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“Who Wants to Be Sad Over and Over Again?”

Emotion Ideologies in Contemporary German Education about the Holocaust

Lisa Jenny Krieg

Keywords: emotion; Germany; Holocaust education; Holocaust memorial culture; memory; practice

Based on an ethnographic field study in Cologne, this article discusses the connection between memory practices and emotion ideologies in Holocaust education, using Sara Ahmed’s concept of affective economies. Moral goals, political demands, and educators’ care for their students lead to tensions in the education process. Two case studies illustrate how educators and learners express different, often contradictory concepts of emotion. In these studies, emotions are selectively opposed to rationality. In some contexts, emotions are considered inferior to facts and obstacles to the learning process; in others, they are superior to facts because they can communicate moral messages reliably.

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