Steven D Hoelscher
Professor — Ph.D., Geography, 1995, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Department Chair, Professor, Academic Curator for Photography, Harry Ransom Center
Born and raised in the Upper Midwest, Professor Hoelscher got to Texas as soon as he could. He joined the Department of American Studies in 2000, after first teaching at LSU and, before that, completing his Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Wisconsin. During 2003-2004, he was Senior Fulbright Professor in the North American Studies Program at the University of Bonn.
Professor Hoelscher’s research interests include: North American and European urbanism; social constructions of space and place, landscape and region; ethnicity and race; cultural memory; the geography of tourism; and the history of photography. His books include Picturing Indians (winner of the 2009 Wisconsin Historical Society Book Award of Merit), Heritage on Stage, and Textures of Place (co-edited with Karen Till and Paul Adams), and he has published more than 30 book chapters and articles in such journals as American Indian Culture and Research Journal, American Quarterly, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Ecumene (now, Cultural Geographies), Geographical Review, GeoJournal, Journal of Historical Geography, Public Historian, and Social and Cultural Geography.
Professor Hoelscher teaches across the fields of American Studies, Geography, and History, and regularly offers the following courses: Introduction to American Studies, The Cultures of Cities, Memory and Place, American Space and Place, The Geography of Tourism, Constructing the American Landscape, and the History of American Photography. During the past few summers, he has taught a study abroad course in Vienna, Austria, and, in 2005, Dr. Hoelscher received the University of Texas President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award.
EUS 346 • Vienna: Memory/The City-Aut
35665 • Spring 2015
(also listed as AMS 370, GRG 356T, GSD 360, HIS 362G, URB 354)
These courses cover the topics of European Anthropology, Geography, History, and Sociology
EUS 306 • Vienna: Memory & The City-Aut
36470 • Spring 2011
(also listed as AMS 315, GRC 311, HIS 306N, URB 305)
Among the world’s major cities, Vienna, Austria, stands out as a place where the past remains a uniquely powerful shaper of collective identity—an identity that is also shaped by equally powerful forces to forget that very past. The urban landscapes of Vienna have long been inscribed by layers of collective remembering and forgetting: the city’s famous nineteenth-century Ringstraße, with its monumental government, educational, religious, and cultural institutions was constructed with memories of older building traditions clearly in mind; while avant-garde architects and artists who followed explicitly rejected connections to the past. From Sigmund Freud’s influential theories of the psychological unconscious to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s efforts to create a distinctly ahistorical philosophical system, Viennese thinkers have been at the vanguard of debates about the power of memory. And the profound upheavals of the Second World War and the Holocaust further fractured collective remembering, leading to Vienna’s deep ambivalence to recent history. Today’s Vienna, fully immersed in a global political-economy, bears witness to the deep impress of the past in the contemporary world.
The purpose of this course is to study the ways in which cultural memory has shaped, and continues to shape, urban life in one specific place: Vienna, Austria. For individuals and groups alike, memory forms an essential component of their social identity; by definition, it involves sharing, discussion, negotiation, and conflict. Cultural memory is produced in various forms—from memorials, public art, and commodities to popular culture, rituals, and museums—and is inevitably anchored in cities. Museums and memorials, for example, have been historically built as official places of memory in prominent cities to communicate a sense of national history and citizenship. Yet, due to the distinct interests of diverse social groups, these urban pasts are open to multiple interpretations that, in many cases, lead to willful and organized forgetting.
Our study of cultural memory in Vienna will explore the city’s changing cultural landscapes during four important periods during its modern development. We will see, for example, how the different layers of Austria’s history have literally become part of the Viennese built environment. We will also visit the many museums that house the artifacts and visual culture so important to Vienna’s collective memory, and we will attend opera and theater performances that call forth the city’s unique heritage. This kind of direct exploration, and the course requirement of daily reflections on these structures and spaces, can only be done on-location, where students have the opportunity to explore the terrain of memory. With Vienna as our laboratory, students will examine theoretical discussions of memory and the city in a provocative geographical setting.
Inge Lehne and Lonnie Johnson, Vienna: The Past in the Present
25% Place Notes: A Daily Fieldwork Journal
25% One 30-minute guided commentary for the entire class of one site, structure, museum, etc
10% One 1-hour exam
40% Participation in all city tours and class discussions
Reading Magnum: A Visual Archive of the Modern World (University of Texas Press, 2013).
Picturing Indians: Photographic Encounters and Tourist Fantasies in H.H. Bennett’s Wisconsin Dells (University of Wisconsin Press, Studies in American Thought and Culture Series, September 2008). Winner of the 2009 Wisconsin Historical Society Book Award of Merit.
Textures of Place: Exploring Humanist Geographies (University of Minnesota Press, 2001). Co-edited with Paul Adams and Karen Till.
Heritage on Stage: The Invention of Ethnic Place in America’s Little Switzerland (University of Wisconsin Press, 1998.
Peer Reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters
"Photography," in The Ashgate Research Companion to Media Geography, edited by Paul C. Adams, Jim Craine, and Jason Dittmer (Surrey, England: Ashgate Publishing, 2014), 17-38.
Elliot Erwitt's Art of Observation: Photographs from the Collection of Richard Coplan and Marting R. Mallinger (Boca Raton Museum of Art, 2014).