The Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies
Dietrich Botstiber witnessed the most unsettling times in modern Austrian history. In his memoirs, he describes the difficult social and economic conditions in Austria from the time of the breakup of the Dual Hapsburg Empire to the 1938 Anschluss. He left Austria for the United States in 1938. He was grateful to become an American but at the same time Botstiber believed that Americans did not fully appreciate the Austrian predicament leading up to World War II. One of Botstiber’s objectives in establishing his Foundation was to “promote an understanding of the historic relationship between the United States and Austria.”
To that end, the Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies (BIAAS) supports projects that implement Botstiber’s mission. BIAAS and the Austrian-American Educational Commission jointly sponsor two Fulbright-Botstiber visiting professorships, one in Austria and the other in the United States. BIAAS offers an annual fellowship in Austrian-American Studies, and it provides grants for work, and sponsors programs, in the fields of history, politics, economics, law and cultural studies.
The Seventh Annual Botstiber Lecture on Austrian-American Affairs
Friday, May 29, 2015 at 6:30 p.m.
Embassy of Austria, 3542 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008.
Admission is FREE
The Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies will sponsor a lecture entitled, Ars Gratia Austriae: The Remarkable 1936 Vienna-Hollywood Deal to Save Independent Austrian Film and its Threat to Nazi German "Anschluss.” The event will be held at the Austrian Embassy,
Washington, D.C., on Friday, May 29, 2015 at 6:30 p.m.
Professor Robert Dassanowsky will discuss the current debate regarding the nature of Hollywood's pre-war relationship with Nazi Germany, cinema under "Austrofascism" (1933-38) and its positive American reception has been unaccountably overlooked. During this era, Vienna sought to strengthen its independent film production, which included German exile and Central European Jewish talent, and free itself from growing Nazi German infiltration and control. It turned to Hollywood. What resulted was a groundbreaking plan in which MGM, Twentieth Century Fox and other studios would offer support and utilize Austria as the site for a roster of actual Viennese/Hollywood co-productions. Fearing American attention on Austria and the establishment of significant Hollywood interests in Vienna, Nazi Germany moved to rupture the deal. How Prague and Budapest also played a part in this unique transnational Vienna/Hollywood film plan, which might have delayed or even blocked Nazi expansionism, is part of an intrigue-filled historical episode on national/cultural survival and the desire to control the power of cinema.
Robert Dassanowsky is Professor of German and Film Studies at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and also works as an independent film producer. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a delegate of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, and member of the Austrian and European Film Academies, his books include Austrian Cinema: A History (2005), New Austrian Cinema, co-ed. with Oliver C. Speck (2011), Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds: A Manipulation of Metafilm, ed. (2012), World Film Locations: Vienna, ed. (2012), and the forthcoming Screening Transcendence: Film under Austrofascism and the Hollywood Hope 1933-38. Dassanowsky is past president of the Austrian Studies Association (ASA), serves on the boards of several literary publications and film festivals, and is the recent recipient of a Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies Grant.
Fulbright-Botstiber Visiting Professors
The Dietrich W. Botstiber Foundation and the Austrian-American Educational Commission jointly established two Fulbright-Botstiber Visiting Professors of Austrian-American Studies. During the 2015-2016 program year, Professor Dean Jeffrey Kotlowski (Department of History, Salisbury University) will be hosted by Salzburg University’s American Studies program. He will demonstrate and build connections between American and Austrian studies by: (1) expanding scholarly understanding of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Paul V. McNutt, U.S. High Commissioner to the Philippines, by comparing their conceptions of security with those of the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, in an article to be published in Austria; (2) revising for publication in Austria a paper on McNutt’s role in bringing 1,300 Austrian and German Jews to Manila in the late 1930s; (3) giving lectures on McNutt’s assistance to Jews, including screening the critically-praised documentary “Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge from the Holocaust” (2013); and (4) teaching courses that will allow Austrian students to see ties between the USA and Austria, especially during the 1930s and 1940s.
Professor Max Preglau (Department of Sociology, School of Political Science and Sociology at the University of Innsbruck) will be hosted at the Department of Government, College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. He will conduct a research project that is part of his longer term research program titled “Welfare States in Transition - Austria, Europe and the USA in Comparative Perspective”. The special focus of his studies at Austin will lie on the regional state level of the U.S. social policy. Furthermore, he will teach a course titled “Rise, Current Challenges and Transformations of the Welfare State: Austria, Europe and the USA”.
Learn more about:
- Fulbright-Botstiber Visiting Professors of Austrian-American Studies in Austria and the United States
- The Botstiber Fellowship
- BIAAS Grants for the Study of Austrian-American History
- BIAAS Programs
For more information, contact:
Valerie Arapis, Deputy Administrator
The Dietrich W. Botstiber Foundation
200 E. State Street
Media, Pennsylvania 19063