Isenberg, Noah

Noah Isenberg Pic

Noah Isenberg
PhD, German Studies, University of California at Berkeley, 1995; 
MA, German Literature, University of Washington, 1991; 
BA, European History, University of Pennsylvania, 1989
Professor and Chair of Culture & Media, Director of Screen Studies

Having spent a formative period of my youth in Stockholm, Sweden—and a good chunk of my student years and adult life in Munich, Berlin, and Vienna-—my intellectual orientation has been largely tilted toward the orbit of Western and Central European ideas of the twentieth and twenty-first century. In recent years, I have become more intensely focused on the study of film (European and American alike), while my work as a literary and cultural critic has been as varied to include essays and reviews on contemporary German and Austrian literature, Swedish poetry, war photography, Critical Theory, film history, and biography.
Courses Taught:
  • Casablanca: Movie, Legend, Lore: Fall 2012
  • Introduction to Screen Studies: Fall 2011, 2012
  • Film Criticism and Theory: Spring 2012
  • The Road Movie: Spring 2012
Recent Publications:


  •  Everybody Comes to Rick’s: How ‘Casablanca’ Taught the World to Love Movies (New York: W.W. Norton, in progress)
  •  Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2014)
  • Editor, Weimar Cinema: An Essential Guide to Classic Films of the Era (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009)  **A 2009 Choice Outstanding Academic Title**
  • Detour (London: British Film Institute, 2008)
  • Editor and translator, with a critical introduction, The Face of East European Jewry by Arnold Zweig (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2004).
  • Between Redemption and Doom: The Strains of German-Jewish Modernism (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1999; paperback edition 2008).
  •  “February 4, 1930: Menschen am Sonntag Provides a New Model of Cinematic Realism,” in A New History of German Cinema, ed. Jennifer Kapczynski and Michael Richardson (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2012), 202-207.
  • “This Pen For Hire: Siegfried Kracauer as American Cultural Critic,” in Culture in the Anteroom: The Legacies of Siegfried Kracauer, ed. Gerd Gemünden and Johannes von Moltke (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2012), 29-41.
  •  “Tales of Buffalo Billy,” Los Angeles Review of Books, 27 March 2012.
  • "Fatih Akin's Cinema of Intersections," Film Quarterly 64:4 (Summer 2011): 53-61.
  • "Young People Like Us," booklet essay (liner notes) for The Criterion Collection's DVD release of People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag), 28 June 2011, pp 6-13. 
  • "A Matter of Memory", The Nation, (4 October 2010): 34-36.
  • “Muse on the Rialto” (Rev. of Stephen Barber, Abandoned Images: Film and Film’s End), Times Literary Supplement, 23 June 2010, 18.
  • “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop,” The Threepenny Review (Summer 2009): 5-7.
  • “Walter Benjamin Forever,” The Nation (3 November 2008): 34-36. 
  • “Theory Out of Bounds,” Raritan 27.1 (Summer 2007): 82-103.
  • “Permanent Vacation: Home and Homelessness in the Life and Work of Edgar G. Ulmer,” Caught by Politics: Hitler Exiles and American Visual Culture in the 1930s and 1940s, eds. Sabine Eckmann and Lutz Koepnick (New York: Palgrave, 2007) 175-94.
  • “Fighting the Abyss” (review essay on Peter Weiss, The Aesthetics of Resistance), The Nation (17 October 2005): 38-40.
  • “Dresden Mon Amour,” Bookforum (Summer 2005): 4-8. Reprinted, in Greek translation, in Epikentra (November 2005).
  • “Cinematic Smoke: Notes on a Cultural Icon from Weimar to Hollywood,” Smoke: A Global History of Smoking, eds. Xun Zhou and Sander L. Gilman (London: Reaktion Books, 2004) 248-55.
  • “Lone Ranger” (film review essay on Edgar G. Ulmer’s Ruthless and his centennial), The New Republic Online Edition, 8 September 2004.
  • “Perennial Detour: The Cinema of Edgar G. Ulmer and the Experience of Exile,” Cinema Journal 43.2 (Winter 2004): 3-25. 


Office Location:
Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts
65 West 11th Street, Room 461
New York, New York 10011
Phone Number/Extension:
212-229-5100 x2405


Research Interests:
German Modernism, Fin-de-siècle Vienna, Exile, Emigrés in Hollywood, Film Noir, Frankfurt School, Contemporary German and Austrian Cinema, American Independent Cinema and Classical Hollywood
Professional Affiliations:
  • Book Review Editor, Film Quarterly
  • PEN American Center
  • Society for Cinema and Media Studies
  • German Studies Association
Recent Presentations/Exhibits:
  •  “‘The Capra of PRC’: Edgar G. Ulmer’s Cycle of B-Pictures at Producers Releasing Corporation, 1942-46,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference, Boston, MA, 21-25 March 2012.
  •    “Revisiting ‘The Decent German’: Siegfried Kracauer's Critique of Postwar German Film,” Clark University, Worcester, MA, 13 March 2012.
  •  “Siegfried Kracauer as American Freelance Critic,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, 10-13 March 2011
  •  "Back in Black: The Place of Edgar G. Ulmer in the Pantheon of Film Noir," Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, 14 October 2009.
  •  Menschen am Sonntag  (People on Sunday, 1930) as Cinematic Feuilleton,” Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the German Studies Association, Washington, DC, 9-11 October 2009.
  • "This Pen for Hire: The American Criticism of Siegfried Kracauer," Looking after Siegfried Kracauer--An International Conference, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, 7-8 November, 2008.
  • "An Ethnic Intermezzo: Edgar G. Ulmer’s Foray into Minority Cinema of the 1930s,” Ulmerfest 2006, Olomouc, Czech Republic, 15 September 2006.
  • “Walter Benjamin in America,” Christie’s Education, New York, 3 May 2006.
  • “Of Monsters and Magicians” (Keynote Address), Beyond Memorials: New Perspectives in German-Jewish Culture, University of Pennsylvania, 5 February 2006.
  • “Fishke out of Water: Edgar G. Ulmer’s Cycle of Yiddish Films,” Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies and the Center for Jewish Studies, University of Florida, 19 January 2006.
  • “Romancing the Shtetl: On the Visual and Rhetorical Flourishes of The Face of East European Jewry (1920),” Elective Affinities: Seventh International Conference on Word & Image Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. 23-27 September 2005.
  • “Toward an Understanding of German-Jewish Modernism,” After Memory? New Directions in German-Jewish Cultural Studies, University of California at Los Angeles, 20 April 2005.
  • Panel Presentation of Arnold Zweig, The Face of East European Jewry, featuring Liliane Weissberg, Jeffrey Shandler and Tom Freudenheim, Center for Jewish History (joint-sponsored by the YIVO Institute and the Leo Baeck Institute), 14 December 2004.
Awards and Honors:
  • Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies, Conference Grant, Fall 2012
  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Research Fellowship, Berlin, Germany, 2008-09
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Fellowship for College Teachers, Jan-July 2003
  • Fulbright/IFK Visiting Scholar in Cultural Studies, Vienna, Austria, March-June 2003
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Collaborative Research Grant, fall 2002
  • Feuchtwanger Memorial Library Grant in Exile Studies, Los Angeles, CA, January 2002
  • DAAD Summer Seminar in German Studies, Einstein Forum, Germany, Summer 1998
  • DAAD/AICGS Summer Humanities Grant, Washington, DC, Summer 1997
  • Fulbright Summer Seminar in German Studies, Germany, Summer 1996
  • Phi Beta Kappa

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