Gispen is a professor emeritus of modern European History with an emphasis on nineteenth-century and twentieth-century Germany. His particular area of expertise is the social history of technology. His publications include New Profession, Old Order: The Emergence of the Engineering Profession in Germany, 1815-1914 (Cambridge University Press, 1989); Poems in Steel: National Socialism and the Politics of Inventing from Weimar to Bonn (Berghahn Books, 2001); and articles and chapters on the history of engineers, National Socialism, and intellectual property law.
Gispen received his B.A. magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley in 1970 and his Ph.D. from the same institution in 1981. He has been at the University of Mississippi since 1983 and with the Croft Institute since 1998. He served as Associate Director of the Institute from 2005 to 2007 and Executive Director form 2007 to 2016. In the History Department, Gispen has taught courses on modern Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust. At Croft, he has taught Inst 101 Introduction to International Studies and Inst 205 Introduction to European Studies, and upper-division courses on various topics.
This course will study social change in Europe from the end of World War II in 1945 to the present through the medium of film, accompanied by selected readings. We will screen one or two films for each of the decades from the 1940s to the 2000s and use each film as a window or voice to tell the story of the time and thus make the respective period come alive. We will meet twice a week, though films will be screened in the evenings and take the place of one of that week’s class periods. Films may be either from or about the relevant decade and be selected from the following: The Third Man, Rome Open City, Bicycle Thieves, La Strada, A Girl Called Rosemarie, one of the Sissi films, The Marriage of Maria Braun, One Two Three, Breathless, Belle de Jour, Ida, The Weekend, Darling, The Full Monty, The Long Good Friday, The Baader Meinhof Complex, La Prima Linea, The Long Good Friday, My Beautiful Laundrette, This is England, The Nasty Girl, Head On, As We Leave, and others. Students will be graded on the basis of class participation and six short papers (3–5 pages), each analyzing and contextualizing a particular film. A core text will likely include Tony Judt’s Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945.