Uncanny Reminders: The 'Nazi' in Popular Culture




Tobler, Tamara Lynn

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The ubiquity of the ‘Nazi’ – the fictional Doppelgänger of the historical Nazi – in the various media of popular culture is both disturbing and fascinating. There is an important relationship between the ‘Nazi’ and its audience; related to but separate from the historical Nazi, the creation and reception of the ‘Nazi’ both enables and exemplifies the continual processing of the past. Using a purpose-built framework (concept and terminology) for the study of the ‘Nazi’ as a phenomenon in and of itself, in combination with Freud’s concept of the uncanny, this thesis examines the dynamics of the relationship between the ‘Nazi’ and its audience in four examples: television episodes “Deaths-Head Revisited,” “He’s Alive” (The Twilight Zone), and “Patterns of Force” (Star Trek); and Serdar Somuncu’s performances/readings of Mein Kampf. The temporal and geographical context of the episodes (1960s America) seem far removed from Somuncu’s performances (1990s/2000s Germany), but analysing the production and effects of the uncanny moments generated in each case reveals a provocative raison d’être that spans across the geographical and temporal divide.



Serdar Somuncu, Mein Kampf, uncanny, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, Sigmund Freud, Nazi, Patterns of Force, Deaths-Head Revisited, He's Alive