Nicholas Baer


Nicholas Baer is Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago. He completed his PhD in Film & Media and Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley, with a dissertation on cinema and the crisis of historicism. Baer co-edited The Promise of Cinema: German Film Theory, 1907–1933 (University of California Press, 2016), which 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. He is also the co-editor of Unwatchable (Rutgers University Press, 2019), which offers multidisciplinary approaches to the vast array of troubling images that circulate in global visual culture. A regular columnist for Film Quarterly, Baer has published on film and media, critical theory, and intellectual history in numerous journals and edited volumes, and his writings have been translated into Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, and Italian.

Absolute Relativity: Weimar Cinema and the Crisis of Historicism

His dissertation focuses on the intersection between film and the philosophy of history in interwar Germany.


Selected Publications

“‘Can’t Films Be Therapeutic?’: Cinema, Psychoanalysis, and Zionism in Ari Folman’s Waltz With Bashir” in Mobile Narratives. Travel, Migration, and Transculturation. Ed. by E. Arapoglou, M. Fodor, and J. Nyman.

“Points of Entanglement: The Overdetermination of German Space and Identity in Lola + Bilidikid and Walk on Water” Transit 4.1 (2008).

Unwatchable, ed. with Maggie Hennefeld, Laura Horak, and Gunnar Iversen (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2019).

The Promise of Cinema: German Film Theory, 1907–1933, ed. with Anton Kaes and Michael Cowan (Oakland: University of California Press, 2016).

“Natural History: Rethinking the Bergfilm,” in „Doch ist das Wirkliche auch vergessen, so ist es darum nicht getilgt“: Beiträge zum Werk Siegfried Kracauers, eds. Jörn Ahrens, Paul Fleming, Susanne Martin, and Ulrike Vedder (Wiesbaden: Springer, 2017), 279–305.

“Metaphysics of Finitude: Der müde Tod and the Crisis of Historicism,” in A Companion to Fritz Lang, ed. Joe McElhaney (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015), 141–160.

“Historical Turns: On Caligari, Kracauer, and New Film History,” in Film and History: Producing and Experiencing History in Moving Images and Sound, eds. Delia González de Reufels, Rasmus Greiner, and Winfried Pauleit (Berlin: Bertz + Fischer, 2015), 153–164.

“Messianic Musclemen: Homunculus (1916) and Der Golem (1920) as Zionist Allegories,” in The Place of Politics in German Film, ed. Martin Blumenthal-Barby (Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2014), 35–52.

“The Rebirth of a Nation: Cinema, Herzlian Zionism, and Emotion in Jewish History,” in Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 59 (2014): 233–248.

Nicholas Baer