Student Research Partnership in German: Environmental Fantasies: German Film History for the Anthropocene

18 October 2021

In the summer of 2021 Esme Krohn ’24 worked with Assistant Professor Seth Peabody on his book project Environmental Fantasies: German Film History for the Anthropocene. Esme shared her experience as an SRP with the Humanities Center.

“During summer 2021, I worked with Professor Seth Peabody on his upcoming book, Environmental Fantasies: German Film History for the Anthropocene, which investigates the ways that various factors outside of what is traditionally considered the film’s “content” such as character, set, and plot, nonetheless affect the world of the film. This in turn can change the way we see the environment around us. A variety of films were studied and analyzed for this project, including well-known features such as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and the experimental silent film Berlin: die Sinfonie der Großstadt.

This project was especially interesting to me because, even though I’ve been studying German in high school and at Carleton for five years, I’d never studied German film in detail. As an avid reader, it was also fascinating to see how a book is created behind the scenes. In addition, occasionally what we were talking about for the book would relate to my everyday life– for example, on my family’s frequent dog walks, I would often think about what we had discussed about leisure in German city parks, or the Alpine films we had discussed.

I was able to build many valuable research skills in my work on this project. Having to find so many sources forced me to learn how to use online databases quickly and effectively. While I already had some experience with academic writing, this position helped me learn how to edit and write quickly, as well as how to deploy these skills in a more formal setting. And, since I will be studying abroad in Germany during the fall term of 2022, I’m sure that the cultural knowledge and language skills acquired through this position will come in handy.