Botstiber Institute
Botstiber Institute for
Austrian-American Studies




The Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies

The BIAAS hosted a panel discussion entitled “Espionage and intelligence in the 21st Century: How did we get here and where do we go from here? – An Austrian American Discussion.” Panelists included Siegfried Beer (moderator), Guenter Bischof, James Carafano, Audrey Kurth-Cronin, John Irvin and Timothy Naftali. It was held on May 31, 2014 at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, DC.

—Photo by Lenore Boulet


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.

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 2014-2015 program year, Professor Bettina Leibetseder (Department for Politics and Social Policy at Johannes Kepler University) will be hosted by the Department of Political Science at Hunter College of The City University of New York (CUNY). While at Hunter College, Professor Leibetseder will lead a course titled “Comparative Welfare Policy: U.S. and Europe”. The course seeks to acquaint students with the basic conceptual and theoretical issues of U.S. and European social policy in a historical and contemporary perspective. Professor Leibetseder will engage in a research project titled, “Discrimination on the Frontlines of Welfare Administration: Comparing Racial and Religious Bias in the U.S. and Europe.” Her core objective is to develop an understanding of discrimination at the frontlines in the welfare offices in a comparative perspective.

Professor David S. Luft (Department of History at Oregon State University) will be hosted by the University of Vienna. He will work on a book titled, “The Austrian Tradition in German Intellectual History: 1740-1838/1939,” which will provide a contextual narrative for thinking about Austrian intellectual history in relation to modern German Culture. Professor Luft will teach a course titled, “Out of Austria: The Austrian Mind in Exile.” The course will emphasize Austrians in a variety of fields who became important figures after they left Austria.

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, please register here.

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.

Biographical Information:

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 Page

Learn more about:

For more information, contact:

Valerie Arapis, Deputy Administrator

The Dietrich W. Botstiber Foundation

200 E. State Street

Suite 306-A

Media, Pennsylvania 19063


group shot

–Photo by Karl Schrammel

The Dietrich W. Botstiber Foundation • 200 E. State Street • Suite 306-A • Media, Pennsylvania 19063 •