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Eighteenth-Century Studies 35.4 (2002) 625-634

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Book Review

German Studies Go Postcolonial

Oliver Lubrich,
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Rex Clark,
University of Kansas, Lawrence

Horst Gründer, ed. " . . . da und dort ein junges Deutschland gründen": Rassismus, Kolonien und kolonialer Gedanke vom 16. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert (München: dtv, 1999). Pp. 387. 17.38 paper.
Karl Kohut, Dietrich Briesemeister, Gustav Siebenmann, eds. Deutsche in Lateinamerika-Lateinamerika in Deutschland (Frankfurt: Vervuert, 1996). Pp. 449. 34.80 paper.
Sigrid Bauschinger and Susan L. Cocalis, eds. "Neue Welt"—"Dritte Welt": Interkulturelle Beziehungen Deutschlands zu Lateinamerika und der Karibik (Tübingen/Basel: Francke, 1994). Pp. 267. 42.00 paper.
Sara Friedrichsmeyer, Sara Lennox, and Susanne Zantop, eds. The Imperialist Imagination: German Colonialism and Its Legacy (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998). Pp. 370. $26.95 paper.
Susanne Zantop. Colonial Fantasies: Conquest, Family, and Nation in Precolonial Germany, 1770-1870 (Durham/London: Duke University Press, 1997). Pp. 294. $19.95 paper. [End Page 625]
Susanne M. Zantop. Kolonialphantasien im vorkolonialen Deutschland (1770-1870) (Berlin: Erich Schmidt, 1999). Pp. 314. e 46.80 paper.
Paul Michael Lützeler, ed. Der postkoloniale Blick (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1997). Pp. 300. e 11.50 paper.
Paul Michael Lützeler, ed. Schriftsteller und "Dritte Welt". Studien zum postkolonialen Blick (Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 1998). Pp. 305. e 40.30 paper.
Hans Christoph Buch. Die Nähe und die Ferne. Bausteine zu einer Poetik des kolonialen Blicks (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1991). Pp. 142. e 5.00 paper.
Russell A. Berman. Englightenment or Empire: Colonial Discourse in German Culture (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998). Pp. 270. $55.00 cloth.
Ottmar Ette and Walther L. Bernecker, eds. Ansichten Amerikas. Neuere Studien zu Alexander von Humboldt (Frankfurt: Vervuert, 2001). Pp. 272. e 29.80 paper.
Ottmar Ette, Literatur in Bewegung. Raum und Dynamik grenzüberschreitenden Schreibens in Europa und Amerika (Weilerswist: Velbrück, 2001). Pp. 575. e 64.50 cloth.
Ottmar Ette, Ute Hermanns, Bernd M. Scherer, and Christian Suckow, eds. Alexander von Humboldt-Aufbruch in die Moderne (Berlin: Akademie, 2001). Pp. 299. e 74.80 cloth.
Horst Fiedler and Ulrike Leitner. Alexander von Humboldts Schriften. Bibliographie der selbständig erschienenen Werke (Berlin: Akademie, 2000). Pp. 499. e 118.00 cloth.
Frank Holl, ed. Alexander von Humboldt-Netzwerke des Wissens. Exhibition Catalogue (Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz, 1999). Pp. 238 Cloth.

Mapping The Field

Ten years ago questions on German colonial history or issues of colonial discourse in German culture would have elicited puzzlement and blank looks from scholars in the field of Germanistik. In recent years, scholars have increasingly become interested in Germany's colonial history and a number of new publications deal with colonial discourse in German culture. Many of them bring questions of postcolonial theory to the field of Germanistik. Now it is no exaggeration to say that German Studies are going postcolonial, even to the point where the introductions to the edited volumes by Paul Michael Lützeler and the collection by Sara Friedrichsmeyer, Sara Lennox, and Susanne Zantop sketch a short history of the field. Eighteenth-century travel literature and "enlightened" discourse play a particularly important role in this context.

One immediate question looms large to anyone familiar with the main outlines of European colonial expansion. What is the record of German colonialism and how has that been transmitted and interpreted? The historian's answer is [End Page 626] given by Horst Gründer in " . . . da und dort ein junges Deutschland gründen" ("Founding a little Germany here and there . . . ") with a collection of short documents on German colonialism: contracts, letters, declarations, decrees, autobiographical statements, advertisements, political propaganda, memoranda, public speeches, telegrams, articles, etc., many of them previously unpublished. Gründer puts these texts into chronological order, dividing some 135 pieces into seven chapters, adding concise introductions, some explanatory footnotes and helpful commentaries. While beginning with a contract with the Spanish crown for a private colony by German speculators in 1528 and including the liberal manifestos of the generation of 1848, most of the volume concentrates on the post-1884 period of official state colonial activities. The extremes of...


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