How will the field of German studies be defined in the 21st century? What will be its identity, if it is not national? What relationship exists between culture and literature, and what is the meaning of culture in a German studies curriculum?—These are questions addressed in this collection of essays by leading North American scholars, including Katherine Arens, Celia Applegate, Matt Erlin, Jonathan M. Hess, Rembert Hüser, Michael W. Jennings, Sara Lennox, Simon Richter, Patricia Anne Simpson, and Stefan Soldovieri. The Meaning of Culture reflects the diversity of scholarship in North American German departments and constitutes a collective inquiry into the notion of culture in German studies.
The collection includes essays on a wide range of subjects, from musical culture in nineteenth-century Germany to contemporary German hip-hop artists, from German-Jewish literature to East German cinema, from the intersection of culture and economics in the late Enlightenment to transnational Germany, from a critique of the theoretical parameters of German studies to a discussion of Kafka iconography on U.S. German department web sites. Complementing the scholarly contributions are an interview with German filmmaker Andreas Dresen and four short stories by Turkish-German author Dilek Güngör.