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Colonialism, Antisemitism, and Germans of Jewish Descent in Imperial Germany Cover

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Colonialism, Antisemitism, and Germans of Jewish Descent in Imperial Germany

Christian Davis

Colonialism, Antisemitism, and Germans of Jewish Descent in Imperial Germany examines the relationship between the colonial and antisemitic movements of modern Germany from 1871 to 1918, examining the complicated ways in which German antisemitism and colonialism fed off of and into each other in the decades before the First World War. Author Christian S. Davis studies the significant involvement with and investment in German colonialism by the major antisemitic political parties and extra-parliamentary organizations of the day, while also investigating the prominent participation in the colonial movement of Jews and Germans of Jewish descent and their tense relationship with procolonial antisemites. Working from the premise that the rise and propagation of racial antisemitism in late-nineteenth-century Germany cannot be separated from the context of colonial empire, Colonialism, Antisemitism, and Germans of Jewish Descent in Imperial Germany is the first work to study the dynamic and evolving interrelationship of the colonial and antisemitic movements of the Kaiserreich era. It shows how individuals and organizations who originated what would later become the ideological core of National Socialism---racial antisemitism---both influenced and perceived the development of a German colonial empire predicated on racial subjugation. It also examines how colonialism affected the contemporaneous German antisemitic movement, dividing it over whether participation in the nationalist project of empire building could furnish patriotic credentials to even Germans of Jewish descent. The book builds upon the recent upsurge of interest among historians of modern Germany in the domestic impact and character of German colonialism, and on the continuing fascination with the racialization of the German sense of self that became so important to German history in the twentieth century.

Consumption and Violence Cover

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Consumption and Violence

Radical Protest in Cold-War West Germany

Alexander Sedlmaier

Contested Rituals Cover

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Contested Rituals

Circumcision, Kosher Butchering, and Jewish Political Life in Germany, 1843–1933

In Contested Rituals, Robin Judd shows that circumcision and kosher butchering became focal points of political struggle among the German state, its municipal governments, Jews, and Gentiles. In 1843, some German-Jewish fathers refused to circumcise their sons, prompting their Jewish communities to reconsider their standards for membership. Nearly a century later, in 1933, another blood ritual, kosher butchering, served as a political and cultural touchstone when the Nazis built upon a decades-old controversy concerning the practice and prohibited it.

In describing these events and related controversies that raged during the intervening years, Judd explores the nature and escalation of the ritual debates as they transcended the boundaries of the local Jewish community to include non-Jews who sought to protect, restrict, or prohibit these rites. Judd argues that the ritual debates grew out of broad shifts in German politics: the competition between local and regional authority following unification, the possibility of government intervention in private affairs, the place of religious difference in the modern age, and the relationship of the German state to its religious and ethnic minorities, including Catholics. Anti-Semitism was only one factor driving the debates and it often functioned in unexpected ways. Judd gives us a new understanding of the formation of German political systems, the importance of religious practices to Jewish political leadership, the interaction of Jews with the German government, and the reaction of Germans of all faiths to political change.

Corrigible and the Incorrigible Cover

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Corrigible and the Incorrigible

Science, Medicine, and the Convict in Twentieth-Century Germany

By Greg Eghigian

The Corrigible and the Incorrigible explores the surprising history of efforts aimed at rehabilitating convicts in twentieth-century Germany, efforts founded not out of an unbridled optimism about the capacity of people to change, but arising from a chronic anxiety about the potential threats posed by others. Since the 1970s, criminal justice systems on both sides of the Atlantic have increasingly emphasized security, surveillance, and atonement, an approach that contrasts with earlier efforts aimed at scientifically understanding, therapeutically correcting, and socially reintegrating convicts. And while a distinction is often drawn between American and European ways of punishment, the contrast reinforces the longstanding impression that modern punishment has played out as a choice between punitive retribution and correctional rehabilitation. Focusing on developments in Nazi, East, and West Germany, The Corrigible and the Incorrigible shows that rehabilitation was considered an extension of, rather than a counterweight to, the hardline emphasis on punishment and security by providing the means to divide those incarcerated into those capable of reform and the irredeemable.

Cosmopolitical Claims Cover

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Cosmopolitical Claims

Turkish-German Literatures from Nadolny to Pamuk

When both France and Holland rejected the proposed constitution for the European Union in 2005, the votes reflected popular anxieties about the entry of Turkey into the European Union as much as they did ambivalence over ceding national sovereignty. Indeed, the votes in France and Holland echoed long standing tensions between Europe and Turkey. If there was any question that tensions were high, the explosive reaction of Europe’s Muslim population to a series of cartoons of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper put them to rest. Cosmopolitical Claims is a profoundly original study of the works of Sten Nadonly, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, Feridun Zaimoglu, and 2006 Nobel prize in literature recipient Orhan Pamuk. Rather than using the proverbial hyphen in “Turkish-German” to indicate a culture caught between two nations, Venkat Mani is interested in how Turkish-German literature engages in a scrutiny of German and Turkish national identity.
    Moving deftly from the theoretical literature to the texts themselves, Mani’s groundbreaking study explores these conflicts and dialogues and the resulting cultural hybridization as they are expressed in four novels that document the complexity of Turkish-German cultural interactions in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. His innovative readings will engage students of contemporary German literature as well as illuminate the discussion of minority literature in a multicultural setting.
    As Salman Rushdie said in the 2002 Tanner Lecture at Yale, “The frontier is an elusive line, visible and invisible, physical and metaphorical, amoral and moral. . . . To cross a frontier is to be transformed.” It is in this vein that Mani’s dynamic and subtle work posits a still evolving discourse between Turkish and German writers.

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Crowns, Crosses, and Stars

My Youth in Prussia, Surviving Hitler, and a Life Beyond

by Sybille Sarah Niemoeller, Baroness von Sell

This is the story of a remarkable life and a journey, from the privileged world of Prussian aristocracy, through the horrors of World War II, to high society in the television age of postwar America. It is also an account of a spiritual voyage, from a conventional Christian upbringing, through marriage to Pastor Martin Niemoeller, to conversion to Judaism. Born during the turbulent days of the Weimar Republic, the author was the goddaughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II (to whom her father was financial advisor). During her teenage years, she witnessed the rise of the Third Reich and her family’s resistance to it, culminating in their involvement in “Operation Valkyrie,” the ill-fated attempt to assassinate Hitler and form a new government. At war’s end, she worked with British Intelligence to uncover Nazis leaders. Keeping a promise to her father, she left Germany for a new life in the United States in the 1950s, working for NBC and raising her son in the exciting world of New York, only to return to Germany as the wife of Martin Niemoeller, the voice of religious resistance during the Third Reich and of German guilt and conscience in the postwar decades. Upon her husband's death in 1984 she returned to America, after having converted to Judaism in London, and turned yet another page by becoming an active public speaker and author. The title reflects a story of three parts: “Crowns,” the world of nobility in which the author was raised; “Crosses,” her life with Martin Niemoeller and his battles with the Third Reich; and “Stars,” the spiritual journey that brought her to Judaism.

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Culture in the Anteroom

The Legacies of Siegfried Kracauer

Johannes von Moltke

Culture in the Anteroom introduces an English-speaking readership to the full range of Siegfried Kracauer's work as novelist, architect, journalist, sociologist, historian, exile critic, and theorist of visual culture. This interdisciplinary anthology---including pieces from Miriam Bratu Hansen, Andreas Huyssen, Noah Isenberg, Lutz Koepnick, Eric Rentschler, and Heide Schlüpmann---brings together literary and film scholars, historians and art historians, sociologists, and architects to address the scope and current relevance of a body of work dedicated to investigating all aspects of modernism and modernity. The contributors approach Kracauer's writings from a variety of angles, some by placing them in dialogue with his contemporaries in Weimar Germany and the New York Intellectuals of the 1940s and '50s; others by exploring relatively unknown facets of Kracauer's oeuvre by considering his contributions to architectural history, the history of radio as well as other new media, and museum and exhibition culture.

A Culture of Light Cover

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A Culture of Light

Cinema and Technology in 1920s Germany

Frances Guerin

Cinema is a medium of light. And during Weimar Germany's advance to technological modernity, light - particularly the representational possibilities of electrical light - became the link between the cinema screen and the rapid changes that were transforming German life.In Frances Guerin's compelling history of German silent cinema of the 1920s, the innovative use of light is the pivot around which a new conception of a national cinema, and a national culture emerges. Guerin depicts a nocturnal Germany suffused with light - electric billboards, storefronts, police searchlights - and shows how this element of the mise-en-scene came to reflect both the opportunities and the anxieties surrounding modernity and democracy. Guerin's interpretations center on use of light in films such as Schatten (1923), Variete (1925), Metropolis (1926), and Der Golem (1920). In these films we see how light is the substance of image composition, the structuring device of the narrative, and the central thematic concern. This history relieves German films of the responsibility to explain the political and ideological instability of the period, an instability said to be the uncertain foundation of Nazism. In unlocking this dubious link, A Culture of Light redefines the field of German film scholarship.

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Defenders of Fortress Europe

The Untold Story of the German Officers during the Allied Invasion

SAMUEL MITCHAM

The year 1944 bore witness to the fifth long year of World War II. Death rained from the skies of Germany, her cities were ablaze or in rubble, the extermination camps operated with cold-blooded efficiency, and the Eastern Front’s guns roared day and night. Hardly a German family had not lost a loved one. Most terribly, the Russian Front’s floodgates creaked ominously. If they gave way, the Red Army would engulf the eastern marshlands—and perhaps the entire Fatherland—in a flood of barbarism not seen since the Dark Ages. Yet, as the Wehrmacht retreated, Germans still had hope. If the men of the Western Front could repulse the great invasion, dozens of units—including panzer divisions, SS regiments, and paratrooper formations—would arrive to thwart the Red advance. German scientists needed at least another year to develop their “wonder weapons,” such as V-2 rockets, submarines, jet airplanes, and perhaps even an atomic bomb. Everything depended on the Western Front’s warlords. Defenders of Fortress Europe introduces the men who had once believed they would conquer the world. By 1944, however, they were trying to throw the Allies back into the sea or just check them before they could reach Germany. The Fatherland’s defense was in the hands of Nazis, non-Nazis, and anti-Nazis; professional soldiers and professional troublemakers; heroes, murderers, and war criminals; the efficient geniuses and the incompetent; the famous, the infamous, and the unknown; soldiers, sailors, SS men, and air force officers—all men who fought out of fanaticism, courage, personal ambition, a sense of honor, duty, love of country, misplaced patriotism, or, simply, habit.

Demonic History Cover

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Demonic History

From Goethe to the Present

In this ambitious book, Kirk Wetters traces the genealogy of the demonic in German literature from its imbrications in Goethe to its varying legacies in the work of essential authors, both canonical and less well known, such as Gundolf, Spengler, Benjamin, Lukács, and Doderer. Wetters focuses especially on the philological and metaphorological resonances of the demonic from its core formations through its appropriations in the tumultuous twentieth century.

Propelled by equal parts theoretical and historical acumen, Wetters explores the ways in which the question of the demonic has been employed to multiple theoretical, literary, and historico-political ends. He thereby produces an intellectual history that will be consequential both to scholars of German literature and to comparatists.

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