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Übersetzungen: Transatlantic Modernism and the Dissemination, Adaptation and Transformation of German Cultural Imports in the United States, 1918-1945

A Centre for Translating Cultures seminar
Date4 October 2017
Time15:30
PlaceQueens Building LT1

Dr Vike Plock, Dr Kate Hext and Dr Peter Riley (all Dept. of English, Exeter) discuss an emerging research project. Abstract: This interdisciplinary, collaborative research project investigates the dissemination and adaptation of German culture in the US in the early twentieth century (1918-1945). In particular, it asks how networks and intellectual exchanges between Germany and the US were developed, redefined and politically mobilised in the US by US citizens and German-speaking immigrants for the explicit purpose of projecting imagined communities that had the potential to transcend national boundaries and generate resistance to cultural and political hegemonies at home and abroad. McCarthyism and the cultural legacy of the Second World War erased from view contributions from foreign intellectual communities in the US and developed a more narrowly defined view of American culture. For this reason, it is difficult for today's scholars to see these transatlantic networks between individuals and institutions that addressed political challenges and global concerns through translating into US contexts those intellectual imports coming from German-speaking countries in the period selected for study. While the story of some highly visible, eminent individuals such as Thomas Mann, Arnold Schönberg or Theodor Adorno has often been told, this project hopes to bring together different humanities scholars with the explicit purpose of uncovering these other cultural currents that have been obscured by historical circumstances. By drawing on a wide range of previously unused archival and material repositories, this research will provide a unique new focus for the study of transatlantic modernism, US-German relations, American exceptionalism as well as exile studies and comparative literature.


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