I am generally interested in historical and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of modern German culture. Within this framework I also have a number of more specific interests--including visual culture, the various technologies and institutions that produce it, and the historical experiences associated with them. I have published on various forms of nineteenth-century display culture, including zoological gardens, ethnographic exhibitions (Völkerschauen), and Wild West shows in Germany. I have also published on the interrelationship of science, technology, and popular culture in specific situations--namely, the vital importance of the phonograph and the archive to the formation of ethnomusicology in Germany, and the cinema’s function as an instrument of cultural power in the writings of Hugo Münsterberg. I am co-editor of Germany’s Colonial Pasts (Nebraska, 2005) and author of Carl Hagenbeck’s Empire of Entertainments (Washington, 2009). My new book, Ferocious Reality: Documentary According to Werner Herzog, was published by Minnesota in fall 2012. Currently, I am editing a volume of interviews with Herzog.
My course offerings span the history of German cinema, including early silent film, Weimar cinema, film noir (German filmmakers in exile), New German Cinema, East German cinema, and nonfiction film. In addition, I regularly teach courses in German cultural studies. I also run the department's dissertation colloquium, a group which meets weekly to discuss works in progress and to offer support in all phases of the dissertation writing process.