Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society Organization Logo Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society


Culture and Catastrophe in Modern Europe

03.01.2024 – 03.02.2024

Event Summary

Ewa Faryaszewska, Old Town Warsaw, August 1944, Agfacolor film, Warsaw Museum. Faryaszweska, an art student, took this photo shortly before she died while working to preserve cultural monuments during the Warsaw Uprising. Via Wikimedia Commons.

In the history of modern Europe, episodes of catastrophe have often produced arguments for the importance of the arts, literature, and other forms of cultural expression. This history of cultural work includes periods of enormous creativity in circumstances of great constraint. It also includes acts of cultural supremacy with devastating consequence. This interdisciplinary workshop explored the links between culture and catastrophe, questioning how cultural expressions have responded to catastrophic events in modern European history. Are cultural practices primarily a salve in such moments? Or have they been capable of prolonging, even provoking disasters? The workshop was attentive to the relevance of these questions to our present moment, using historical examples to analyze the relationship between calamity and cultural production in the twenty-first century.


Jennifer Allen, Yale University
Jeremy Best
, Iowa State University
Jonathon Catlin
, University of Rochester
Susan A. Crane
, University of Arizona
Jonida Gashi
, Academy of Albanian Studies
Michael Geyer
, University of Chicago
Alice Goff
, University of Chicago
Andrew Hennlich
, Western Michigan University
Kasia Jesżowska
, University of New South Wales
Yuliya Komska
, Dartmouth University
Emma Kuby
, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Philipp Lehmann
, University of California Riverside
Nisrine Rahal
, Wake Forest University
Jonah Siegel
, Rutgers University
Kira Thurman
, University of Michigan
Christoph Weber
, University of North Texas
Christopher Williams-Wynn
, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz