Sabine Hake

Sabine Hake is the Texas Chair of German Literature and Culture at The University of Texas at Austin. A cultural historian working on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Germany, she is the author of seven monographs, including Topographies of Class: Modern Architecture and Mass Society in Weimar Berlin (2008). Her most recent book, The Proletarian Dream: Socialism, Culture, and Emotion in Germany 1863-1933 (2017) won the 2016-17 MLA Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Germanic Languages and Literatures. She is currently working on the second volume, The German Worker: Reimagining Class in the Third Reich. For more information, see


Proletarian Modernism and the Politics of Emotion: On Franz Wilhelm Seiwert and John Heartfield

The spirited defense of autonomous art by Theo van Doesburg, Hans Arp, and Kurt Schwitters and their denunciation of “proletarian” as a symptom of everything wrong with politically engaged art attest to the deep divides that haunted the culture and society of the Weimar Republic.[1] Their manifesto presented formal innovation as the conduit to aesthetic autonomy and celebrated modern art as liberation from social determinations, national differences, and historical influences.