Dr. Ilka Rasch
Assistant Professor of German Studies


Ilka Rasch received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and wrote her dissertation, The Return of the Red Army Faction (RAF): German Tales of Terror, on visual representations of politically motivated violence in post-wall Germany. She studied at the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen Konrad Wolf (HFF) in Berlin, taught for the Screen Arts and Cultures Department at the University of Michigan and works as a script consultant (e.g. Wer wenn nicht wir/If not us who [2011]) in her spare time. Her area of interests are the aesthetics of terrorism/politically motivated violence (media coverage, film and literature), generational conflicts, visual archives and collective memory, German and American film history, fascist cinema and film and literary theory.

Film Studies Courses

GER 465: Histories of German Cinema

A study of the diverse history of German film from 1919 to the present, including the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, Post-war East and West Germany, and contemporary developments.

FST 202: Introduction to Film Analysis

“Introduction to Film Analysis” provides students with the terminology and tools to critically analyze films by examining the basics of film form, style (mise-en-scène, camera angle and movement, editing and sound), and genre. The course explores the characteristic features of – as well as the alternative – to the “classical Hollywood style,” a series of formal and narrative conventions present in films as distinct as Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds (2005) and John Ford’s western Stagecoach (1939). Contextualizing films within a social, cultural and historical framework will provide additional insights into how films generate and construct meaning.

FYS: Media, Art and Terrorism

This course focuses on two case studies: Red Army Faction (RAF) and 9/11. The RAF was a German Marxist-Leninist group active from the early 70s until 1998, that ‘specialized’ in car bombings targeting politicians, industry leaders, bankers and American army bases. The history of the RAF, both as a terrorist organization and in its mediation, will serve as a framework for approaching 9/11 and terrorism as a key element of contemporary media culture.

MLL 236: Nazi Cinema: Hitler’s Propaganda Ministry

This class explores the history and the aesthetics of Nazi cinema. During the years between the Nazis’ rise to power in 1933 and the end of World War II in 1945, cinema was part and parcel of the Fascist State, leading some critics to speculate whether the “Third Reich” was perhaps “movie-made.” This class will analyze these productions (such as Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will and Veit Harlan’s Jud Suess), their functions, (pre-)histories and institutional polices.

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