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Alina Khatib

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Title of thesis

  • The Kaiser-Panorama in the German Empire and the Weimar Republic
  • My thesis analyses the medium of the Kaiser-Panorama (‘imperial panorama’) and its impact on Wilhelmine and Weimar culture. The Kaiser-Panorama was a popular and yet short-lived visual medium that showed coloured stereo-photographs of different topical content to German audiences. The innovative medium, often described as the precursor of the cinema, borrowed its technology from earlier versions of the stereoscope and its name and thematic focus from the genre of panoramic paintings. Invented in 1880, the Kaiser-Panorama became a mass medium by the turn of the century. It predominantly illustrated Germany’s current affairs and also focused on the presentation of ‘exotic places’, allowing the audience to imagine a link with ‘overseas’ and Germany’s expanding colonial empire. In later years the medium ‘documented’ the First World War. By creating a visual narrative of historic events, the Kaiser-Panorama introduced a new aesthetic to the realm of politics.
  • My analysis of this visual medium addresses broader questions as to how technological progress was mirrored culturally and politically during that period. This will include a discussion of how the realms of modern popular culture, arts and politics intersect. In that context, I will refer to important works of Critical Theory with a special focus on Walter Benjamin’s aesthetic theory.


Research interests

  • German Empire, WWI, Weimar Republic, visual culture, Walter Benjamin studies, Critical Theory, philosophy of history, ideology theory, history of modern anti-Semitism