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Matthias Uecker

Professor of German Studies, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

I studied German, History and Education at the University of Essen (Germany), where I also completed my PhD on cultural politics in the Ruhr area during the Weimar Republic.

In 1992, I came to the UK, initially as a DAAD Lektor at the University of Oxford (St. Edmund Hall, Merton College, St. Hilda's College, Lincoln College, Hertford College). In 1995 I was appointed Lecturer in German at De Montford University (Leicester), and in 1997 I became Lecturer at the Queen's University in Belfast. Since 2005 I have been Professor of German at Nottingham.

Teaching Summary

My main teaching areas are:

  • German cinema, especially the New German Cinema of the 1970s and current German cinema
  • Culture and Society in the Weimar Republic
  • German media, media politics and media theory
  • German language

I am currently teaching the following undergraduate modules:

  • R21120 Introduction to German Film Studies
  • R22145 Rundfunk und Fernsehen in der Bundesrepublik
  • R22146 The New German Cinema
  • R23138 Culture and Society in the Weimar Republic

Research Summary

I have recently started work on a project that is concerned with the representation of bodies in Weimar culture. While previous research has discussed the formation of 'normalized' or idealized… read more

Recent Publications

  • UECKER, MATTHIAS, 2016. Icons of Speed - Icons of Crisis: Acceleration Effects in Weimar Culture. In: ANNE FUCHS, J.J. LONG, ed., Time in German Literature and Culture, 1900-2015: Between Acceleration and Slowness Palgrave Macmillan. 113-130
  • UECKER, MATTHIAS, 2016. Organisierender oder universaler Intellektueller? Zu Alexander Kluges Medienarbeit. In: CARSTEN GANSEL, WERNER NELL, ed., Vom kritischen Denker zur Medienprominenz?: Zur Rolle von Intellektuellen in Literatur und Gesellschaft vor und nach 1989 Transcript. 327-344
  • MATTHIAS UECKER, 2016. Warnung oder Beratung? Wie Heinrich Hauser den Amerikanern Deutschland erklärte. Krieg und Literatur / War and Literature: Exil im Krieg 1939-1945. 22, 151-158
  • MATTHIAS UECKER, 2016. Sprechen und/oder Schreiben?: Alexander Kluges Gespäche zwischen den Medien Alexander-Kluge-Jahrbuch. 3, 217-232

Current Research

I have recently started work on a project that is concerned with the representation of bodies in Weimar culture. While previous research has discussed the formation of 'normalized' or idealized modern bodies through sports, fashion and racial hygiene, my project is interested in the representational strategies which shaped the presentation of bodies in literature, art, film and photography during the Weimar years. I will argue that the rise of new media and the dissemination of new ways of representing bodies led not only to the dissemination of rigidly defined images of idealized bodies, but also permitted the representation of more varied body images and body practices, giving rise to an early form of "normalistic" body culture which encouraged both diversity and constant comparison of body images.

Past Research

Much of my research has been informed by an interest in interdisciplinary approaches and in the relationship between modern media and literature. It has developed as much out of traditional literary criticism as of Cultural Theory, Media Studies and discourse analysis. The following subjects have been central to my research:

  • German cinema: I recently completed a study of performative aspects in contemporary German cinema. This project analyses post-unification German cinema with the aid of Performance Theory. Theoretical considerations regarding the efficacy of performance, the connection between performers and audiences and the dialectical relationship between transgression, resistance and normalization form the background for an analysis that investigates a range of "performances" in contemporary German films with a view towards their function within the restructuring and representation of post-unification German society. The project analyses a broad range of German films produced since 1990, focusing on the performance of gender and ethnicities as well as normality, resistance and subversion in films like Lola rennt, Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage, Goodbye Lenin, Yella, Gegen die Wand, Alles auf Zucker or Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei.Close readings of 17 films are informed by a discussion of performance as a mechanism which regulates social integration and exclusion. The concept of Germany as a "performance society" is contrasted with the idea of a fundamental "normalization" of post-unification Germany. I have also published articles on Rainer Werner Fassbinder and on post-unification German cinema.

  • Authorship and New Media: In close connection with my examina­tion of documentary literature, I have studied the impact of the new media on literary strategies. A number of articles on Hans Magnus Enzensber­ger and Alexander Kluge and a book on Alexander Kluge's television productions have been published. My book on Alexander Kluge has been translated into Korean. A paper on the relationship between text and photography during the Weimar republic has been published in 2008 in Monatshefte.
  • Documentary Literature: Starting from the analysis of reportage writings on the Ruhr area and the articles and novels of Erik Reger, one of the main representatives of 'Neue Sachlichkeit', I have widened my approach to include various sorts of documentary prose. This has resulted in contributions to Bertelsmann Litera­tur-Lexikon and a '' in literary studies, as well as articles on Erik Reger, Egon Erwin Kisch and recent reportage writing. I have recently completed a comprehensive study of documentary writing during the Weimar Republic which traces the impact of photography and cinema on the representation of reality in writing. In the spring of 2001, I was awarded a British Academy Small Research Grant for this project.
  • Grundkurs
  • Intellectuals in the Weimar Republic: My research on literature and politics of the Weimar Republic has led to articles and book reviews on 'Bildungsromane' of the 1920s and on intellectual dis­courses of the time. I have been working on a series of articles on intellectual profiles and stereotypical portraits of intellec­tuals during the Weimar period. Articles on Siegfried Kracauer, Heinrich Hauser and Gottfried Benn have been published so far.
  • Literary Theory: My interest in new developments in literary theory, and particularly in sociological theories of culture led to an invitation in January 1991 to present a paper on the signi­ficance of Pierre Bourdieu's sociology of culture for literary studies at a conference on literary theory at Karl-Marx-Univer­sität, Leipzig, organised by Prof. Dr. Klaus-Michael Bogdal (University of Bielefeld). More recently, I have written critical accounts of the impact of Niklas Luhmann's theory of social systems on literary theory.
  • Culture of the Ruhr Area: Involvement in research activities at Universität - Gesamthochschule Essen led me to study problems of cultural development in the Ruhr area from the late 19th century onwards. Having assisted with the publication of a selection of articles from a 1920s literary magazine (Der Scheinwerfer. Ein Forum der Neuen Sachlichkeit 1927-1932; edited by Jochen Vogt and Erhard Schütz), I went on to examine the strategies and projects of cultural policy in the area during the Weimar Republic. The results of this work formed the basis for my doctoral thesis, 'Zwischen Industriepro­vinz und Großstadthoffnung', which was published in 1994. A number of commissioned articles on related topics have since been published.

Future Research

I am in the process of preparing a research project on the significance of "normalization" and "flexible normalism" (J. Link) in current German culture.

The project will pursue recent changes in discourses on "normality". Starting from Jürgen Link's assumption that "normality" is a) a discursive method to regulate modern societies, and b) overwhelmingly flexible and non-normative in its definition, the project will on the one hand investigate a range of social and cultural discourses which construct modern identities in a global world as flexible and transitory. At the same time. the project is also concerned with the limits of flexibility and attempts to establish clearly defined, normative identities (gender, ethnicity, nationality).

While the project is interested in the hegemonic discourses which define and construct "normality", it will at the same time investigate the status of art and 'critique' vis-a-vis this normality. Is critique still possible and effective within the normalist discourse? Can art (film, literature, music, painting) play a role in questioning and subverting normality, or does it primarily reflect and represent normality?

  • UECKER, MATTHIAS, 2016. Icons of Speed - Icons of Crisis: Acceleration Effects in Weimar Culture. In: ANNE FUCHS, J.J. LONG, ed., Time in German Literature and Culture, 1900-2015: Between Acceleration and Slowness Palgrave Macmillan. 113-130
  • UECKER, MATTHIAS, 2016. Organisierender oder universaler Intellektueller? Zu Alexander Kluges Medienarbeit. In: CARSTEN GANSEL, WERNER NELL, ed., Vom kritischen Denker zur Medienprominenz?: Zur Rolle von Intellektuellen in Literatur und Gesellschaft vor und nach 1989 Transcript. 327-344
  • MATTHIAS UECKER, 2016. Warnung oder Beratung? Wie Heinrich Hauser den Amerikanern Deutschland erklärte. Krieg und Literatur / War and Literature: Exil im Krieg 1939-1945. 22, 151-158
  • MATTHIAS UECKER, 2016. Sprechen und/oder Schreiben?: Alexander Kluges Gespäche zwischen den Medien Alexander-Kluge-Jahrbuch. 3, 217-232
  • UECKER, MATTHIAS, 2014. National Identity for International Audiences? Identity Constructions in Post-unification German Cinema. In: PREECE, JULIAN, ed., Re-forming the Nation in Literature and film.: The Patriotic Idea in Contemporary German-Language Culture Peter Lang. 137-156
  • UECKER, MATTHIAS, 2014. Schreiben – Filmen – Sprechen. Inszenierung und Kommunikation in Alexander Kluges Autorschaft. In: KYORA, SABINE, ed., Subjektform Autor: Autorschaftsinszeneriugen als Praktiken der Subjektivierung Transcript. 103-119
  • MATTHIAS UECKER, 2014. Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Essays zur Medientheorie / Gedichte. In: MARION BÖNNIGHAUSEN and JOCHEN VOGT, eds., Literatur für die Schule. Ein Werklexikon zum Deutschunterricht. Wilhelm Fink. 189-193
  • UECKER, M., 2013. Saints and sinners: the good German and her others in Heinrich Böll's "Gruppenbild mit Dame". In: O'DOHERTAIGH, P. and SCHÖNFELD, C., eds., Representing the "good German" in literature and culture after 1945: altruism and moral ambiguity Camden House. 98-110
  • UECKER, M., 2013. Performing the modern German: performance and identity in contemporary German cinema Peter Lang.
  • UECKER, M., 2012. 'Das Leben [...] So ist es und nicht anders': constructions of normality in "Menschen am Sonntag". In: HUNG, J., WEISS-SUSSEX, G. and WILKES, G., eds., Beyond glitter and doom: new perspectives of the Weimar Republic Iudicium. 152-165
  • UECKER, M, 2011. Dokumentation oder Aktualisierung einer Revolution? Walter Boehlichs „1848“. In: PEITSCH, H and THEIN, H., eds., Walter Boehlich. Kritiker Berlin: Akademie. 253-264
  • UECKER, M., 2010. Belief, Ritual and Identity: Performances of Jewishness in Contemporary German Cinema. In: PREECE, J., FINLAY, F. and CROWE, S., eds., Religion and Identity in Germany Today. Doubters, Believers, Seekers in Literature and Film Oxford: Peter Lang. 25-46
  • UECKER, M, 2008. Egon Erwin Kisch: Der rasende Reporter (1925). In: POROMBKA, S. and SCHÜTZ, E., eds., 55 Klassiker des Kulturjournalismus B & S Siebenhaar. 120-123
  • UECKER, M., 2008. Wiederholungszwang und Veränderungswunsch: zu einem Motiv in Alexander Kluges Prosa. In: SCHÜTZ, E. and HARDTWIG, W., eds., Keiner kommt davon: Zeitgeschichte in der Literatur nach 1945 Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 115-129
  • UECKER, M., 2007. Wirklichkeit und Literatur: Strategien dokumentarischen Schreibens in der Weimarer Republik Bern: Peter Lang.
  • UECKER, M., 2007. Fractured families – united countries? Family, nostalgia and nation-building in Das Wunder von Bern and Goodbye Lenin New Cinema. 5(3), 189-200
  • UECKER, M, 2007. The Face of the Weimar Republic. Photography, Physiognomy, and Propaganda in Weimar Germany Monatshefte für deutschsprachige Literatur und Kultur. 99(4), 469-484
  • UECKER, MATTHIAS, 2007. Beschreiben oder Zeigen?: Heinrich Hausers Amerika-Reise als Buch und Film Non Fiktion. Arsenal der anderen Gattungen. 2(1), 7-19
  • UECKER, MATTHIAS, 2007. "Können Dichter die Welt ändern?" Gottfried Benn und die Politik des Weimarer Literaturbetriebs. In: DELABAR, WALTER and KOCHER, URSULA, eds., Gottfried Benn (1886-1956). Studien zum Werk Bielefeld: Aisthesis. 159-180 (In Press.)
  • UECKER, M., 2006. "Uns allen steckt etwas von damals in den Knochen". Der Nationalsozialismus als Objekt der Faszination in den Romanen Marcel Beyers. In: BEßLICH, B., GRÄTZ, K. and HILDEBRANDT, O., eds., Wende des Erinnerns?: Geschichtskonstruktionen in der deutschen Literatur nach 1989 Berlin: Erich Schmidt. 53-68
  • UECKER, M., 2005. Kontinuitäten und Veränderungen der neusachlichen Weltbeschreibung: Heinrich Hausers Industriereportagen. In: FRANK, G., PALFREYMAN, R.J. and SCHERER, S., eds., Modern times?: German literature and arts beyond political chronologies / Kontinuitäten der Kultur, 1925-1955 Bielefeld: Aisthesis Verlag. 25-43
  • UECKER, M., 2005. Wie Gewalt entsteht und wie sie gezeigt werden kann: Zur Darstellung von Gewalt im Neuen Deutschen Film der siebziger Jahre In: Gewalt und kulturelles Gedächtnis. Repräsentationsformen von Gewalt in Literatur und Film seit 1945. 193-205
  • UECKER, M., 2005. Angestellte und Arbeitslose: Soziologische Expeditionen in die deutsche und österreichische Gesellschaft In: Vienna Meets Berlin. Cultural Interaction 1918-1933. 199-214
  • UECKER, M., 2004. Verteidigung der Eltern. Generationenverhältnisse im Werk Martin Walsers In: Seelenarbeit an Deutschland. Martin Walser in Perspective. 119-139
  • UECKER, M., 2002. Vorbild, Repräsentant und Warnung: der Schriftsteller und sein Publikum in Thomas Mann's Der Tod in Venedig Literatur für Leser. 25(4), 227-243
  • UECKER, M., 2002. Rohstoffe und Intermedialität: Überlegungen zu Alexander Kluges Fernsehpraxis. In: SCHULTE, C. and SIEBERS, W., eds., Kluges Fernsehen: Alexander Kluges Kulturmagazine Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. 82-104
  • MARTEN-FINNIS, S. and UECKER, M., eds., 2001. Berlin - Wien - Prag. Moderne, Minderheiten und Migration in der Zwischenkriegszeit / Modernity, Minorities and Migration in the Inter-War Period Bern : Peter Lang.
  • UECKER, M, 2000. Marketing the Self: Hans Magnus Enzensberger's rhetorical strategies. In: WILLIAMS, A., PARKES, S. and PREECE, J., eds., Literature, Markets and Media in Germany and Austria Today Berne: Peter Lang. 53-69
  • UECKER, MATTHIAS, 2000. "Das Verhältnis dieser Leute zu uns hat ja auch etwas wirklich Obszönes angenommen. Juden und Deutsche in Alfred Anderschs Roman 'Efraim'. In: O'DOCHARTAIGH, POL, ed., Jews in German Literature Since 1945: German-Jewish Literature? Amsterdam - Atlanta: Rodopi. 491-505
  • UECKER, MATTHIAS, 2000. Zwei Ansichten? Ost- und westdeutsche Reportagen zur Wende. In: FLANAGAN, CLARE and TABERNER, STUART, eds., 1949/1989. Cultural Perspectives On Division And Unity In East And West Amsterdam - Atlanta: Rodopi. 177-197
  • UECKER, M, 2000. Antifernsehen?: Alexander Kluges Fernsehproduktionen Marburg: Schüren.
  • UECKER, MATTHIAS, 1998. Der Autor in der Medienindustrie - Hans Magnus Enzensberger und Alxander Kluge. In: ERB, ANDREAS, ed., Baustelle Gegenwartsliteratur. Die neunziger Jahre Opladen/Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag. 59-71
  • UECKER, MATTHIAS, 1998. 'Für Kultur ist es nie zu spät!': Alexander Kluge's Television Productions. In: WILLIAMS, A., PARKES, S. and PREECE, J., eds., 'Whose story?' - Continuities in contemporary German-language literature Berne: Peter Lang. 341-352
  • UECKER, MATTHIAS, 1997. Katastrophe und Normalität. Hans Magnus Enzensberger seit den siebziger Jahren. In: DELABAR, WALTER and SCHÜTZ, ERHARD, eds., Deutschsprachige Literatur der 70er und 80er Jahre. Autoren - Tendenzen - Gattungen Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. 321-343
  • UECKER, M, 1995. Der Publizist als Romancier. Erik Regers Ruhrgebiets-Romane. In: EHLICH, K., ELMER, W. and NOLTENIUS, R., eds., Sprache und Literatur an der Ruhr Essen: Klartext. 163-178
  • UECKER, MATTHIAS, 1995. Strategien im Medienkampf. Der Essayist Hans Magnus Enzensberger Der Deutschunterricht. 47(6), 88-95 (In Press.)
  • SCHÜTZ, E. and UECKER, M., 1995. "Präzisionsästhetik"? Erik Regers "Union der festen Hand" - Publizistik als Roman. In: BECKER, S. and WEISS, C., eds., Neue Sachlichkeit im Roman: neue Interpretationen Stuttgart: Metzler. 89-111
  • UECKER, M., 1994. Zwischen Industrieprovinz und Großstadthoffnung: Kulturpolitik im Ruhrgebiet der zwanziger Jahre Wiesbaden: Deutscher Universitäts-Verlag.
  • UECKER, MATTHIAS, 1993. Aus dem wirklichen Leben... Die Wiederkehr des Dokumentarismus in der westdeutschen Literatur Weimarer Beiträge: Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft, Asthetik und Kulturwissenschaften. 39(2), 266-282
  • UECKER, M, 1992. Analyse 4: Sachtexte. In: BAUER, K.W., ed., Grundkurs Literatur- und Medienwissenschaft Primarstufe München: Wilhem Fink. 115-130

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