Theses Doctoral

Weimar Contact Zones: Modernism, Workers' Movement Literature, and Urban Imaginaries

Schaub, Christoph

Located at the intersections of new modernism, urban, and minority studies, Weimar Contact Zones examines the interplay between modernism, urban imaginaries, and the cultural production of the workers' movement. While the Weimar Republic has long occupied a paradigmatic place in discussions of modernity and modernism in literary and cultural studies, proletarian literature and the analytical category of class have played only a marginal role. Bringing canonical Weimar literature together with the marginalized tradition of workers' movement literature, film, and performance, the dissertation demonstrates that urban spaces functioned as contact zones where different groups interacted across lines of class and where hybridizations across boundaries of high and low culture occurred. The cultural production of the workers' movement becomes visible as a tradition that articulated and appropriated modernist aesthetics to catalyze and represent, from the standpoint of proletarian collectives, social transformation. Understood from this perspective, modernism is not limited to high modernism or the historical avant-garde, but includes alternative cultural forms that articulate modern experiences of the lower classes. Weimar Contact Zones in this way also challenges the opposition between modernism and realism, which typically aligns workers' movement literature with realism. The dissertation analyzes literary works by Anna Seghers, Franz Jung, Klaus Neukrantz, Kurt Kläber, Karl Grünberg, and the movie Kuhle Wampe, Or Who Owns the World?, amongst others.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Germanic Languages
Thesis Advisors
Huyssen, Andreas
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 20, 2015