Babylon Berlin, German Visual Spectacle, and Global Media Culture book cover

Babylon Berlin, German Visual Spectacle, and Global Media Culture

Babylon Berlin, German Visual Spectacle, and Global Media Culture book cover


The essays in this collection address the German television series Babylon Berlinand explore its unique contribution to contemporary visual culture.

Since its inception in 2017 the series, a neo-noir thriller set in Berlin in the final years of the Weimar republic, has reached audiences throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas and has been met with both critical and popular acclaim. As a visual work rife with historical and contemporary citations Babylon Berlin offers its audience a panoramic view of politics, crime, culture, gender, and sexual relations in the German capital.

Focusing especially on the intermedial and transhistorical dimensions of the series, across four parts-Babylon Berlin, Global Media and Fan Culture; The Look and Sound of Babylon Berlin; Representing Weimar History; and Weimar Intertexts-the volume brings together an interdisciplinary and international group of scholars to critically examine various facets of the show, including its aesthetic form and citation style, its representation of the history and politics of the late Weimar Republic, and its exemplary status as a blockbuster production of neoliberal media culture.

Considering the series from the perspective of a variety of disciplines, Babylon Berlin, German Visual Spectacle, and Global Media Culture is essential reading for students of film, TV, media studies, and visual culture on German Studies, History, and European Studies programmes.


Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors

Introduction, Hester Baer (University of Maryland, College Park, USA) and Jill Suzanne Smith (Bowdoin College, USA)

Part One: Babylon Berlin, Global Media, and Fan Culture

1. Quality TV Drama with Transnational Appeal: Industry Discourses on Babylon Berlin and the Changing Television Landscape in Germany, Florian Krauß (University of Siegen, Germany)

2. Defective Detective Meets Sassy Secretary, Plot Ensues: Babylon Berlin, TV Tropes, and the Cultural Implications of Pop Narratology, Doria Killian (University of North Carolina, Asheville, USA)

Part Two: The Look and Sound of Babylon Berlin

3. Fashion for a Global Audience: 1920s Glamour and Grit, Mila Ganeva (Miami University, Ohio, USA)

4. Liquid Space and Digital Aesthetics in Babylon Berlin, Michael Sandberg (University of California, Berkeley) and Cara Tovey (University of California, Los Angeles, USA)

5. Recreating the Soundscape of Weimar: Sound Technologies, Trauma, and the Sonic Archive, Abby Anderton (Baruch College and CUNY Graduate Center, USA)

6. From Kahn to Kollwitz: Exploring the Significance of Art and Visual Culture in Babylon Berlin, Camilla Smith (University of Birmingham, UK)

Part Three: Representing Weimar History

7. “Modernity in Babylon: The Media as Proponents of Modern Life in Babylon Berlin,” Jochen Hung (Utrecht University, Netherlands)

8. Journalists and the Media as Proponents of Modern Life, Javier Samper Vendrell (University of Pennsylvania, USA)

9. Reading Queerness in Babylon Berlin, Darcy Buerkle (Smith College, USA)

Part Four: Weimar Intertexts

10. Blood May Footage and the Archive Effect: The Political Ambivalence of Babylon Berlin as Appropriation Film, Sara F. Hall (University of Illinois, Chicago, USA)

11. Glitter and Post-Punk Doom: Babylon Berlin through the Lens of 1980s West Berlin, Julia Sneeringer (Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center, USA)

12. Siegfried, Screen Memories, and the Fall of the Weimar Republic, Carrie Collenberg-González (Portland State University, USA) and Curtis L. Maughan (Pomona College, USA)