About the Site
Goals and Purpose
From Kinema to Caligari: Sources is a research archive maintained by Arno Bosse. I work as a research associate ("Wissentschaftlicher Mitarbeiter") on digital humanities projects at the Göttingen State and University Library in Germany. Until recently I was also a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago. Although I've now set aside the Ph.D. I plan to maintain the site and make periodic updates.
My dissertation examined the development of expressionist film in Germany roughly in the period between 1916 and 1920. This site is a collection of my research and primary source materials.
I built the site for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I wanted a straightforward but organized way to collect and share my dissertation research. The second goal was to offer a place for anyone working in this area to discuss their findings, share ideas and contribute content. Finally, it was the good excuse to learn Omeka - an easy to use, open source web-publishing platform for the display of scholarly collections, exhibitions, and related purposes.
Most of the items listed here are related to expressionism and German cinema but certainly not all. The unrelated items are included here because they seemed interesting to me for one reason or another when I undertook my research (for example, an article on the typography of film intertitles). This is especially true for page scans from film journals. Due to their sheer volume I had to skim through them very quickly and decide if I wanted to make a copy of a page from microfilm or not. When in doubt, I made the copy for review later. As I work through the uploaded files in the archive and add more catalog data (richer descriptions, keywords tags etc.) these topics will get foregrounded and accessible via browsing and content searches. I may very well also end up deleting some entries.
As such, this collection will in some sense forever be a work in progress as the catalog descriptions get richer, more connections are made between items, and contributors to the site add their own comments and findings. If you'd like to suggest a change or make a correction, please use the comments box at the bottom of each item page or get in touch with me directly via the Contact page. All feedback is welcome (auch gerne auf Deutsch).
The different categories of source material are best summarized by browsing the site by Collections, Tags or individual Items. For more information and tips on how best to browse and search the site please refer to the Help page. Here I offer some tips on how to work with the often large PDF files associated with many items and show you ways to make your search queries on the site more effective.
At minimum every item on the site includes information on its title, date, a brief description, format, contributor, and a link to one or more associated image and/or PDF files. Some items (these will grow over time) already include a brief note explaining their relevance to my research. A smaller number of items also include transcriptions and/or translations. Longer discussions about items on the site and news on updates and the like can be found on my dissertation blog.
The material on the site dates from 1916-1922 and was originally published in German public newspapers and trade journals. As I understand the situation, under German law an article retains its copyright for 70 years after the death of its author - if the author is named. Most of the articles reproduced here have no authors. Some are listed, some use pseudonyms and some just list their (or a set of) initials. Posters and other advertising work was more often that not unsigned. Even if copyright still pertains, a second problem is determining who holds the rights. Most of the journals and even the newspapers listed here are no longer in existence though at least in theory their rights could have been transfered to a new owner. Moreover, I'm not even sure if German copyright law applies since this resource was created, is hosted, is paid for in the United-States. The vast majority of content was originally viewed and reproduced in the United-States at the University of Chicago. If a rights holder is of the opinion that I am intruding on their copyright then please contact me I will certainly take down the item(s) in question.
Screenshots and film clips from film archives are a different matter since these also involve current performance and reproduction rights. These won't be listed on the site until I've cleared their status and received permissions from the relevant film archive.
Thanks & Credits
I owe thanks to many people who generously and patiently shared their time and expertise with me in the course of gathering the materials listed here and in building this website. In particular I'd like to thank fellow "Nerven" enthusiast Philipp Stiasny for sharing his research materials with me and putting me in touch with other German film scholars when I was just getting started; Stefan Droessler and Klaus Volkman at the Munich Filmmuseum for allowing me access to their holdings; Walter Nowojski for helping me locate a facsimile of Victor Klemperer's diary entry on "Nerven" and transcribing Klemperer's handwriting and Arash Samadi for showing me how to wrangle imagemagick scripts and phpMyAdmin. Finally, I'd like to thank the developers and support staff of the Omeka project for making this site possible and for their patient (I think..) responses to my many questions and suggestions on the Omeka forums.