Rewriting (East) German Film Summer Film Institute

The Fifth Biennial East German Film Summer Film Institute

DEFA Film Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst

July 12-19, 2009

2009 marks the twentieth anniversary of the end of the Cold War.  As its ideological divisions and artistic legacies come into clearer view, previously neglected aspects of East German cinema become available to critical reassessment as well - and with it, the concepts and methodologies that have guided much of the scholarship on postwar German film.  In this week-long seminar, we propose to focus on media historical and institutional perspectives that until know have been neglected or ignored given the continued preference for thematic and textual readings.  In so doing, we also want to use the continued provocation of East German cinema to confront a number of historiographical and methodological issues in the study of postwar German cinema, including questions of periodization, institutional continuities, conceptions of cinema as a public sphere, and film's contribution to the audio-visual legacy of the twentieth century.

Organizing the seminar around a series of case studies, we hope to address the following questions and issues:

* the historical continuities between Ufa and DEFA (e.g., Überläuferfilme)
* notions of film authorship and ideology (e.g., Wolfgang Staudte)
* DEFA as a production model and cultural institution (e.g., KASGs)
* the function of multimediality and intermediality (e.g., television, radio)
* actors, stars, and issues of performativity (e.g., Manfred Krug)
* the relationship between film aesthetics and technology (e.g., ORWO film)

This week-long seminar brings together a group of 20-25 scholars from various disciplines (German studies, film studies, history, art history, social sciences, theater studies).  Our meetings will consist of a combination of discussions and screenings; the screenings will be open to the public.  There are plans to publish the seminar-related work of the participants in an anthology.

General Information:  The Institute is open to faculty and advanced graduate students.  More detailed information, such as housing, costs, schedule, etc., will be made available on our website,  
Please contact us if you anticipate that financial assistance will be needed to make your participation possible.

Application Deadline: 15 January, 2009.  Notification by 15 February, 2009.

Application: Please submit a 2-3 page letter outlining your interest in participating in the seminar, along with a curriculum vitae (and a letter of recommendation, in the case of Ph.D. students) to all four organizers:

Barton Byg - byg(at)

Sabine Hake - Hake(at)

Larson Powell - [log in to unmask]" target="_blank">powelllar(at)

Sky Arndt Briggs - sky(at)

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