Veronika Fuechtner on Thomas Mann's construction of "Germanness"

August 11, 2022

The Brazilian origins of his mother Júlia were initially a source of shame for Thomas Mann, but that changed in the 1920s “as his understanding of his role in society and democracy changed,” claims Dr. Veronika Fuechtner. The Professor of German Studies at Dartmouth talks about the role of racial and sexual ambiguity in Mann’s writing and why he emigrated to the U.S. rather than to Brazil. Fuechtner has co-authored A Global History of Sexual Science 1880-1960 (2017) and is currently completing a monograph on Júlia Mann and Thomas Mann's construction of race and “Germanness.”






Tom Zoellner (host) is the New York Times bestselling author of eight nonfiction books, including Island on Fire, Uranium Train, and The Heartless Stone. He teaches at Chapman University and Dartmouth College. A former reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, he is the politics editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books.



Aida Baghernejad (co-host) is an award-winning journalist and culture critic based in Berlin. Her work appears in national and international media outlets, among them the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the San Francisco Chronicle, the TagesspiegelZeit Online and Deutschlandfunk Kultur, as well as the German podcast series Pasta & Politik, featuring leading female politicians and thinkers in Germany. In 2021, she received the International Music Journalism Award as Music Journalist of the Year. She has previously taught at King’s College London and the Humboldt University Berlin.


Lisa Bartfai (producer) is an award-winning independent radio journalist, podcast producer, and translator. She is the producer and editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books podcast 55 Voices for Democracy, and the producer, editor, and host of Bowdoin Presents, a podcast by Bowdoin College. Bartfai’s own reporting was included in the Columbia Review of Journalism’s “Best journalism of 2020: Covering racial justice,” and has been awarded second place in the Society for Features Journalism 2021 Excellence-in-Features, in the Best Podcast category. Bartfai is a mentor with Report for America, and a proud alumni of the KALW Audio Academy.