Abstract

Abstract:

This article analyzes the making of a novel consciousness of historicity in Germany around 1800, one that regarded mountains as vaults of a shared and palpable past. Revisiting a paleontological debate about the origin of large mammal bones found in caves, it reads the science of Johann Christian Rosenmüller (1771–1820) as a social and political accomplishment. By attributing the fossils to an indigenous "cave bear," and communicating an elite scientific debate to a lay audience, Rosenmüller presented an account of Germany's primordial past that fed seamlessly into its present, nurturing an idea of nationhood grounded in the (sub)soil.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3222
Print ISSN
0022-5037
Pages
pp. 231-256
Launched on MUSE
2021-05-04
Open Access
No
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