emergent forms of sovereignty in which matters of style, sensibility, and ethos articulate new legalities and new kinds of violence. Seeking an alternative to the dead-end debate between those who see globalization as a phenomenon wholly without precedent and those who see it simply as modernization, imperialism, or global capitalism with a new face, the contributors seek to illuminate how space and time are transforming each other in special ways in the present era. They examine how this complex transformation involves changes in the situation of the nation, the state, and the city. While exploring distinct regions—China, Africa, South America, Europe—and representing different disciplines and genres—anthropology, literature, political science, sociology, music, cinema, photography—the contributors are concerned with both the political economy of location and the locations in which political economies are produced and transformed. A special strength of the collection is its concern with emergent styles of subjectivity, citizenship, and mobilization and with the transformations of state power through which market rationalities are distributed and embodied locally.
Contributors. Arjun Appadurai, Jean François Bayart, Jérôme Bindé, Néstor García Canclini, Leo Ching, Steven Feld, Ralf D. Hotchkiss, Wu Hung, Andreas Huyssen, Boubacar Touré Mandémory, Achille Mbembe, Philipe Rekacewicz, Saskia Sassen, Fatu Kande Senghor, Seteney Shami, Anna Tsing, Zhang Zhen
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Europe’s modernizing metropolises offered a sensory experience unlike anything that had come before. Cities became laboratories bubbling with aesthetic experimentation in old and new media, and from this milieu emerged metropolitan miniatures—short prose pieces about the experiences of urban life written for European newspapers. Miniature Metropolis explores the history and theory of this significant but misrecognized achievement of literary modernism.
Andreas Huyssen shows how writers from Baudelaire and Kafka to Benjamin, Musil, and Adorno created the miniature to record their reflections of Paris, Brussels, Prague, Vienna, Berlin, and Los Angeles. Contesting photography and film as competing media, the metropolitan miniature sought to capture the visceral feeling of acceleration and compression that defined urban existence. But the form did not merely imitate visual media—it absorbed them, condensing objective and subjective perceptions into the very structure of language and text and asserting the aesthetic specificity of literary language without resort to visual illustration. Huyssen argues that the miniature subverted the expectations of transparency, easy understanding, and entertainment that mass circulation newspapers depended upon. His fine-grained readings open broad vistas into German critical theory and the history of visual arts, revealing the metropolitan miniature to be one of the few genuinely innovative modes of spatialized writing created by modernism.
This issue is dedicated to the thought and writing of Miriam Hansen, whose contributions broke ground in film history, film theory, and the politics of mass culture and the public sphere. The collection focuses on the areas in which she was most influential: early cinema, its reception, and the legacy of vernacular modernism, including essays touching on the concept’s impact on contemporary thinking about Russian and Chinese cinemas. The issue also features extensive commentary on Hansen’s pioneering book Cinema and Experience, expanding on the book’s inquiry into the continuing legacy of the Frankfurt School.
This issue examines the legacy of Nazi-looted art in light of the 2012 discovery of the famous Hildebrand Gurlitt collection of stolen artwork in Germany. When the German government declassified the case almost two years later, the resulting scandal raised fundamental questions about the role of art dealers in the Third Reich, the mechanics of the Nazi black market for artwork, the shortcomings of postwar denazification, the failure of courts and governments to adjudicate stolen artwork claims, and the unwillingness of museums to determine the provenance of thousands of looted pieces of art. The contributors to this issue explore the continuities of art dealerships and auction houses from the Nazi period to the Federal Republic and take stock of the present political and cultural debate over the handling of this artwork.
Special topic contributors. Konstantin Akinsha, Meike Hoffmann, Andreas Huyssen, Lawrence M. Kaye, Olaf Peters, Jonathan Petropoulos, Anson Rabinbach, Avinoam Shalem, Julia Voss, Amy Walsh
Other Cities, Other Worlds brings together leading scholars of cultural theory, urban studies, art, anthropology, literature, film, architecture, and history to look at non-Western global cities. The contributors focus on urban imaginaries, the ways that city dwellers perceive or imagine their own cities. Paying particular attention to the historical and cultural dimensions of urban life, they bring to their essays deep knowledge of the cities they are bound to in their lives and their work. Taken together, these essays allow us to compare metropolises from the so-called periphery and gauge processes of cultural globalization, illuminating the complexities at stake as we try to imagine other cities and other worlds under the spell of globalization.
The effects of global processes such as the growth of transnational corporations and investment, the weakening of state sovereignty, increasing poverty, and the privatization of previously public services are described and analyzed in essays by Teresa P. R. Caldeira (São Paulo), Beatriz Sarlo (Buenos Aires), Néstor García Canclini (Mexico City), Farha Ghannam (Cairo), Gyan Prakash (Mumbai), and Yingjin Zhang (Beijing). Considering Johannesburg, the architect Hilton Judin takes on themes addressed by other contributors as well: the relation between the country and the city, and between racial imaginaries and the fear of urban violence. Rahul Mehrotra writes of the transitory, improvisational nature of the Indian bazaar city, while AbdouMaliq Simone sees a new urbanism of fragmentation and risk emerging in Douala, Cameroon. In a broader comparative frame, Okwui Enwezor reflects on the proliferation of biennales of contemporary art in African, Asian, and Latin American cities, and Ackbar Abbas considers the rise of fake commodity production in China. The volume closes with the novelist Orhan Pamuk’s meditation on his native city of Istanbul.
Contributors: Ackbar Abbas, Teresa P. R. Caldeira, Néstor García Canclini, Okwui Enwezor, Farha Ghannam, Andreas Huyssen, Hilton Judin, Rahul Mehrotra, Orhan Pamuk, Gyan Prakash, Beatriz Sarlo, AbdouMaliq Simone, Yingjin Zhang
This issue explores how intellectual theories migrate from Germany to the United States, asking what makes one theory compatible with and successful in the new society while others have little impact. Avoiding the obvious successes (from Marx to the Frankfurt School) and failures (authors whose translated works have had no effect on intellectual life in the United States), contributors investigate complicated cases in which the US reception was not particularly intense. The examples of Hans Blumenberg, Friedrich Kittler, Reinhardt Koselleck, Siegfried Kracauer, Niklas Luhmann, Alexander Mitscherlich, and Gershom Scholem prompt questions about the importance of clear translations, the effects of the publishing business on dissemination, the transformations that theoretical work undergoes as it moves from its original contexts to new ones, and the role of disciplines and interdisciplinarity in shaping a theory's reception.
Contributors. Yaacob Dweck, Philipp Felsch, Paul Fleming, Dagmar Herzog, Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann, Andreas Huyssen, Martin Jay, Anna Kinder, Joe Paul Kroll, Anson Rabinbach, William Rasch, Johannes von Moltke, Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, Robert Zwarg