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DemCP colloquium - SUSANNE ROHR (University of Hamburg): "Calculated Scandal: The 'Holocaust Comedy' in the US and Germany"

When:We 09-03-2022 16:00 - 17:30
Where:A900, Academy building & online

Research colloquium of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Cultures and Politics

Susanne Rohr (Hamburg University)
Calculated Scandal: The 'Holocaust Comedy' in the US and Germany


What are the consequences of a substantial breach in taboo within artistic practice? Does the initial breach create a compulsion to continually push the taboo boundaries, to out-perform the taboo as it were, or does the perceived provocation initiate a desire and movement towards reconciliation, or placidity? It is these questions the talk will address as it tracks the latest developments in a highly sensitive genre, a genre that the philosopher Slavoj Žižek has termed “camp comedy” or “Holocaust comedy.” The inquiry centers on the questions: what changes are made manifest within what is still considered by many to be a scandalous art form, and what are the ways in which the direction taken by this art form and its strategies need to be contextualized in the US and Germany?

About the speaker

Susanne Rohr is Chair of North American Literature and Culture at the University of Hamburg. Trained in American studies at the Freie Universität Berlin and Cornell University, she received her PhD and her post-doctoral degree at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies.

Her research at Stanford University, Harvard University and New York University was supported by grants of the DAAD and Fulbright, among other institutions. She taught at the John F. Kennedy Institute, at Smith College, Stanford University and at Fudan University, Shanghai.

Her publications include Die Wahrheit der Täuschung: Wirklichkeitskonstitution im amerikanischen Roman 1889-1989 (Fink 2004) and with Andrew S. Gross Pop – Avant-Garde – Scandal: Remembering the Holocaust after the End of History (Winter 2010). Susanne Rohr has also published numerous essays in the fields of literary and cultural theory, semiotics, American pragmatism, epistemology, and on a broad range of topics in American literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Susanne Rohr was awarded an “opus magnum” stipend by the Volkswagen Foundation to finish her book on representations of the Holocaust in the new millennium, Von Grauen und Glamour: Repräsentationen des Holocaust in den USA und Deutschland, which was published in 2021 at Winter Verlag.