Larson Powell (he/him)

Larson Powell
Curators' Distinguished Professor
Humanities and Social Sciences

Contact Info
Fine Arts Building 215
Film, Music, Literature, Philosophy, Adorno, Psychoanalysis


Larson Powell has worked on European literature, music, film and philosophy and published work in German, French and Polish. Specialties include Adorno, Freud, Lacan, philosophical aesthetics, and 20th century film and literature (including Eastern European film, Scandinavian film, DEFA and film music).

His first book was on modern German poetry (The Technological Unconscious, 2008); a second book, The Differentiation of Modernism, on post-1945 media art (electronic music, radio plays, film soundtracks) was published in 2013. He has co-edited (with Robert Shandley) the first book in English in German television and (with Kyle Frackman) a volume on classical music in East Germany. His fifth book, The Films of Konrad Wolf was published in 2020.

He has published and lectured in German, French and English, on film and literature as well as on musicology, psychoanalysis, systems theory and philosophical aesthetics. Among his recent articles are “The Rhetoric of Intermediality: Teaching Baudelaire’s ‘Invitation au Voyage,’” Teaching Baudelaire’s Prose Poems, ed. Cheryl Krueger, NY: MLA 2017, 150-157 and “History and Subjectivity. The Evolution of DEFA Film Music,“ Re-Imagining DEFA, ed. Sean Allan/Sebastian Heiduschke (Berghahn 2016), 41-60. “Fantasy and Latency: The Late DEFA Films of Rainer Simon,” Studies in Eastern European Cinema (2021).

Powell taught at Texas A&M University, U Mass Amherst and Fordham University before coming to UMKC; he has also taught film at the University of Mainz (Germany).


M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D, Columbia University
B.A., Harvard College


The Films of Konrad Wolf: Archive of the Revolution (Camden House, 2020)
German Television: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives (co-edited with Robert Shandley)(Berghahn 2016; paperback edition, 2017)
The Differentiation of Modernism (Camden House, 2013)
The Technological Unconscious in German Modernist Literature (Camden House, 2008)
“Allegories of Management. Norbert Schulze’s Soundtrack for Das Mädchen Rosemarie,” in Framing the Fifties: Cinema in a Divided Germany, ed. Sabine Hake and John Davidson (Berghahn, 2007) 180-193.
“Mama Ich Lebe: Konrad Wolf’s Intermedial Parable of Antifascism,” Edinburgh German Yearbook vol. 3 (2009) 63-75.
Two entries in Adorno-Handbuch (Klett-Cotta, 2011).