Noah Soltau and Maria Stehle | The University of Tennessee Knoxville
The idea for a special issue on visual depictions of terrorism in German culture came out of a graduate seminar on Representations of Radicals and Terrorists in German Literature and Film in the 20th and 21st Century that Maria Stehle taught at the University of Tennessee in 2011. Based on our discussions in the seminar, we decided to put together a special issue that examines, based on the German case, how historically traumatic events inform visual cultures in the twentieth and twenty-first century. The specter of international terrorism has influenced the aesthetics of a wide range of artworks produced in and about Germany, from film to photography to visual art. A closer examination of these visual art forms aims to further develop the understanding of and vocabulary for dealing with the effects of both domestic and international social trauma. The articles in this special issue examine artists’ representations of acts of terrorism and of their social and political effects. We analyze the aesthetic and social discourses in which these cultural products engage and how artworks inform or influence audiences’ concepts of and responses to terrorism and political violence.