Emily Dreyfus

Dreyfus Headshot
Post-Doc, Humanities Teaching Fellow, Germanic Studies
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2020; MA, University of Göttingen, 2013; BA, Oxford University, 2011
Teaching at UChicago since 2020
Research Interests: German Cinema; Mass Culture; Music and Cultural History; History of National Socialism; Sound Studies; History of the Everyday; Cultural Politics and Aesthetics.

Emily Dreyfus received her PhD in Germanic Studies from the University of Chicago in 2020. Her research considers the place of music, emotional address and political self-understanding in 20th-century German film and mass culture. Integrating analytical approaches from Cinema and Media Studies, Musicology and History, her work is prompted by the question of what moves us in a literal and figurative sense: the aesthetics of feeling in the motion picture of the film reel; the unfolding of music in time and the cultural and historical contingencies of emotional experience and understanding.

Intellectual Profile

Emily holds degrees in Classics and Modern Languages from Oxford University and Comparative Literature from the University of Göttingen, Germany. In 2015, she was awarded the Wayne C. Booth Graduate Student Prize for Excellence in Teaching (2015) from the University of Chicago.

Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Fulbright Commission, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Mellon Humanities Foundation, Berlin Program for Advanced European Studies and the Josephine De Kármán Fellowship Trust. Recent presentations include the Cinepoetics Center for Advanced Film Studies in Berlin, the Leibniz Center for Contemporary History in Potsdam and a public lecture at the German Historical Museum, Berlin, as well as papers at the German Studies Association and the MLA.

She is currently developing her dissertation Classical Music on Screen: Affect and Ambivalence in Nazi Film into a first monograph and co-curating a 2021 exhibition to mark the 75th anniversary of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s opening season in occupied Berlin in 1945 in collaboration with Berlin Philharmonic Archive and the Allied Museum, Berlin. In December 2020 she will feature as a guest speaker at the Zeughaus cinema’s series on Beethoven in international film history.

Work with Students

Emily has taught in Germanic Studies and the Humanities Core since 2014. In 2015, she served as the Graudate Co-ordinator and Language Instructor for the Ferdinand Stern Vienna in Western Civilizations Study Abroad Program. From 2016-2017 she was a Writing Intern in the Humanities.

Selected Publications

2022 (forthcoming). “Beethoven through the Lens of International Cinema.” In Beethoven in Context, edited by John Wilson and Glenn Stanley. Cambridge University Press.

2021. “Dienst an der ernsten und großen Musik? Philharmoniker als verzwicktes Zeitdokument der NS-Kulturpolitik.” Filmblatt 75 (Spring 2021).

2020. Widerhall des Unbehagens. Beethoven im NS-Kino.” In Vom Klang Bewegt: Das Kino und Ludwig van Beethoven, edited by Stephan Ahrens. Berlin: Bertz und Fischer.

2019. Review of Klang als Geschichtsmedium. Perspektiven für eine auditive Geschichtsschreibung, edited by Anna Langenbruch. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2018. H-Soz-Kult, June 7, 2019.

2018. Review of Musical Modernism and German Cinema from 1913 to 1933, by Francesco Finocchiaro. London, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. Filmblatt 66/67 (Autumn).


• (Re-)Living Nazi Germany through the Eyes of the Graphic Novel: Winter 2021

• Advanced German in Vienna (GRMN 15005), University of Chicago: Fall 2015

• Intermediate German in Vienna (GRMN 15003), University of Chicago: Fall 2015

• Elementary German in Vienna (GRMN 15002), University of Chicago: Fall 2015

• Elementary German for Beginners (GRMN 10300), University of Chicago: Spring 2015

• Elementary German for Beginners (GRMN 10200), University of Chicago: Winter 2015

• Elementary German for Beginners (GRMN 10100), University of Chicago: Fall 2014; Fall 2020.

• Human Being and Citizen (HUMA 12300), University of Chicago: Fall 2016 (TA)