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Grant number: EH-256893-17

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University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Amherst, MA 01003-9242)
Skyler Arndt-Briggs (Project Director: March 2017 to present)
Barton Byg (Co Project Director: August 2017 to present)

Culture in the Cold War: East German Art, Music and Film

A four-week institute for twenty-five college and university faculty to explore concepts of artistic freedom under a modern socialist regime the film, music, and visual arts of East Germany.


This NEH Institute for college and university teachers seeks to break new ground in the study of culture during the Cold War through a sustained interdisciplinary examination into the role of arts and artists in society. For historical and methodological reasons, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) provides an ideal case study for this topic. The Institute explores new scholarship to provide a sustained, interdisciplinary examination into the role of the arts--specifically film, music, and the visual arts--under socialism; this work is re-appropriating the field by addressing contemporary interests and research questions and has started yielding insights that highlight commonalities and differences between socialist and capitalist modernity. The Institute establishes the relevance of this period of recent history by offering college teachers a wide selection of materials to present a dynamic historical perspective on issues being raised in classrooms today.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Film History and Criticism; Music History and Criticism

Institutes for College and University Teachers

Education Programs

Total amounts:
$216,849 (approved)
$216,849 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2017 – 12/31/2018