Faculty Books

berlin cabaret book cover

Step into Ernst Wolzogen’s Motley Theater, Max Reinhardt’s Sound and Smoke, Rudolf Nelson’s Chat noir, and Friedrich Hollaender’s Tingel-Tangel. Enjoy Claire Waldoff’s rendering of a lower-class Berliner, Kurt Tucholsky’s satirical songs, and Walter Mehring’s Dadaist experiments, as Peter Jelavich spotlights Berlin’s cabarets from the day the curtain first went up, in 1901, until the Nazi regime brought it down.

Fads and fashions, sexual mores and political ideologies—all were subject to satire and parody on the cabaret stage. This book follows the changing treatment of these themes, and the fate of cabaret itself, through the most turbulent decades of modern German history: the prosperous and optimistic Imperial age, the unstable yet culturally inventive Weimar era, and the repressive years of National Socialism. By situating cabaret within Berlin’s rich landscape of popular culture and distinguishing it from vaudeville and variety theaters, spectacular revues, prurient “nude dancing,” and Communist agitprop, Jelavich revises the prevailing image of this form of entertainment.

Neither highly politicized, like postwar German Kabarett, nor sleazy in the way that some American and European films suggest, Berlin cabaret occupied a middle ground that let it cast an ironic eye on the goings-on of Berliners and other Germans. However, it was just this satirical attitude toward serious themes, such as politics and racism, that blinded cabaret to the strength of the radical right-wing forces that ultimately destroyed it. Jelavich concludes with the Berlin cabaret artists’ final performances—as prisoners in the concentration camps at Westerbork and Theresienstadt.

This book gives us a sense of what the world looked like within the cabarets of Berlin and at the same time lets us see, from a historical distance, these lost performers enacting the political, sexual, and artistic issues that made their city one of the most dynamic in Europe.


From tabloid exposes of child prostitution to the grisly tales of Jack the Ripper, narratives of sexual danger pulsated through Victorian London. Expertly blending social history and cultural criticism, Judith Walkowitz shows how these narratives reveal the complex dramas of power, politics, and sexuality that were being played out in late-19th-century Britain, and how they influenced the language of politics, journalism, and fiction.

Victorian London was a world where long-standing traditions of class and gender were challenged by a range of public spectacles, mass media scandals, new commercial spaces, and a proliferation of new sexual categories and identities. In the midst of this changing culture, women of many classes challenged the traditional privileges of elite males and asserted their presence in the public domain.

An important catalyst in this conflict, argues Walkowitz, was W. T. Stead’s widely read 1885 article about child prostitution. Capitalizing on the uproar caused by the piece and the volatile political climate of the time, women spoke of sexual danger, articulating their own grievances against men, inserting themselves into the public discussion of sex to an unprecedented extent, and gaining new entree to public spaces and journalistic practices. The ultimate manifestation of class anxiety and gender antagonism came in 1888 with the tabloid tales of Jack the Ripper. In between, there were quotidien stories of sexual possibility and urban adventure, and Walkowitz examines them all, showing how women were not simply figures in the imaginary landscape of male spectators, but also central actors in the stories of metropolotin life that reverberated in courtrooms, learned journals, drawing rooms, street corners, and in the letters columns of the daily press.

A model of cultural history, this ambitious book will stimulate and enlighten readers across a broad range of interests.


This collection of 13 original essays by experts in the field of Caribbean studies clarifies the diverse elements that have shaped the modern Caribbean. Through an interdisciplinary examination of the complexities of race, politics, language, and environment that mark the region, the authors offer readers a thorough understanding of the Caribbean’s history and culture. The essays also comment thoughtfully on the problems that confront the Caribbean in today’s world.

The essays focus on the Caribbean island and the mainland enclaves of Belize and the Guianas. Topics examined include the Haitian Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries; labor and society in the 19th-century Caribbean; society and culture in the British and French West Indies since 1870; identity, race, and black power in Jamaica; the “February Revolution” of 1970 in Trinidad; contemporary Puerto Rico; politics, economy, and society in 20th-century Cuba; Spanish Caribbean politics and nationalism in the 19th century; Caribbean migrations; economic history of the British Caribbean; international relations; and nationalism, nation, and ideology in the evolution of Caribbean literature.

The authors trace the historical roots of current Caribbean difficulties and analyze these problems in the light of economic, political, and social developments. Additionally, they explore these conditions in relation to United States interests and project what may lie ahead for the region. The challenges currently facing the Caribbean, note the editors, impose a heavy burden upon political leaders who must struggle “to eliminate the tensions when the people are so poor and their expectations so great.”


  • No Chariot Let Down: Charleston’s Free People of Color on the Eve of the Civil War

  • 1986, W. W. Norton & Company
  • , editor
  • Purchase Online

In 1860, when 4 million African Americans were enslaved, a quarter-million others, including William Ellison, were “free people of color.” But Ellison was remarkable. Born a slave, his experience spans the history of the South from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. In a day when most Americans, black and white, worked the soil, barely scraping together a living, Ellison was a cotton-gin maker—a master craftsman. When nearly all free blacks were destitute, Ellison was wealthy and well-established. He owned a large plantation and more slaves than all but the richest white planters.

While Ellison was exceptional in many respects, the story of his life sheds light on the collective experience of African Americans in the antebellum South to whom he remained bound by race. His family history emphasizes the fine line separating freedom from slavery.


munich-and-theatrical-modernism book cover

This is the first cultural exploration of playwriting, directing, acting, and theater architecture in fin-de-siècle Munich. Peter Jelavich examines the commercial, political, and cultural tensions that fostered modernism’s artistic revolt against the classical and realistic modes of 19th-century drama.