Sam Wiseman – Berlin Tour Guide

I am originally from Devon, England, but I spent my twenties in Glasgow, Scotland, where I obtained my PhD in Modernist Literature and Landscape in 2013. I have always been fascinated by German history, philosophy, literature, and culture, which resulted in writing two Master’s dissertations – one on Nietzsche at the University of Liverpool and one W.G. Sebald at the University of Glasgow.

So Berlin felt like a natural next step after my years studying. Both Glasgow and Berlin are defined, among other things, by traditions of working-class politics, modernism, and cultural experimentation, and both have reinvented themselves, in part through the repurposing of post-industrial spaces. As Karl Scheffler put it back in 1910, Berlin feels like a city “condemned forever to become and never to be”, which is exactly what makes it so captivating to me.

Since moving to Berlin in 2014, I have worked as a lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of Erfurt, where I completed a postdoctoral research project in Gothic Literature and Modernity in 2019. Both this project and my PhD have been published as books by Clemson University Press.

I became a tour guide in 2015 and I combine the vocations of lecturing and guiding wherever possible – for example, in teaching classes on the cinema of Weimar Berlin and how it reflects its historical and social context. As a guide, I love explaining the social, cultural, and political themes that echo throughout Berlin’s history. I am particularly interested in how this city became one of the epicenters of cosmopolitan modernity in the mid-nineteenth century and how the consequences of that upheaval have reverberated in myriad political, social, and cultural experiments throughout the 20th century to the present day.

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