front cover of The German Patient
The German Patient
Crisis and Recovery in Postwar Culture
Jennifer M. Kapczynski
University of Michigan Press, 2008

The German Patient takes an original look at fascist constructions of health and illness, arguing that the idea of a healthy "national body"---propagated by the Nazis as justification for the brutal elimination of various unwanted populations---continued to shape post-1945 discussions about the state of national culture. Through an examination of literature, film, and popular media of the era, Jennifer M. Kapczynski demonstrates the ways in which postwar German thinkers inverted the illness metaphor, portraying fascism as a national malady and the nation as a body struggling to recover. Yet, in working to heal the German wounds of war and restore national vigor through the excising of "sick" elements, artists and writers often betrayed a troubling affinity for the very biopolitical rhetoric they were struggling against. Through its exploration of the discourse of collective illness, The German Patient tells a larger story about ideological continuities in pre- and post-1945 German culture.

Jennifer M. Kapczynski is Assistant Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the coeditor of the anthology A New History of German Cinema.

Cover art: From The Murderers Are Among Us (1946). Reprinted courtesy of the Deutsche Kinemathek.

"A highly evocative work of meticulous scholarship, Kapczynski's deftly argued German Patient advances the current revaluation of Germany's postwar reconstruction in wholly original and even exciting ways: its insights into discussions of collective sickness and health resonate well beyond postwar Germany."
---Jaimey Fischer, University of California, Davis

"The German Patient provides an important historical backdrop and a richly specific cultural context for thinking about German guilt and responsibility after Hitler. An eminently readable and engaging text."
---Johannes von Moltke, University of Michigan

"This is a polished, eloquently written, and highly informative study speaking to the most pressing debates in contemporary Germany. The German Patient will be essential reading for anyone interested in mass death, genocide, and memory."
---Paul Lerner, University of Southern California


front cover of Only the Names Have Been Changed
Only the Names Have Been Changed
Dragnet, the Police Procedural, and Postwar Culture
Claudia Calhoun
University of Texas Press, 2022

Among shifting politics, tastes, and technology in television history, one genre has been remarkably persistent: the cop show. Claudia Calhoun returns to Dragnet, the pioneering police procedural and an early transmedia franchise, appearing on radio in 1949, on TV and in film in the 1950s, and in later revivals. More than a popular entertainment, Dragnet was a signifier of America’s postwar confidence in government institutions—and a publicity vehicle for the Los Angeles Police Department.

Only the Names Have Been Changed shows how Dragnet’s “realistic” storytelling resonated across postwar culture. Calhoun traces Dragnet’s “semi-documentary” predecessors, and shows how Jack Webb, Dragnet’s creator, worked directly with the LAPD as he produced a series that would likewise inspire public trust by presenting day-to-day procedural justice, rather than shootouts and wild capers. Yet this realism also set aside the seething racial tensions of Los Angeles as it was. Dragnet emerges as a foundational text, one that taught audiences to see police as everyday heroes not only on TV but also in daily life, a lesson that has come under scrutiny as Americans increasingly seek to redefine the relationship between policing and public safety.


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