500 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Bodek studied at the University of Michigan, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1990.
Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
Bodek studied at Johns Hopkins University.
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz, 72074 Tübingen, Germany
Bodek attended at the University of Tubingen.
Kaiserswerther Str. 16-18, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Bodek attended at the Free University of Berlin.
(The late years of the Weimar republic were a time of disi...)
The late years of the Weimar republic were a time of disillusionment and economic disintegration, and nowhere were the forces competing for the political allegiances of the working class more active than in Berlin. This book examines the interplay of socialist and communist politics with the world of the working class and particularly its younger people. Drawing on sources such as newspaper articles, the text of agitprop plays, festival and concert programmes, and police reports, Professor Bodek provides a new angle on the forces at work in the proletarian sphere during the period, and highlights the different aesthetics and political theories of Social-Democratic workers' choruses and Communist agitprop theatre. Particular attention is given to the latter, whose troupes wrote and performed their own material, thus acting as a medium for communication of the Communist Party's political line: to understand the troupes, the life of working-class youth of the time is investigated, describing and analyzing unemployment, housing, education, and leisure activities, and examining its relationship to the Weimar state through its members' own eyes.
Bodek studied at the University of Michigan, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1990. He also studied at Johns Hopkins University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1982, in the University of Tubingen, and the Free University of Berlin.
Bodek currently works as an associate professor of history in the College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, since 1990. He also is a writer and a contributor of articles to professional journals, including Journal of Social History and Central European History, and books, including Elections. Mass Politics, and Social Change in Modern Germany. In Proletarian Perfonnance in Weimar Berlin: Agitprop, Chorus, and Brecht, he combines many of these interests in a “pithy book [that] is a pathbreaking examination of Communist agitprop theater in late Weimar Berlin," as Donna Harsch described the work in Journal of Social History.
Investigating his subject from a variety of angles, including from the points of view of the avant-garde dramatist Bertolt Brecht, the unemployed and underemployed youth of the era, and political parties of the left. Bodek attempts to demonstrate in his book a “cross-fertilization of high culture, left-wing cultural production, politics, and everyday life," as Harsch further explained. Dubbing this treatment “imaginative and effective," Harsch also found that “for scholars or teachers of drama, the chapters on agitprop theatre and Brecht will be of special interest." Peter D. Smith, reviewing the title in Journal of European Studies, felt that Bodek's book “presents an alternative to the popular view of the ‘Golden Twenties,'" though it does not, in Smith's opinion, “quite fulfill the high expectations that it raises." Nonetheless, Smith concluded, “Bodek's project is original and provides a valuable and stimulating insight into a complex period.” Gerhard P. Knapp, writing in Monatshefte, also thought that Bodek does not totally prove his thesis of the underlying unity of Weimar culture, both high and low, partly because, as Knapp averred, “there was no such unity." However, the critic concluded that “all in all, this is a well-conceived and persuasively written study," and added that Bodek provides “a fascinating account of this unique period in cultural modernism." For Larry Peterson, writing in the American Historical Review, Bodek's book “provides a promising outline for future research."
(The late years of the Weimar republic were a time of disi...)1998