Bodek, Richard 1961-
BODEK, Richard 1961-
ADDRESSES: Offıce—College of Charleston, Department of History, 66 George St., Charleston, SC 29424. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Educator. College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, associate professor of history, 1990—.
AWARDS, HONORS: Grants from Fulbright Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and German Academic Exchange Service.
Proletarian Performance in Weimar Berlin: Agitprop, Chorus, and Brecht, Camden House (Columbia, SC), 1997.
Contributor of articles to professional journals, including Journal of Social History and Central European History, and books, including Elections, Mass Politics, and Social Change in Modern Germany, edited by James Retallack and Larry Eugene Jones, Cambridge University Press, 1992.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Germany in the German-Jewish Literary Imagination.
SIDELIGHTS: Richard Bodek is an associate professor of history at the College of Charleston whose areas of interest include German history, modern European social and cultural history, and the cultural world of German Judaism in the first half of the twentieth century. In Proletarian Performance in Weimar Berlin: Agitprop, Chorus, and Brecht, he combines many of these interests in a "pithy book [that] is a path-breaking examination of Communist agitprop theater in late Weimar Berlin," as Donna Harsch described the work in Journal of Social History.
Investigating his subject from a variety of angles, including from the points of view of the avant garde dramatist Bertolt Brecht, the unemployed and underemployed youth of the era, and political parties of the left, Bodek attempts to demonstrate in his book a "cross-fertilization of high culture, left-wing cultural production, politics, and everyday life," as Harsch further explained. Dubbing this treatment "imaginative and effective," Harsch also found that "for scholars or teachers of drama, the chapters on agitprop theatre and Brecht will be of special interest." Peter D. Smith, reviewing the title in Journal of European Studies, felt that Bodek's book "presents an alternative to the popular view of the 'Golden Twenties,'" though it does not, in Smith's opinion, "quite fulfill the high expectations that it raises." Nonetheless, Smith concluded, "Bodek's project is original and provides a valuable and stimulating insight into a complex period." Gerhard P. Knapp, writing in Monatshefte, also thought that Bodek does not totally prove his thesis of the underlying unity of Weimar culture, both high and low, partly because, as Knapp averred, "there was no such unity." However, the critic concluded that "all in all, this is a well-conceived and persuasively written study," and added that Bodek provides "a fascinating account of this unique period in cultural modernism." For Larry Peterson, writing in the American Historical Review, Bodek's book "provides a promising outline for future research."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, April, 1999, Larry Peterson, review of Proletarian Performance in Weimar Berlin: Agitprop, Chorus, and Brecht, p. 688.
Choice, May, 1998, E. Williams, review of Proletarian Performance in Weimar Berlin, p. 1538.
Journal of European Studies, December, 1998, Peter D. Smith, review of Proletarian Performance in Weimar Berlin, pp. 432-434.
Journal of Social History, fall, 1999, Donna Harsch, review of Proletarian Performance in Weimar Berlin, p. 215.
Modern Drama, summer, 1999, Kerstin Gaddy, review of Proletarian Performance in Weimar Berlin, pp. 292-294.
Monatshefte, winter, 1998, Gerhard P. Knapp, review of Proletarian Performance in Weimar Berlin, pp. 562-563.*