Cultural Studies and Nosferatu Into the 21st Century

When I was getting my master's degree at San Diego State University, I was part of Dr. Bill Nericcio's MALAS program there (Masters of Arts in  Liberal Arts and Sciences). MALAS, as I've written about before, is part of the exciting and  growing field of Cultural Studies.

Dr. William Nericcio, head of SDSU's MALAS program, and Anders Larsson in 2014

Dr. William Nericcio, head of SDSU's MALAS program, and Anders Larsson in 2014


Though there are of course people who disagree with this, I think that Cultural Studies programs are --one way or another-- gradually replacing English programs. After all, we want context in the 21st century, and this is exactly what Cultural Studies gives us. Where the disciplines of English and Literature are one-stop train stations that address characters, writing, and so on, Cultural Studies gives us a broader, interdisciplinary framework. Why stop at reading Jane Eyre, analyzing the novel's structure, theme, character development, and so on, when we can instead place it in the context of 19th century England, and then allow the novel to lead us into discussions of identity, gender, class, nationalism, etc.  

Some might argue that this is what a good English department has always done, but Cultural Studies takes this further by allowing us to "read" films, comics, music, art, maps, neighborhoods, international borders, and so much more. This is exactly what I did with my master's thesis, entitled "Wax Without Honey: The LP as Post-WWII American Zeitgeist". In this work, I explored how the long playing phonograph record embodied the spirit of America from the late 1940s to the 1970s.

Here is a link to what ended up being a warm-up of sorts for that published work. This considerably shorter essay, entitled "Nosferatu as 20th Century German Zeitgeist" explores how both  F. W. Murnau's 1922 masterpiece and Werner Herzog's equally brilliant and important 1979 version both captured the spirit of Germany before and after the the Second World War and the Holocaust. The essay, exploring New German Cinema (NGC), the music of Popul VuhDracula vs. Count Orlok, the impacts of war, and more, remains my most popular paper on academia.edu., with 340 views to date (I'm sure the subject matter of vampires has something to do with that!). 

A still from Murnau's Nosferatu. I explore the importance of the shadow in the essay, "Nosferatu as 20th Century German Zeitgeist", by Anders Larsson.

A still from Murnau's Nosferatu. I explore the importance of the shadow in the essay, "Nosferatu as 20th Century German Zeitgeist", by Anders Larsson.

In any case, here is a link if you care to peruse this paper I wrote back in 2013. Enjoy, and thanks for staying tuned in! https://www.academia.edu/4140848/Nosferatu_as_20th_Century_German_Zeitgeist