Ruins of Modernity

9780822344568: Hardback
Release Date: 19th March 2010

9780822344742: Paperback
Release Date: 19th March 2010

83 illustrations

Dimensions: 156 x 235

Number of Pages: 528

Series Politics, History, and Culture

Duke University Press Books

Ruins of Modernity

Hardback / £103.00
Paperback / £26.99

Images of ruins may represent the raw realities created by bombs, natural disasters, or factory closings, but the way we see and understand ruins is not raw or unmediated. Rather, looking at ruins, writing about them, and representing them are acts framed by a long tradition. This unique interdisciplinary collection traces discourses about and representations of ruins from a richly contextualized perspective. In the introduction, Julia Hell and Andreas Schönle discuss how European modernity emerged partly through a confrontation with the ruins of the premodern past.

Several contributors discuss ideas about ruins developed by philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, Georg Simmel, and Walter Benjamin. One contributor examines how W. G. Sebald’s novel The Rings of Saturn betrays the ruins erased or forgotten in the Hegelian philosophy of history. Another analyzes the repressed specter of being bombed out of existence that underpins post-Second World War modernist architecture, especially Le Corbusier’s plans for Paris. Still another compares the ways that formerly dominant white populations relate to urban-industrial ruins in Detroit and to colonial ruins in Namibia. Other topics include atomic ruins at a Nevada test site, the connection between the cinema and ruins, the various narratives that have accrued around the Inca ruin of Vilcashuamán, Tolstoy’s response in War and Peace to the destruction of Moscow in the fire of 1812, the Nazis’ obsession with imperial ruins, and the emergence in Mumbai of a new “kinetic city” on what some might consider the ruins of a modernist city. By focusing on the concept of ruin, this collection sheds new light on modernity and its vast ramifications and complexities.

Contributors. Kerstin Barndt, Jon Beasley-Murray, Russell A. Berman, Jonathan Bolton, Svetlana Boym, Amir Eshel, Julia Hell, Daniel Herwitz, Andreas Huyssen, Rahul Mehrotra, Johannes von Moltke, Vladimir Paperny, Helen Petrovsky, Todd Presner, Helmut Puff, Alexander Regier, Eric Rentschler, Lucia Saks, Andreas Schönle, Tatiana Smoliarova, George Steinmetz, Jonathan Veitch, Gustavo Verdesio, Anthony Vidler

List of Illustrations
Introduction / Julia Hell and Andreas Schönle
Part I. Catastrophe, Utopia, and the Architecture of Destruction
1. Authentic Ruins: Products of Modernity / Andreas Huyssen
2. Air War and Architecture / Anthony Vidler
3. Modernism and Destruction in Architecture / Vladimir Paperny
4. Ruins of the Avant-Garde: From Tatlin's Tower to the Paper Architecture / Svetlana Boym
Part II. Ruins and the Democratic Polity
5. Modernity as a "Destroyed Anthill": Tolstoy on History and the Aesthetics of Ruins / Andreas Schönle
6. Democratic Destruction: Ruins and Emancipation in the American Tradition / Russell A. Berman
7. The Ruins of a Republic: Czech Modernism after Munich, 1938–39 / Jonathan Bolton
8. Layered Time: Ruins as Shattered Post, Ruins as Hope in Israeli and German Landscapes and Literatures / Amir Eshel
9. Cities, Citizenship and Other Jo burg Stories / Lucia Saks
Part III. Empires, Ruins, and Their Stories
10. Imperial Ruin Gazers, or Why did Scipio Weep? / Julia Hell
11. Hegel's Philosophy of World History via Sebald's Imaginary of Ruins: A Contrapuntal Critique of the "New Space" of Modernity / Todd Samuel Presner
12. Vilcashuamán: Telling Stories in Ruins / Jon Beasley-Murray
13. The Monument in Ruins / Daniel Herwitz
14. Simultaneous Modernity: Negotiations and Resistances in Urban India / Rahul Mehrotra
Part IV. (Post-)Ruinscapes
15. Ruins as Models: Displaying Destruction
16. "Memory Traces of an Abandoned Set of Futures": Industrial Ruins in the Postindustrial Landscapes of Germany / Kerstin Barndt
17. Colonial Melancholy and Fordist Nostalgia: The Ruinscapes of Namibia and Detroit / George Steinmetz
18. Dr. Strangelove's Cabinet of Wonder: Sifting through the Atomic Ruins at the Nevada Test Site / Jonathan Veitich
19. Invisible at a Glance: Indigenous Cultures of the Past, Ruins, Archaeological Sites, and Our Regimes of Visibility / Gustavo Verdesio
Part V. Ruin Gazing
20. Foundational Ruins: The Lisbon Earthquake and the Sublime / Alexander Regier
21. The Promise of a Ruin: Gavrila Derzhavin's Archaic Modernity / Tatiana Smoliarova
22. Ruin Cinema / Johannes von Moltke
23. The Place of Rubble in the Trummerfilm / Eric Rentschler
24. Lost in Time: Boris Mikhailov and his Study of the Soviet / Helen Petrovksy

Julia Hell is Associate Professor of German Studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Post-Fascist Fantasies: History, Psychoanalysis, and East German Literature, also published by Duke University Press.

Andreas Schönle is Professor of Russian Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the author of The Ruler in the Garden: Politics and Landscape Design in Imperial Russia and Authenticity and Fiction in the Russian Literary Journey, 1790–1840.

“Ever since Shelley’s traveler returned from an ‘antique land’ with news of the shattered statue of Ozymandias, king of kings, we have pondered the sober lessons of ruins and their mockery of human pretension. In this remarkable collection assembled by Julia Hell and Andreas Schönle, the ruinscape is that of the modern world and the gazes fall as much on our prior attempts to make sense of it as on the ruins themselves.”—Martin Jay, author of Songs of Experience: Modern American and European Variations on a Universal Theme

“The scope of this book is ambitious; the execution is masterful. It is a superb collection of reflections by major scholars on the pervasive presence of ruins in contemporary cultures. It is sure to find a wide readership among urban historians; scholars of modernity; scholars and students of German, European, and post-Soviet studies; film scholars; and art historians.”—Ulrich Baer, author of Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma