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Area and Ethnic Studies > German Studies

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Adenauer's Foreign Office Cover

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Adenauer's Foreign Office

West German Diplomacy in the Shadow of the Third Reich

On March 15, 1951, some eighteen months after the creation of the Fed- eral Republic of Germany, a small ceremony took place to mark the official establishment of its Foreign Office.

An Aethetics of Narrative Performance Cover

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An Aethetics of Narrative Performance

Transnational Theater, Literature, and Film in Contemporary Germany

The contemporary moment has been described in terms of both a “narrative” and a “performative turn,” but the overlap between these two has largely escaped attention. This curious gap is explained by the ways in which scholars across the humanities have defined narrative and performance as opposite forces, emphasizing their respective affiliations with time vs. space and identity constitution vs. its undoing. Although the opposition has been acknowledged as false by many in this simple form, its shifting instantiations continue to shape the ways we make sense of the arts as well as society. Instead, An Aesthetics of Narrative Performance: Transnational Theater, Literature, and Film in Contemporary Germany by Claudia Breger maps the complexities of imaginative worldmaking in contemporary culture through an aesthetics of narrative performance: an ensemble of techniques exploring the interplay of rupture and recontextualization in the process of configuration. Interlacing diverging definitions of both narrative and performance, the study outlines two clusters of such techniques—scenic narration and narrative “presencing” in performance vs. forms of narrative theatricalization—and analyzes the cultural work they do in individual works in three different media: literature, film, and theater. These readings focus on the rich configurations of contemporary worldmaking “at location Germany.” In the discussed representations of German unification, contemporary cultures of migration, and the transnational War on Terror, the aesthetics of narrative performance finds its identity as a multifaceted imaginative response to the post/modern crisis of narrative authority.

Africa in Translation Cover

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Africa in Translation

A History of Colonial Linguistics in Germany and Beyond, 1814-1945

Sara Pugach

"Africa in Translation is a thoughtful contribution to the literature on colonialism and culture in Germany and will find readers in the fields of German history and German studies as well as appealing to audiences in the large and interdisciplinary fields of colonialism and postcolonialism." ---Jennifer Jenkins, University of Toronto The study of African languages in Germany, or Afrikanistik, originated among Protestant missionaries in the early nineteenth century and was incorporated into German universities after Germany entered the "Scramble for Africa" and became a colonial power in the 1880s. Despite its long history, few know about the German literature on African languages or the prominence of Germans in the discipline of African philology. In Africa in Translation: A History of Colonial Linguistics in Germany and Beyond, 1814--1945, Sara Pugach works to fill this gap, arguing that Afrikanistik was essential to the construction of racialist knowledge in Germany. While in other countries biological explanations of African difference were central to African studies, the German approach was essentially linguistic, linking language to culture and national identity. Pugach traces this linguistic focus back to the missionaries' belief that conversion could not occur unless the "Word" was allowed to touch a person's heart in his or her native language, as well as to the connection between German missionaries living in Africa and armchair linguists in places like Berlin and Hamburg. Over the years, this resulted in Afrikanistik scholars using language and culture rather than biology to categorize African ethnic and racial groups. Africa in Translation follows the history of Afrikanistik from its roots in the missionaries' practical linguistic concerns to its development as an academic subject in both Germany and South Africa throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Sara Pugach is Assistant Professor of History at California State University, Los Angeles. Jacket image: Perthes, Justus. Mittel und Süd-Afrika. Map. Courtesy of the University of Michigan's Stephen S. Clark Library map collection.

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After Testimony

The Ethics and Aesthetics of Holocaust Narrative for the Future

Edited by Jakob Lothe, Susan Rubin Suleiman, and James Phelan

After Testimony: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Holocaust Narrative for the Future collects sixteen essays written with the awareness that we are on the verge of a historical shift in our relation to the Third Reich’s programmatic genocide. Soon there will be no living survivors of the Holocaust, and therefore people not directly connected to the event must assume the full responsibility for representing it. The contributors believe that this shift has broad consequences for narratives of the Holocaust. By virtue of being “after” the accounts of survivors, storytellers must find their own ways of coming to terms with the historical reality that those testimonies have tried to communicate. The ethical and aesthetic dimensions of these stories will be especially crucial to their effectiveness. Guided by these principles and employing the tools of contemporary narrative theory, the contributors analyze a wide range of Holocaust narratives—fictional and nonfictional, literary and filmic—for the dual purpose of offering fresh insights and identifying issues and strategies likely to be significant in the future. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan, Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, Anniken Greve, Jeremy Hawthorn, Marianne Hirsch, Irene Kacandes, Phillipe Mesnard, J. Hillis Miller, Michael Rothberg, Beatrice Sandberg, Anette H. Storeide, Anne Thelle, and Janet Walker.

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After the Nazi Racial State

Difference and Democracy in Germany and Europe

Rita Chin, Heide Fehrenbach, Geoff Eley, and Atina Grossmann

After the Nazi Racial State offers a comprehensive, persuasive, and ambitious argument in favor of making 'race' a more central analytical category for the writing of post-1945 history. This is an extremely important project, and the volume indeed has the potential to reshape the field of post-1945 German history. ---Frank Biess, University of California, San Diego What happened to "race," race thinking, and racial distinctions in Germany, and Europe more broadly, after the demise of the Nazi racial state? This book investigates the afterlife of "race" since 1945 and challenges the long-dominant assumption among historians that it disappeared from public discourse and policy-making with the defeat of the Third Reich and its genocidal European empire. Drawing on case studies of Afro-Germans, Jews, and Turks---arguably the three most important minority communities in postwar Germany---the authors detail continuities and change across the 1945 divide and offer the beginnings of a history of race and racialization after Hitler. A final chapter moves beyond the German context to consider the postwar engagement with "race" in France, Britain, Sweden, and the Netherlands, where waves of postwar, postcolonial, and labor migration troubled nativist notions of national and European identity. After the Nazi Racial State poses interpretative questions for the historical understanding of postwar societies and democratic transformation, both in Germany and throughout Europe. It elucidates key analytical categories, historicizes current discourse, and demonstrates how contemporary debates about immigration and integration---and about just how much "difference" a democracy can accommodate---are implicated in a longer history of "race." This book explores why the concept of "race" became taboo as a tool for understanding German society after 1945. Most crucially, it suggests the social and epistemic consequences of this determined retreat from "race" for Germany and Europe as a whole. Rita Chin is Associate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Heide Fehrenbach is Presidential Research Professor at Northern Illinois University. Geoff Eley is Karl Pohrt Distinguished University Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Michigan. Atina Grossmann is Professor of History at Cooper Union. Cover illustration: Human eye, © Stockexpert.com.

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Architecture, Politics, and Identity in Divided Berlin

by Emily Pugh

On August 13, 1961, under the cover of darkness, East German authorities sealed the border between East and West Berlin using a hastily constructed barbed wire fence. Over the next twenty-eight years, the Berlin Wall served as an ever-present and seemingly permanent physical and psychological divider in this capital city, and between East and West during the Cold War. Similarly, stark polarities arose in nearly every aspect of public and private life, perhaps nowhere more apparent than in the built environment. In Architecture, Politics, and Identity in Divided Berlin, Emily Pugh provides an original comparative analysis of selected works of architecture and urban planning in East and West Berlin during the “Wall era,” to reveal the importance of these structures to the formation of political, cultural, and social identities. Pugh uncovers the roles played by organizations such as the Foundation for Prussian Cultural Heritage in West Germany and the East German Building Academy in conveying the preferred political narrative of their respective states through constructed spaces. She also provides an overview of architectural works prior to the Wall era, to show the precursors for design aesthetics in Berlin at large, and also considers projects in the post-Wall period, to demonstrate the ongoing effects of the Cold War. Pugh examines representations of architectural works in exhibits, film, journals, magazines, newspapers, and other media, and discusses the effectiveness of planners’ attempts to ‘win the hearts and minds’ of the public. Ideas of home, belonging, community, and nationalism were common underlying themes on both sides of the wall, and instrumental to the construction of cultural and physical landscapes. Overall, Architecture, Politics, and Identity in Divided Berlin offers a compelling case study of a divided city poised at the precipice between the world’s most dominant political and ideological forces, and the effort expended by each side to sway the tide of public opinion through the built environment.

Assassins and Conspirators Cover

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Assassins and Conspirators

Anarchism, Socialism, and Political Culture in Imperial Germany

Over the course of the German Empire the Social Democrats went from being a vilified and persecuted minority to becoming the largest party in the Reichstag, enjoying broad-based support. But this was not always the case. In the 1870s, government mouthpieces branded Social Democracy the “party of assassins and conspirators” and sought to excite popular fury against it. Over time, Social Democrats managed to refashion their public image in large part by contrasting themselves to anarchists, who came to represent a politics that went far beyond the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Social Democrats emphasized their overall commitment to peaceful change through parliamentary participation and a willingness to engage their political rivals. They condemned anarchist behavior—terrorism and other political violence specifically—and distanced themselves from the alleged anarchist personal characteristics of rashness, emotionalism, cowardice, and secrecy. Repeated public debate about the appropriate place of Socialism in German society, and its relationship to anarchist terrorism, helped Socialists and others, such as liberals, political Catholics, and national minorities, cement the principles of legal equality and a vigorous public sphere in German political culture.
 
Using a diverse array of primary sources from newspapers and political pamphlets to Reichstag speeches to police reports on anarchist and socialist activity, this book sets the history of Social Democracy within the context of public political debate about democracy, the rule of law, and the appropriate use of state power. Gabriel also places the history of German anarchism in the larger contexts of German history and the history of European socialism, where its importance has often been understated because of the movement’s small size and failure to create a long-term mass movement.
 

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Bacchus and Civic Order

The Culture of Drink in Early Modern Germany

Ann B. Tlusty

In Bacchus and Civic Order, Ann Tlusty examines the social and cultural functions served by drinking and tavern life in Germany between 1500 and 1700, and challenges existing theories about urban identity, sociability, and power. Through her reconstruction of the social history of Augsburg, from beggars to council members, Tlusty also sheds light on such diverse topics as social ritual, gender and household relations, medical practice, and the concerns of civic leaders with public health and poverty. Drunkenness, dueling, and other forms of tavern comportment that may appear "disorderly" to us today turn out to be the inevitable, even desirable result of a society functioning according to its own rules.

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Becoming a Nazi Town

Culture and Politics in Göttingen between the World Wars

David Imhoof

Becoming a Nazi Town reveals the ways in which ordinary Germans changed their cultural lives and their politics from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s. Casting the origins of Nazism in a new light, David Imhoof charts the process by which Weimar and Nazi culture flowed into each other. He analyzes this dramatic transition by looking closely at three examples of everyday cultural life in the mid-sized German city of Göttingen: sharpshooting, an opera festival, and cinema. Imhoof draws on individual and community experiences over a series of interwar periods to highlight and connect shifts in culture, politics, and everyday life. He demonstrates how Nazi leaders crafted cultural policies based in part on homegrown cultural practices of the 1920s and argues that overdrawn distinctions between “Weimar” and “Nazi” culture did not always conform to most Germans’ daily lives. Further, Imhoof presents experiences in Göttingen as a reflection of the common reality of many German towns beyond the capital city of Berlin.

Benjamin's Library Cover

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Benjamin's Library

Modernity, Nation, and the Baroque

In Benjamin's Library, Jane O. Newman offers, for the first time in any language, a reading of Walter Benjamin's notoriously opaque work, Origin of the German Tragic Drama that systematically attends to its place in discussions of the Baroque in Benjamin's day. Taking into account the literary and cultural contexts of Benjamin's work, Newman recovers Benjamin's relationship to the ideologically loaded readings of the literature and political theory of the seventeenth-century Baroque that abounded in Germany during the political and economic crises of the Weimar years.

To date, the significance of the Baroque for Origin of the German Tragic Drama has been glossed over by students of Benjamin, most of whom have neither read it in this context nor engaged with the often incongruous debates about the period that filled both academic and popular texts in the years leading up to and following World War I. Armed with extraordinary historical, bibliographical, philological, and orthographic research, Newman shows the extent to which Benjamin participated in these debates by reconstructing the literal and figurative history of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century books that Benjamin analyzes and the literary, art historical and art theoretical, and political theological discussions of the Baroque with which he was familiar. In so doing, she challenges the exceptionalist, even hagiographic, approaches that have become common in Benjamin studies. The result is a deeply learned book that will infuse much-needed life into the study of one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century.

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