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302 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 nineteenth-century novel Venus in Furs and the role of fur in sexualized exchanges found in G.W. Pabst's German film The Joyless Street of 1925 combine sophisticated psychoanalytic readings of fur and sexuality with politically grounded observations about commodification and the subjugation of women. This work is somewhat marred by Emberley's tendency to want to do many other things that do not add to her project. The chapters on the history of fashion as an instrument of social stratification in medieval and Renaissance Europe and the relationship of artistic depictions of fur garments to the history of art and engraving could easily have been condensed, since Emberley's points here about the relationship of fashion to commodification and class stratification are relatively easy to make. The large number of digressions mean that Emberley's discussion in chapter 6 of Inuit fur fashions and the photographs of Dorothy Chocolate must be relatively brief. This is a problem, since Emberley stresses the eliding of Inuit women's work in fur early on and presumably does not wish to repeat the same tendency. . The Cultural Politics of Fur is a sophisticated attempt to look at nonessentialist connections between feminism and identity politics to see how questions of fashion and its representations should be connected to materialist analyses of commodification and imperialist economy. With a less ambitious scope, however, this study could have followed through some of its more intriguing readings in order to discuss how imperialism and the idea of commodity could reply to the problem of feminist agency within imperialist discourse which Emberley raises. (JULIE RAK) Angelika E. Sauer and Matthias Zimmer, editors. . A Chorus of Different Voices: German-Canadian Identities American University Studies, Series 10, History, I&). Peter Lang. x, 244. us $44ยท95 This volume of thirteen essays - all of them in English and almost exclusively by Canadians - marks the auspicious beginning of a new phase in German-Canadian studies, and the editors deserve ample praise for their initiative. For too long this field has been cultivated and managed mainly by Germanists whose academic expertise concerned the literature, culture and/or history of Germany and who found it in their own interest to celebrate the contributions of Germans within the Canadian mosaic. They took the existence of a German-Canadian ethnic group with a distinct culture for granted and published the results of their research mostly in German, thereby addressing either an audience in Europe Of, at best, a rather limited one within Canada. The volume's title and subtitle suggest a conscious attempt to break with this tradition, and this is done in two HUMANITIES 303 ways: by refusing to ascribe to 'German-Canadians' a singular, monocultural group identity and by opening up the formerly narrow scope of inquiry to experts rooted in other fields, bringing research closer to the methodological developments of mainstream Canadian etlmic studies. Indubitably the three most important and trend-setting contributions are those of the two coeditors which open and close the discussion on GermanCanadian identity as well as the general analysis of identity, and by extension identity politics, by D. Haselbach. Drawing on Hegel and Max Weber, he argues that identification invariably implies exclusion and that ethnic identity is a 'construction in accordance with a particular social and political situation in a particular place.' He points at the reification of identity 'into an objective quality beyond the control of the individual' as an inherent danger of identity politics. In this context he raises some important general questions: if certain groups within society are made the object of research, the danger of reification increases and with it the possibility that the politics of identity'get intertwined with the problem of vested interest.' M. Zimmer demonstrates why it is misleading to speak of GermanCanadians as a homogenous group with a distinct identity. The group label refers to a 'very broadly defined commonality in acculturation' which glosses over greater differences that separate them in favour of the similarities they share. Since the notionof'GermalU1ess' as the essential quality that would define a German is already vague and problernaticf the concept of a distinct German-Canadian identity must be even...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 302-304
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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