Topographies of Class
Modern Architecture and Mass Society in Weimar Berlin
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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Research for this book has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). A special thank-you goes to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas for awarding me a Dean’s Fellowship during the last stage of the project. Initial
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Since Berlin’s emergence as a major metropolis during the Wilhelmine Empire, its status in the urban imagination has been defined through architecture: built architecture as well as unbuilt architecture, and debates about architecture as well as representations of architecture. This rich architectural culture has contributed to the transformation of Berlin into a key site ...
1. Setting the Scene: Weimar Berlin, circa 1920
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Despite the modernist office buildings and public housing initiatives for which it has become known, Berlin during the 1920s and early 1930s remained essentially a Wilhelmine city. While its social composition and administrative structure underwent fundamental changes, its external appearance continued to reflect the political ambitions and economic ...
2. Mapping Weimar Society: On Masses,Classes, and White-Collar Workers
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A specter was haunting Weimar Berlin, the specter of the urban masses. Their appearance on the stages of history could be felt everywhere: in the crowds on the streets and squares, in the architecture of mass entertainment and mass housing, and in the rituals of mass consumption and mass transportation. Yet the provocation of the masses also resonated in literary ...
3. Organizing the Modern Masses:New Building in Weimar Berlin
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The intentionally provocative remark by de Vries, who would soon become editor of the professional journal Der St�dtebau, suggests two things about the young generation of architects rising to prominence after the war: that they saw the masses as the subject and object of modern architecture, and that they developed formal solutions to the decline of traditional ...
4. Walking in the Metropolis: The City Texts of Franz Hesseland Siegfried Kracauer
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While architects such as Gropius, Mendelsohn, and Hilberseimer were directly involved in organizing the modern masses, the representatives of the literary feuilleton turned to architecture for entirely different reasons: to examine the crisis of modern subjectivity and to respond to the threat of deindividualization through the literary forms and means available to ...
5. Picturing the New Berlin:Photography, Architecture, and Modern Mass Society
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Bertolt Brecht once famously remarked that “the ‘simple reproduction of reality’ says less than ever about that reality. A photograph of the Krupp works or of the AEG yields almost nothing about these institutions. Reality as such has slipped into the domain of the functional.”1 Similarly, in a critical review of New Vision photography, Walter Benjamin asserted that ...
6. Deconstructing Modern Subjectivity:On Berlin Alexanderplatz
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True to its sensationalist style, in 1932 the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung described Alexanderplatz as “the setting for many tragedies in real life and in fiction. Here Berliners feel the heartbeat of their hometown most strongly.”1 Confirming this point, Eugen Szatmari, in an alternative travel guide to Berlin, declared that tourists would not learn anything about the ...
7. Reconstructing Modern Subjectivity: On Berlin, Symphony of the Big City
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This is how Benjamin in his famous Art Work Essay describes the impact of film on the urban imagination. Providing new technologies of vision, film, like photography, radically expanded the spatiotemporal coordinates of metropolitan life. Both re-created key elements of the urban experience in the formal language of montage, especially through experiments ...
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Index of Names
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Index of Places
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Index of Titles
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Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2008
Series Title: Social History, Popular Culture, and Pol