Pamela Potter

Director, Center for German and European Studies


Pamela M. Potter is Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic and also holds an appointment in the School of Music. In addition to her formal education, she pursued post-graduate study in Berlin at the Free University and Hochschule der Künste, and she taught at Stanford University and at the University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign before coming to Madison and has been a vsiting professor at the University of Chicago. She has received grants from the Mellon Foundation, Fulbright, DAAD, the Social Science Research Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and has conducted research throughout Germany, in Vienna, and in Tel Aviv.

Her research and teaching interests have concentrated on relating music, the arts, and the writing of cultural history to ideological, political, social, and economic conditions, focusing twentieth-century Germany, Jewish music, and the cultural and intellectual impact of German emigration. Her articles cover such topics as defining “Nazi music”; music and German national identity; musical life in Berlin; musicological propaganda during World War II; Richard Strauss and the Third Reich; political appropriations of Handel, Bach, and Wagner; anti-Semitism in German universities before Hitler; the emigration of German musicologists to the United States; the German influence on American music during the Cold War; and the historiography of the arts in Nazi Germany. She has served on the board of directors of the American Musicological Society; served on and chaired committees for the German Studies Association; was on the original editorial board of H-German, an internet discussion list on German history; and was Review Editor for the Journal of the American Musicological Society.

Potter is the author of Art of Suppression: Confronting the Nazi Past in Histories of the Visual and Performing Arts (Weimar and Now Series, University of California Press, 2016) and Most German of the Arts: Musicology and Society from the Weimar Republic to the End of Hitler’s Reich (Yale University Press, 1998; translated into German in 2000 and Portuguese in 2015, and forthcoming in Chinese). She is also co-editor with Celia Applegate of Music and German National Identity (University of Chicago Press, 2002). Previous honors include the Alfred Einstein Award of the American Musicological Society, and the Vilas Associate Award, the Romnes Faculty Fellowship, and the Kellett Mid-Career Award from the University of Wisconsin.