Loyola University Chicago

Department of History


David B. Dennis

Title/s:  Professor

Office #:  Crown Center 505

Phone: 773.508.2234

Email: dennis@luc.edu

CV Link: Dennis-CV-23

External Webpage: http://www.dennisinhumanities.com/bibliographical-database-of-volkischer-beobachter-articles-on-culture/

E-Commons: https://works.bepress.com/david-dennis/


David B. Dennis (Ph.D., UCLA, 1991; B.A., University of Wisconsin, 1984) is a Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago working in the areas of Western Humanities, Modern European Cultural and Intellectual History, Modern German History, Music and History, Beethoven Studies, and the Cultural History of Computing.

Having studied with scholars such as George Mosse, Harvey Goldberg, Robert Wohl, Eugen Weber, Saul Friedlander, Robert Winter, and others, Dennis’s own scholarship has mainly focused on German cultural and political history.

His Beethoven in German Politics, 1870-1989 (Yale University Press, 1996) examines the evocations and uses of Beethoven’s biography and music by all of the major parties of 19th- and 20th-century German political culture.  The book attracted considerable international attention and was reviewed in both scholarly and popular media, including The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Guardian, The New Statesman and Society, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Music and Letters, The American Historical Review, the German Studies Review, The Journal of Modern History, the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Music & Letters, Notes, Central Euopean History, The Globe and Mail, The Beethoven Journal, La Stampa, New Statesman and Society, NRC Handelsblad, BBC Music Magazine, Opera News, Chamber Music, and many other publications.

Dennis’s next book, Inhumanities: Nazi Interpretations of Western Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2012), provides an intensive and comprehensive examination of the main publication of the Nazi Party, the Völkischer Beobachter, showing how that newspaper interpreted the history of Western culture, from the Ancient Greeks through the Weimar Era, in the context of Nazi ideology. Nazi leaders viewed their movement as the culmination of Western civilization, and this book leads readers through their cultural self-justification. Indeed, it is the first comprehensive survey of the terms National Socialist propagandists used to discuss the great names of European culture. It received excellent critical attention from The Times Literary Supplement, The American Historical Review, The Journal of Modern History,  Jewish Review of Books The Literary Review, the European History Quarterly, Reviews in History, Cosmopolitan Review, MacClean's, the Toronto Globe and Mail, Svenska Dagbladett, and other scholarly, press, and media outlets.  Inhumanities was also translated into Portuguese as Deshumanidades: Interpretacoes Nazistas da Cultural Ocidental, Joao Barata, trans. (San Paulo, Brazil: Madras Editora, 2014 https://madras.com.br/desumanidades)

He has written numerous book chapters and articles appearing in a variety of collections and journals, including The Cambridge Compantion to Beethoven, The Cambridge Wagner EncyclopediaSearching for Common Ground: Diskurse zur deutschen Identität 1750-1871, Wagner’s Meistersinger: Performance, History, Representation, Opera in a Multicultural World: Coloniality, Culture, Performance International Journal of Humanities, Humanities: The Magazine of the NEH, the Journal of Political and Military Sociology, and the German Studies Review.

He is currently writing Modern German Cultural History in Context, which will introduce the most famous German cultural movements and creators from the 18th century through the 20th century as related to the main stages of political development in modern German history. It includes analysis of major literary texts (of various genres), works of visual art (in various media), music compositions (from "serious" to "entertainment" styles), films (through the 20th century), and other great works by the most famous creators of each major stage in modern German cultural history. It is scheduled for publication with Routledge.

Dennis has been recognized for excellence in teaching and was a recipient of a Master Teacher Award in the College of Arts and Sciences in both 2000 and 2003 and the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Freshmen in 2015. In 2010, he organized and moderated the film series Made in West/East Germany: Chicago-wide Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of German Reunification in conjunction with the Goethe-Institut Chicago, DePaul University, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois-Chicago. In 1993, he hosted the Topography of Terror: Gestapo, SS, and Reichssicherheitshauptamt on the Prinz-Albrecht Terrain Exhibit at Loyola University, in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Chicago and the German Consulate in Chicago. Dennis also served as the Graduate Program Director in the History Department from 2011-2014. 

As promised in Inhumanities: Nazi Interpretations of Western Culture, he has developed a Database of Voelkischer Beobachter Articles on Culture. It includes pdf scans of all the articles he gathered from the paper and studied for the book With over 1600 linked pdfs, this is the most complete online collection of articles from the main Nazi newspaper about culture available today. This database is housed as a “Library” in a Public Group of Zotero.org. This will allow researchers to easily search the listings by tags of the names of major creative figures covered in the articles, as well as years. You can also search by title, creator, and year, as for any Zotero bibliography, or scroll through all of the entries in the database, etc.  For all articles that interest you, you may open the listing to find the author, title, and date on which the article appeared in the newspaper. Most importantly: for each, there is a url link to a pdf scan of the article itself, stored on Google Drive. You may then download any of those articles for your research purposes.  

An ongoing current interdisciplinary project, The History of Computing and Its Cultures co-authored with George Thiruvathukal, Department of Computer Science, LUC, surveys the stages of computing history using critical historiographical methods to explore the relationships between these developments and their social and cultural contexts. Dennis has drafted the cultural-historical component of this project. It is contractd for publication with Taylor & Francis.

See also:

Google Scholar Profile with Reviews, Mentions, and Citations of all works

E-Commons Collection of full text Articles, Papers, Presentations, and Book links

Database of Voelkischer Beobachter Articles on Culture 


Research Interests

Modern German Cultural History, History of Western Humanities, Music and History, Beethoven Studies, History of National Socialism, History of Computing

Courses Taught

History 101 Western Civilization: The Evolution of Western Ideas and Institutions to the 17th Century
History 102 Western Civilization: The Evolution of Western Ideas and Institutions since the 17th Century
History 106 Modern Western Civilization: The Humanities in Context since the 17th Century
History 267A 19th-Century German Culture and Politics
History 267B 20th-Century German Culture and Politics
History 279 History of Computing
History 300 Modern Europe and The Arts
History 321 Nineteenth-Century Europe
History 321 A Germany in the 19th Century
History 336 Germany in the 20th Century
History 327 Europe Since 1945
History 410 Cultural and Intellectual Histories of Modern Europe
History 433 Modern German History and Historiography
History 436 Culture and Politics in 20th-Century Europe
History 436 The Novel and 19th-Century German History
History 436 Cultural Studies and Modern German History
History 436 The Art and Craft of Historical Writing
History 540 The Novel and 20th-Century Europe

Selected Publications

Most publications can be found on eCommons

Google Scholar Profile with Reviews, Mentions, Citations of all works

Representative publications include:

Inhumanities: Nazi Interpretations of Western Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Beethoven in German Politics, 1870 – 1989 (Yale University Press, 1996).

“‘Their Meister’s Voice: Nazi Reception of Richard Wagner and His Works in the Völkischer Beobachter,” book chapter for Mary Ingraham, Joseph So, Roy Moodley, eds., Opera in a Multicultural World: Coloniality, Culture, Performance (London and New York, Routledge, 2016)

“Culture War: How the Nazi Party Recast Nietzsche,” Humanities: The Magazine of the NEH (January/February 2014, Vol. 35, No. 1)

“Wagner Propaganda during National Socialism,” in Nicholas Vazsonyi, ed., The Cambridge Wagner Encyclopedia (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne! First World War Beethoven Reception as Precedent for the Nazi ‘Cult of Art,’” in Stafan Hanheide, Dietrich Elms, Claudia Glunz, Thomas F. Schneider, eds., Musik bezieht Stellung: Funktionalisierung der Musik im Ersten Weltkrieg (Osnabrück, Germany: Universitätsverlags Osnabrück/Erich Maria Remarque-Friedenszentrum, 2013).

 “Moving Academic Department Functions to Social Networks and Clouds: Initial Experiences,” Computing in Science and Engineering , co-authored with George K. Thiruvathukal and Konstantin Läufer (Vol. 13, No.5, Sept-Oct 2011), pp. 84-89.

“Nietzsche Reception as Philosopher of Führermenschen in the Main Nazi Newspaper,”: International Journal of the Humanities. Volume 5, Issue 7, Winter 2007, pp. 39-48.

“The Most German of all German Operas: Die Meistersinger Through the Lens of the Third Reich” in Nicholas Vazsonyi (ed.), Wagner’s Meistersinger: Performance, History, Representation (University of Rochester Press, 2003).

“Beethoven At Large: Reception in Literature, the Arts, Philosophy, and Politics” in Glenn Stanley (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Beethoven (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

 “Honor Your German Masters: The Use and Abuse of ‘Classical’ Composers in Nazi Propaganda”: Journal of Political and Military Sociology, special issue on classical music and politics, Volume 30, No. 2 (Winter) 2002. .

“Brahms’s Requiem eines Unpolitischen,” for Nicholas Vazsonyi, ed., Searching for Common Ground: Diskurse zur deutschen Identität 1750-1871 (Weimar and Wien, Böhlau, 2000), 283-298.

“Crying ‘Wolf’? A Review Essay on Recent Wagner Literature: Lydia Goehr, The Quest for Voice: Music, Voice, and the Limits of Philosophy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); Stephen McClatchie, Analyzing Wagner's Operas: Alfred Lorenz and German Nationalist Ideology. (University of Rochester Press, 1998), and Joachim Köhler, Wagner's Hitler: The Prophet and his Disciple, trans., Ronald Taylor (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2000) for the German Studies Review, February 2001, 145-158.

Review Essay on Recent Literature about Music and German Politics, Paul Lawrence Rose, Wagner: Race and Revolution (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1992); Marc A. Weiner, Richard Wagner and the Anti-Semitic Imagination (Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1995); Frederic Spotts, Bayreuth: A History of the Wagner Festival (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1994); Michael Meyer, The Politics of Music in the Third Reich (New York: Peter Lang, 1991); Erik Levi, Music in the Third Reich (New York: St. Martin's, 1994); for the German Studies Review, October 1997, 429-432.

“Moving Academic Department Functions to Social Networks and Clouds: Initial Experiences” in Computing in Science and Engineering, co-authored with George K. Thiruvathukal and Konstantin Läufer (Vol. 13, No.5, Sept-Oct 2011), pp. 84-89.