Fields of Interest: 20th century studies, material and intellectual history, urban humanities
Paul Kurek is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Germanic Languages. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in German Literature from Julius-Maximilian Universität Würzburg, where he wrote his B.A. thesis on concepts of love during fin de siècle. In 2012-2013 he studied at University of Texas at Austin. He earned his M.A. degree at UCLA, focusing on German literature and urban cinema in 2016. In the same year, Paul graduated from the Mellon-funded UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative Graduate Certificate Program.
For his dissertation project under the working title: “Heavy Load-Bearing Modernity. Germans, Nazis, Soil,” Paul is looking at the intersection of material and intellectual history. By reading history out of the so called “heavy load-bearing cylinder,” a concrete structure with a weight of 12,650 tons that the Nazis left behind, he aims to gauge the philosophical and architectural foundations of fascist modernity to provide a more nuanced reading of fascism than current literature offers. Therefore, he pays attention to the conceptual porosity between culture and barbarity; Nazis and Germans. Apart from 20th century studies, Paul’s interests include cosmopolitanism, continental philosophy, and urban humanities.
Apart from his academic work, Paul serves the community as Graduate Student Representative on the North Westwood Neighborhood Council (2018-present). As part of the UCLA Graduate Student Association, Paul serves the student government as cabinet member and director of GSA Melnitz Movies, a screening series at the UCLA Film School (2016-present).
Paul is a supporting member of the Villa Aurora Thomas Mann House and member of the German American Business Association - Film Initiative supported by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Los Angeles and chairman Roland Emmerich.