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Germany's Colonial Pasts

Eric Ames

Publication Year: 2005

Germany’s Colonial Pasts is a wide-ranging study of German colonialism and its legacies. Inspired by Susanne Zantop’s landmark book Colonial Fantasies, and extending her analyses there, this volume offers new research by scholars from Europe, Africa, and the United States. It also commemorates Zantop’s distinguished life and career (1945–2001).
Some essays in this volume focus on Germany’s formal colonial empire in Africa and the Pacific between 1884 and 1914, while others present material from earlier or later periods such as German emigration before 1884 and colonial discourse in German-ruled Polish lands. Several essays examine Germany’s postcolonial era, a complex period that includes the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany with its renewed colonial obsessions, and the post-1945 era. Particular areas of emphasis include the relationship of anti-Semitism to colonial racism; respectability, sexuality, and cultural hierarchies in the formal empire; Nazi representations of colonialism; and contemporary perceptions of race. The volume’s disciplinary reach extends to musicology, religious studies, film, and tourism studies as well as literary analysis and history. These essays demonstrate why modern Germany must confront its colonial and postcolonial pasts, and how those pasts continue to shape the German cultural imagination.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Series: Texts and Contexts


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

In my series Texts and Contexts I have published a number of distinguished books over the past decade, their subjects ranging from European and Jewish culture to human psychology. Never have I felt compelled to write a foreword to...

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pp. xi

This project began as a workshop, organized by Susanne Zantop over the summer of 2000, that was to bring together a number of scholars who were currently working on German colonial history and literature. The goal was to offer...

Part 1: Identifications of Self and Other

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Colonialism and the Culture of Respectability

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pp. 3-20

In recent years a new generation of scholars has taken up the subject of German colonialism. Their work has been distinguished by the adoption of a variety of novel interpretive approaches and research directions. The contributions...

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Inventing the Auslandsdeutsche Emigration, Colonial Fantasy, and German National Identity, 1848-71

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pp. 21-40

The study of German national identity has rarely strayed far from the familiar geographic confines of central Europe, just as the study of German colonialism has tended to stay within the formal period of overseas imperial rule...

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The Colonialist Beginnings of Comparative Musicology

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pp. 41-60

In 1895 the Pacific enthusiast Arthur Baessler lamented that Samoan song and dance were already overly influenced by Germans whom the islanders had "too often heard singing." He would rather watch the old sivas than the...

Part 2: Orders of Colonial Regulation: Sex and Violence

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Race, Gender, and Sexuality in German Southwest Africa

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pp. 63-75

In the introduction to Das Deutsche Südwester Buch (The German Southwest African book), Hans Grimm constructed his own narrative of German Southwest Africa's history from the days of its earliest German settlement to the time of the book's publication in 1929.1 Bitter about the loss of the German colonies...

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Constructing Racial Difference in Colonial Poland

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pp. 76-96

In Clara Viebig's 1904 novel Das schlafende Heer (The sleeping army), the protagonist Peter Bräuer has received a parcel of land in the Prussian province of Posen (Pozna´n) from Bismarck's Royal Prussian Colonization Commission. Standing in the scorching sun, he is surrounded by a seemingly endless ocean...

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Colonization and Modernization

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pp. 97-112

While colonization — that is, the domination of foreign countries by force — has existed in all historical periods, the European colonization of overseas countries that started in the sixteenth century and culminated in the nineteenth...

Part 3: Colonial Racism and Antisemitism

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What Does German Colonialism Have to Do with National Socialism?

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pp. 115-134

What does German colonialism have to do with National Socialism? To date this has been perhaps the most challenging question for much of the historical research on German colonialism. At stake, more often implicitly than explicitly...

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The Weimar Republic

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pp. 135-147

Postcolonial studies is generally understood as a history and theorization of the oppressed. It focuses on the places and peoples who were on the receiving end of the colonial stick, and it generally traces their struggles to develop...

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Theology as a Vision for Colonialism

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pp. 148-164

The relationship between German colonialism and the German Protestant church has only recently begun to be investigated by historians and theologians. 1 How the Christian message was altered to encourage the formation...

Part 4: Nazi Visions of Africa

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Race Power in Postcolonial Germany

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pp. 167-188

While the marked effect of empire on British society and politics is well established, the long-term impact of overseas colonization on Germany is still generally deemed insignificant. The notion that colonialism was inconsequential...

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Marching in Step

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pp. 189-202

"While the mode of imperialism as a policy is economic, its historical energy is profoundly cultural," writes Bill Ashcroft.1 One of the most powerful means for injecting cultural energy into imperial policies consists of fantasies encouraged....

Part 5: Colonial Legacies: The Racialized Self

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Autobiographical Accounts of Kenyan-German Marriages

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pp. 205-226

Since the late 1960s Germans have been traveling to Kenya in ever-increasing numbers. Visa requirements were lifted for Germans in the early 1980s, which made travel to Kenya significantly easier, and by the mid-1990s German tourists outnumbered British tourists; on average they spent a longer period...

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Autobiographies of Blackness in Germany

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pp. 227-240

This essay analyzes the discovery of race in two autobiographies, with particular focus on what is perhaps the greatest consequence of that discovery: the subject must approach himself and his world from the outside. Each of these testimonies — Hans Jürgen Massaquoi's Destined to Witness: Growing...


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pp. 241-242


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pp. 243-255

E-ISBN-13: 9780803251199
E-ISBN-10: 080325119X

Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Texts and Contexts