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Rieger, Bernhard 1967-

Rieger, Bernhard 1967-

PERSONAL:

Born 1967. Education: Holds a Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Office—University College London, Department of History, 23 Gordon Sq., London, WC1E 6BT, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Historian, educator, and author. University College London, London, England, lecturer; has also worked at the International University of Bremen.

WRITINGS:

(Editor, with Martin J. Daunton) Meanings of Modernity: Britain in the Age of Imperialism and World Wars, Berg (Oxford, England), 2001.

Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890-1945, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor of scholarly articles to periodicals, including Historical Research, History Workshop Journal, and History and Memory.

SIDELIGHTS:

Born in 1967, Bernhard Rieger is a historian, scholar, writer, and editor. He has worked at the International University of Bremen and also at the University College London as a lecturer in the history department. In a brief biography posted on the University College London Web site, Rieger stated: "My broad area of interest is Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially society, economics and culture in Britain and Germany." He has contributed scholarly articles to periodicals, including Historical Research, History Workshop Journal, and History and Memory. His full-length publications are also written in Rieger's area of expertise. His first book, Meanings of Modernity: Britain in the Age of Imperialism and World Wars, which Rieger edited with Martin J. Daunton, was published in 2001.

Rieger is the sole author of his second book, Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890-1945, which was published in 2005. Part of the "New Studies in European History" series, the book explores how differing and contentious notions of technology shaped changing views of modernity and even the very definition of modernity. Rieger divides modernity into two categories, economic and artistic/aesthetic, and then sets forth chapters that are introduced with a few key questions. The following text then attempts to address those questions. The book covers topics from film to air travel, as well as how the perception of these advances was affected by their usage. As Rieger's study inadvertently points out, it seems odd that in the technology-driven world today only one hundred years ago people viewed technological innovation with mixed feelings, if not outright fear.

Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890-1945 was widely acclaimed. For instance, Alan Beyerchen, reviewing the book in the Canadian Journal of History, found that "this study is organized carefully and well," adding that "Rieger draws upon an impressive array of archival and published sources from the period." Discussing Rieger's exploration of the differing cultural views toward technology, Beyerchen mentioned Rieger's examples of Britain and Germany, stating that "in both countries, technological leadership was prized as a sign of creative potential and status. In Britain shipping and aviation were seen as means to extend the equilibrium of imperial supremacy, while in Germany they were instruments of aggressive change to the international status quo."

Commenting on Rieger's examination of cultural anxiety in the face of modernity, Journal of Social History contributor Peter Fritzsche commented that Rieger shows how "the ebullience of progress was edged with a sense of uncertainty about what actually had been accomplished." Fritzsche went on to note that Rieger also acknowledges that, despite this, "the sheer prevalence of the images of technological achievement indicates a more basic confidence in the promise of technology to improve social existence." Although Fritzsche felt that "Rieger is not prepared to enter the popular and philosophical debate on technology," he ultimately called Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890-1945 "an informative, but conventional analysis of technological wonders in the first half of the twentieth century." Exploring Rieger's research methods, American Historical Review critic Kees Gispen observed that Rieger "analyzes the comments of writers who had a limited grasp of technology and engineering themselves but played a crucial role in shaping the reception of three new technologies—ocean liners, air travel, and film—among an even less informed public." Given this approach, Gispen concluded that the book is an "intriguing study" that "succeeds admirably in demonstrating that attitudes toward technology in Britain and Germany had a great deal of affinity."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, June 1, 2006, Kees Gispen, review of Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890-1945, p. 898.

Business History Review, March 22, 2006, Michael Allen, review of Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890-1945, p. 207.

Canadian Journal of History, September 22, 2006, Alan Beyerchen, review of Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890-1945, p. 376.

Central European History, March 1, 2007, Mary Nolan, review of Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890-1945, p. 159.

Choice, October 1, 2005, A.M. Strauss, review of Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890-1945, p. 311.

German Studies Review, February 1, 2007, Troy Paddock, review of Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890-1945, p. 212.

Journal of British Studies, April 1, 2006, David Edgerton, review of Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890-1945, p. 470.

Journal of Modern History, June 1, 2007, Paul Betts, review of Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890-1945, p. 395.

Journal of Social History, March 22, 2007, Peter Fritzsche, review of Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890-1945, p. 799.

Technology and Culture, October 1, 2006, Barbara Schmucki, review of Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890-1945, p. 849.

ONLINE

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (October 1, 2005), Anselm Heinrich, review of Technology and the Culture of Modernity in Britain and Germany, 1890-1945.

University College London Web site,http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ (May 27, 2008), author profile.

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