Collegiate Assistant Professor, Humanities
Core: Media Aesthetics
Nicholas Baer works in the fields of film and media, critical theory, and intellectual history. He earned his BA from the University of Chicago and his MA and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining the Society of Fellows, he was Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies and Philosophy at the State University of New York at Purchase.
Baer co-edited The Promise of Cinema: German Film Theory, 1907–1933 (University of California Press, 2016), which features his translations of writings by Rudolf Arnheim, Béla Balázs, Lotte Eisner, Siegfried Kracauer, László Moholy-Nagy, Hans Richter, Joseph Roth, and Walter Ruttmann. The volume won the Limina Award for the Best International Film Studies Book and the Award of Distinction for Best Edited Collection from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. It was also selected as one of the Best Film Books of 2016 by the Huffington Post.
Currently, Baer is working on two book projects. His monograph, Cinema and the Crisis of Historicism, examines films of the Weimar Republic in relation to the "crisis of historicism" that was widely diagnosed by Central European intellectuals in the interwar period. The study issues a critique of New Film History and proposes an approach to studying cinema in relation to central questions of the philosophy of history. Baer is also co-editing a volume, Unwatchable, on the media objects that are deemed beyond the pale of consumption. Gathering over 60 short contributions, the book claims the "unwatchable" as a key concept in our global media and political environment.
Baer has published in journals such as Cinéma & Cie, Film & History, Film Studies, Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television, Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, Public Seminar, and October. He is also the recipient of the Karsten-Witte-Preis for best film essay of the year from the Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft. His research has been supported through yearlong fellowships from the Fulbright Program, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and Leo Baeck Institute / Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. For a list of his publications, please click here.