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Grant number like: FS-50091-06

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Stanford University (Stanford, CA 94305-2004)
Russell Berman (Project Director: March 2006 to September 2008)

Seminars for Higher Education Faculty
Education Programs

$172,804 (approved)
$172,804 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2006 – 9/30/2007

German Exile Culture in California: European Traditions and American Modernity

A six-week seminar for fifteen college and university faculty on the cultural experience and contributions of German artists, writers, and musicians who fled Nazi Germany to settle in Los Angeles in the 1930s and 1940s.

This seminar will examine the complex cultural interactions that took place when German writers, artists and musicians who had fled Nazi Germany encountered American culture during the 1930s and 1940s. The German exile community in Los Angeles is especially interesting because of the confrontation between "old-world" understandings of culture and the very different presuppositions underlying the cultural habits of American democracy. The seminar will study works by the novelist Thomas Mann, the playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht, the philosopher and essayist Theodor Adorno, the film director Fritz Lang, and the composers Arnold Schoenberg and Hanns Eisler. The seminar therefore spans several humanities areas: literature, theater, philosophy, cinema and music. We will address underlying issues: the conflict between European cultural conservatism and American democracy, modernism and mass culture, and the larger relationship between the arts and politics.