Author's School

Arts & Sciences

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program

Germanic Languages and Literatures

Author's Department/Program

Germanic Languages and Literatures


English (en)

Date of Award

Summer 9-1-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Lutz Koepnick


This dissertation examines representations and constructions of violence in West German films at four main historical junctures between 1960 and 1980. Using a comparative approach, the project demonstrates how films of the period appropriate, rework, and challenge aesthetic paradigms from Hollywood in order to establish specifically "German" languages of violence in the cinema. It reveals how contemporary political and sociological discourses on violence in West Germany informed the aesthetics of violence in the cinema of the period. In particular, the project focuses on entertainment films that have been neglected in scholarship in favor of the more esoteric and experimental New German Cinema. Moving chronologically, the dissertation shows how early cinematic discourses on violence and form shifted to a focus in the 1970s on domestic social and political issues filtered through questions of genre. By exploring alternative forms and models of violence in West German cinema, this project sets out to expand the parameters that have limited our understanding of "film violence" since the 1960s.


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