Close the Transatlantic Gap: American Popular Music and German Culture since the 1960s

03/05/2012 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Student Center Room 249


Speaker: Sascha Seiler, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany

Lecture title: Closing the Transatlantic Gap: American Popular Music and German Culture since the 1960’s

Date, time, place: Monday, March 5, 4:00 pm, Student Center 249

Abstract of the talk:

Today, American popular culture can be found everywhere in Germany, but this was not always the case. Especially German literature, and with it every other form of cultural articulation commonly regarded as ‘high art’, had its problems in accepting these new forms of music, film or writing that came from the USA. In fact, until the end of the 1960s there was such a strict division between what was considered highbrow and lowbrow that it took a major cultural scandal to open German culture up to the aesthetic possibilities that lay in American popular culture. For German intellectuals it was a long and hard way to realize that popular culture in general must be seen as an important aesthetic phenomenon that not only has a big influence on everyday life but also is a basic factor when we consider transatlantic cultural relations between Germany and the USA.

The talk analyzes the great influence that American popular culture had on German literature until the present day, starting with the problematic beginnings in the 1960s and ending with the ironic ‘Popliteratur’-movement that began to surface in the late 1990s.


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