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New Books in the Arts & Sciences:
Celebrating Recent Work by Claudia Breger
Making Worlds: Affect and Collectivity in Contemporary European Cinema
By: Claudia Breger
The twenty-first century has witnessed a resurgence of economic inequality, racial exclusion, and political hatred, causing questions of collective identity and belonging to assume new urgency. In Making Worlds, Claudia Breger argues that contemporary European cinema provides ways of thinking about and feeling collectivity that can challenge these political trends.
Breger offers nuanced readings of major contemporary films such as Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon, Alejandro Iñárritu’s Biutiful, Fatih Akın’s The Edge of Heaven, Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation, and Aki Kaurismäki’s refugee trilogy, as well as works by Jean-Luc Godard and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Through a new model of cinematic worldmaking, Breger examines the ways in which these works produce unexpected and destabilizing affects that invite viewers to imagine new connections among individuals or groups. These films and their depictions of refugees, immigrants, and communities do not simply counter dominant political imaginaries of hate and fear with calls for empathy or solidarity. Instead, they produce layered sensibilities that offer the potential for greater openness to others’ present, past, and future claims. Drawing on the work of Latour, Deleuze, and Rancière, Breger engages questions of genre and realism along with the legacies of cinematic modernism. Offering a rich account of contemporary film, Making Worlds theorizes the cinematic creation of imaginative spaces in order to find new ways of responding to political hatred.
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About the Author:
Claudia Breger is Villard Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Among her publications, she is the author of An Aesthetics of Narrative Performance: Transnational Theater, Literature, and Film in Contemporary German; and, most recently, Making Worlds: Affect and Collectivity in Contemporary European Cinema.
About the Speakers:
Angelica Fenner is Associate Professor of German and Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto. Among her published works, she is the author of Race Under Reconstruction in German Cinema: Robert Stemmle's Toxi and has co-edited The Autobiographical Turn in Germanophone Documentary and Experimental Film with Robin Curtis.
Stefan Andriopoulos is Professor of German at Columbia University and Co-Director of Columbia University's Center for Comparative Media. He is the author of Ghostly Apparitions: German Idealism, the Gothic Novel, and Optical Media; and Possessed: Hypnotic Crimes, Corporate Fiction, and the Invention of Cinema, among other published works.
Jane Gaines is Professor of Film at Columbia University's School of the Arts, and Professor Emerita of Literature and English at Duke University. She is the author of Contested Culture: The Image, the Voice, and the Law; and Fire and Desire: Mixed Race Movies in the Silent Era, among other published works.
Oliver Simons is Professor of Germanic Languages at Columbia University. He has recently co-edited the Oxford Handbook of Carl Schmitt with Jens Meierhenrich, and his published books include Raumgeschichten. Topographien der Moderne in Philosophie, Wissenschaft und Literatur. His current book project is provisionally titled "The Ends of the Eighteenth Century."