Film and the Global Cold War

Book series of the DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

This publication series—to be published by Berghahn Books (New York/Oxford)—undertakes an interdisciplinary exploration of the multiple and particular ways in which films, filmmaking and film industries challenged, participated in and were shaped by the Cold War. It builds on the observation that the Cold War organized global interrelationships for much of the second half of the twentieth century, just as colonialism had in the preceding centuries. This series represents a first step in constructing a cultural history of the global Cold War.

Films in this period were intimately involved in both state aspirations and national cultures—and in how these inflected transnational forces. They transmitted images of identification and solidarity with certain people and countries, and images of enmity with others. As film straddles a range of cultural domains—including art, advertising, propaganda, information and everyday life—as well as production domains ranging from the industrial to the individual, it offers privileged insight into Cold War societies and relations, which were shaped by and reflected aesthetic and cultural, as well as military and economic forces.

The series attempts to cast a wide net methodologically, embracing approaches from a range of disciplines. It also attempts to examine different types of films made for different purposes and different audiences, all in the context of changing international social, political and cultural discourses. This approach was developed over the course of six interdisciplinary Summer Film Institutes on transnational aspects of East German film, hosted from 2003 to 2013 by the DEFA Film Library. As a result, initial series publications reflect research on East German cinema; but it is our sincere hope that scholars will see potential in this approach and contribute volumes on film in other parts of the world as well.

Series Editor: Skyler J. Arndt-Briggs (DEFA Film Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst). Editorial Board: Sean Allan (University of Warwick); Barton Byg (University of Massachusetts Amherst); Anne Ciecko (University of Massachusetts Amherst); Thomas Lindenberger (Center for Contemporary History, Potsdam).

Travels and Travails: East German Cinema in the International Arena (2015)

This inaugural volume challenges the dominant view of the GDR as a closed society by looking at filmmaking opportunities and strategies, processes and practices that crossed the East German border. It gathers papers presented at the DEFA International conference, a collaboration between the DEFA Film Library and the Academy for Film and Television (HFF, or Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen “Konrad Wolf”) in Potsdam-Babelsberg, held at the Academy in November 2011. Co-edited by the conference organizers—Michael Wedel (HFF Potsdam), Barton Byg (UMass Amherst), Skyler Arndt-Briggs (UMass Amherst), Evan Torner (Univ of Cincinnati) and Andy Räder (Uni Bremen)—the volume appeared in German as DEFA International: Grenzüberschreitende Filmbeziehungen vor und nach dem Mauerbau (2013,  Wiesbaden: Springer VL). It was nominated for the Willi Haas prize, which recognizes "one of the most important international publications on German-language film or film in Germany."

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