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Mockery as Politics: The Degenerate Art Exhibition, 1937

Prof Neil Gregor discusses the 'Degenerate Art' exhibition of 1937 as an example of how mockery was used to exclude groups from the Nazi ideal of the German people.

What was the connection between humour and exclusion, laughter and violence in the Third Reich? This lecture takes the staging of the infamous 'Degenerate Art' exhibition of 1937 as an example of the ways in which mockery was used to define the terms on which individuals were included or excluded from the 'Volksgemeinschaft', and culture used to define the 'healthy' and the seditious. As with all forms of humour, the key question we need to answer is: why did people find it funny? With what broader mindsets, and with what ways of seeing, in other words, did this political mockery connect? This lecture seeks to answer this question by setting the exhibition itself against the wider background of debates concerning modern art in Germany from the late 19th century onwards.

Neil Gregor is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Southampton. His publications include Daimler-Benz in the Third Reich (1998) and Haunted City: Nuremberg and the Nazi Past (2008), both of which won The Wiener Library's Fraenkel Prize.


Prof Neil Gregor | talks


Date and Time:

18 February 2013 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide
29 Russell Square
020 7636 7247

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Admission is free. Booking essential at http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On

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