Documenting Socialism Workshop: East German Documentary Cinema (St Andrews 30/5-1/6)

We are thrilled to announce the upcoming GSSN workshop, generously supported by the the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) as part of the Promoting German Studies Project, “German Screen Studies Network (GSSN): Media, Cultures, Histories” (Dora Osborne / Paul Flaig).

Please note that all papers will be live-streamed via MS Teams. All timings are UK (GMT time). The workshop is open to all who wish to attend in person or online (and there is no charge for either in-person attendance or live-streaming).

Please register by 12.00 noon on Friday 27 May ([email protected]) and ([email protected]) if you would like to attend, so we can supply you with a MS Teams link and/or check that we have sufficent room capacity.

Documenting Socialism Workshop: East German Documentary Cinema

Workshop and Screenings at the University of St Andrews: 30 May – 1 June 2022

Organisers: Seán Allan (St Andrews) and Sebastian Heiduschke (OSU)

Monday, May 30 (Venue: Wardlaw Museum, Learning Lodge, University of St Andrews)

16.00               Seán Allan (St Andrews) and Sebastian Heiduschke (OSU): Welcome & Introduction

16.10 – 17.20  Panel 1: Documentary Auteurs       

16.10 Seán Allan (St Andrews): Peter Voigt: Socialist Documentary and the Legacy of Brecht

16.30 Jennifer Creech (OSU) [on line @ 8.30 Corvallis, OR] “Sehnsüchte ohne Illusion”. Documenting Desire and Disillusionment in the Films of Helke Misselwitz und Petra Tschörtner

16.50 – 17.15 Discussion

17.20 – 18.50   Screening Paul Robeson: “I’m a Negro, I’m an American” (Kurt Tetzlaff, 1989, 86 mins) introduced by Sebastian Heiduschke (OSU)

Tuesday, May 31 (Venue: Wardlaw Museum Learning Lodge, University of St Andrews)

09.00 – 11.00   Panel 2: New Work on DEFA in Scotland

09.00   Sam Osborn (St Andrews): Queer Visibility and Community in DEFA

09.20   Carla Steinbrecher (St Andrews/Bonn) The Studio H&S’s Chile Films and its ‘Con-Texts’: Fabricating an International Socialist Public Sphere

09.40   Anna McEwan (Glasgow): The Pinnacle of Progress: Für das Glück der Frauen und der Familien and International Women’s Year in the GDR (1975)

10.00  Lauren Cuthbert (Aberdeen) ‘Watching’ photographs: Fostering solidarity through images of Vietnamese suffering in Studio H&S’s Vietnam films

10.20 – 11.00 Discussion

11.00 – 11.20   Coffee Break

11.25 – 13.25   Panel 3: Transnational Documentary

11.25 Andy Räder (Rostock): Documentary Films by and about Sorbs in East Germany 1946-1992

11.45 Martin Brady (KCL, London): Mass Murder in Cambodia under the Emblem of Hammer and Sickle: A “revolting juxtaposition” in Heynowski-Scheumann’s Cambodia Trilogy (1980-1983)

12.05 Sebastian Heiduschke (OSU): Polycentric Images of Africa in East German Documentaries

12.25 Priscilla Layne (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) [on-line = 7.25 am in Chapel Hill]: East Germany’s Anti-Racist Politics and Black Abjection in Documentary Film

12.45- 13.25 Discussion

13.30 – 14.30   Lunch break

14.30 – 15.00   Screening of A Diary for Anne Frank? (Hellwig, 1958, 18 mins)

15.05 – 15.25  Elizabeth Ward (IMLR, London): A Diary for Anne Frank? The GDR’s Nuit et Brouillard?

15.25 – 15.45   Discussion

15.45– 16.15   Coffee break                           

16.20 –17.50   Panel 4: Studio Systems and Networks

16.20  Matthew Bauman (Transylvania University): „Belichtetes Material türmt sich zu Riesenstößen”: Gerhard Scheumann and the Cinéma Vérité Debate in the GDR

16.40  Thomas Maulucci (University of Connecticut): The DEFA ‘Foreign Ministry Films’: Presenting the German Democratic Republic to the World, 1962-1989

17.00   Reinhild Steingröver (Eastman School of Music): Diary of the Ordinary: Reinventing the Newsreel; DEFA Kinobox, 1981-1990

17.20 – 18.05 Discussion

Wednesday 1 June (Venue: Wardlaw Museum Learning Lodge, University of St Andrews)

09.00 – 10.40               Panel 5: Documenting Alterity

09.00   Tom Smith (St Andrews): A Woman’s Work: Military Femininities, Female Masculinities and the Difficulties of Representing Women Soldiers in East Germany

09.20   Kyle Frackman (UBC): The Queer Cipher in East German Documentary

09.40   Faye Stewart (UNC Greensboro): Is There a ‘Female Gaze’?

10.00 – 10.40 Discussion

10.40 – 11.00               Coffee Break

11.00 – 12.10               Panel 6: Pasts and Presents

11.00  Helen Hughes (Surrey): The Archives Spoke Out. The Compilation Films of Andrew and Annelie Thorndike

11.20  Stephan Ehrig (Glasgow): The Socialist City and Utopian Temporality in Halle-Neustadt Documentary

11.40  Jason Doerre (Trinity College): On the Rubble of History: Searching for the German Past in a European Present in Andreas Voigt’s Ostpreußenland and Volker Koepp’s Kalte Heimat

12.00 – 12.45 Discussion

12.45 – 13.00               Closing remarks and next steps

13.00 –13.30               Snack Lunch and departure


Unless otherwise indicated, all papers will be delivered in-person. The workshop will be in the Learning Loft in the Wardlaw Museum at the University of St Andrews.

All papers will be presented in English and both films have English sub-titles.

It is no longer compulsory to wear a mask under the prevailing Scotgov regulations, but the University encourages the wearing of masks in University buildings out of consideration/respect for those who feel uncomfortable in larger unmasked gatherings.

The University’s Corona code is here:

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