HST3148/3149: Fugitive culture: Artists, scholars, and political activists in exile, 1917-1945

40 credits (semesters 1 and 2)

Module Leader: Dr Dina Gusejnova

Module Summary

In the twentieth century, European culture and politics became more globally connected than ever before. In the long term, this process had its roots in the global reach of Europe’s empires. In the twentieth century, however, three series of events dramatically increased the number of artists, writers, composers, scholars, and political activists who travelled both to and from Europe in unprecedented numbers: the First World War, the Revolution in the Russian Empire, and the expansion of Nazi Germany. Now, new international institutions such as the League of Nations, but also, technical innovations such as radio and film, encouraged entirely new types of global contact. This module explores the social and cultural history of this internationalisation by looking at the people who carried new ideas to this global market, why they moved, and how they changed the places they moved to. Focusing on Britain, France, Germany, and the United States, we will look in comparative perspective how different branches of culture and knowledge were shaped by the increased intensity of scholarly and artistic migration in this period. How did Pan-African and Asian cultural communities shape cultural life in interwar Paris? What can we learn from Hitchcock’s and Billy Wilder’s films about the way artists from Central and Eastern Europe shaped the film industry in Britain and the United States? What was the role of physicists exiled from Nazi Germany in the Manhattan project? How did forced migrants interact with foreigners who had come to the world’s global cultural capitals on a voluntary basis? How did the place of Europe in global context change in this period as a result of these processes?

Teaching and Assessment

The module is taught through two weekly seminars. The subject is approached through the study of primary material, and the seminars will focus around detailed discussion of the set sources, including film, audio and visual materials, material culture, as well as written texts.

Information on assessment can be found at: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/history/current_students/undergraduate/assessment/level3

Selected Reading

  • Mitchell G. Ash and Alfons Söllner (Eds.), Forced Migration and Scientific Change: Emigré German-speaking Scientists and Scholars after 1933 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969)
  • Houston A. Baker Jr., Manthia Diawara, and Ruth Lindeborg (Eds.), Black British Cultural Studies. A Reader (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1996)
  • Walter Benjamin, ‘Unpacking my library. A talk about book collecting’, in idem, Illuminations (New York: Schocken, 1969), pp. 59-67.
  • Lesley Chamberlain, The Philosophy Steamer: Lenin and the Exile of the Intelligentsia (London: Atlantic Books, 2006)
  • Christophe Charle, Jürgen Schriewer, and Peter Wagner (Eds.), Transnational Intellectual Networks. Forms of Academic Knowledge and the Search for Cultural Identities (Frankfurt and New York: Campus Press, 2004)
  • Ernest Gellner, Roy Ellen, Grazyna Kubica, Janusz Mucha (Eds.), Malinowski Between Two Worlds. The Polish Roots of an Anthropological Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988)
  • Gerd Gemünden, A Foreign Affair: Billy Wilder's American Films (Oxford and NewYork: Berghahn 2008)
  • C.L.R. James, ‘An Encounter with Edith Sitwell’ (1936), in Anna Grimshaw (Ed.), The C.L.R. James Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992)
  • Ihor Junyk, Foreign Modernism: Cosmopolitanism, Identity, and Style in Paris (Toronto: The University of Toronto Press, 2013)
  • Cynthia C. Kelly, The Manhattan Project: The Birth of the Atomic Bomb in the Words of Its Creators, Eye witnesses, and Historians (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007)
  • Megan Luke, Kurt Schwitters: Space, Image, Exile (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2014)
  • Jean-Michel Palmier, Weimar in Exile: the Antifascist Emigration in Europe and America (London: Verso, 2006)
  • Tamson Pietsch, Empire of Scholars. Universities, Networks and the British Academic World, 1850-1939 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013)
  • Sophie Quinn-Judge, Ho Chi Minh: The Missing Years, 1919-1941 (London: Hurst, 2003)
  • Peter Isaac Rose, The Dispossessed: An Anatomy of Exile (Amherst: The University of Massachusets Press, 2005)
  • Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Negritude Women (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2002)
  • George Weisz, The Emergence of Modern Universities In France, 1863-1914 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983)

Intended Learning Outcomes
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