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Introduction

Cultural Heritages and Their Transmission

Elizabeth C. Macknight

This Spring 2021 issue of Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques is about cultural heritages and their transmission, focusing on the period from the middle of the eighteenth century to the present. An important stimulus for the creation of the issue was the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH) in 2018. There were four main themes for the EYCH: protection, engagement, sustainability, and innovation. National coordinators and local organizers of events and initiatives across the continent adopted the unifying slogan “Our Heritage. Where the past meets the future.” The articles brought together here serve as an invitation to readers to continue reflecting on subjects and questions that were at the heart of planning for and supporting public participation in EYCH 2018. The European Year of Cultural Heritage provided myriad opportunities to discover the roles played by individuals and groups in the preservation and valorization of natural sites and landscapes, public monuments, cultural institutions, artifacts, digital resources, and intangible cultural heritage. It highlighted educational initiatives to raise awareness of multiple, diverse cultural heritages within communities and to promote intercultural dialogue. It pushed governments and nongovernmental organizations to address matters of financial investment, legal accountability, partnership management, and the shaping of policies on conservation and ownership rights. It challenged professional historians as well as archivists, librarians, archeologists, conservators, and curators to think hard about widening access and about ways of integrating local, national, and international perspectives when communicating with audiences about surviving traces of the past.

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Introduction

Innocence and the Politics of Memory

Jonathan Bach and Benjamin Nienass

Innocence is central to German memory politics; indeed, one can say that the German memory landscape is saturated with claims of innocence. The Great War is commonly portrayed as a loss of innocence, while the Nazis sought, in their way, to reclaim that innocence by proclaiming Germany as the innocent victim. After World War II, denazification and courts established administrative and legal boundaries within which claims of innocence could be formulated and adjudicated, while the “zero hour” and “economic miracle” established a basis for a different form of reclaiming innocence, one roundly critiqued by Theodor W. Adorno in his essay “What Does Coming to Terms with the Past Mean?” In the 1980s, Chancellor Helmut Kohl's famous pronouncement of the “grace [Gnade] of a late birth” (also translatable as “mercy,” “pardon,” or “blessing”) became the touchstone for a resurgence of war children's (Kriegskinder) memory. In the 1990s, the myth of the Wehrmacht as largely innocent of atrocities was publicly challenged. Today, right-wing critiques that cast Holocaust remembrance as a politics of shame draw upon tropes of innocence, of German air war victims and post-war generations, while right-wing images of migrants are cast in classic forms of threats to the purity of the “national body” (Volkskörper). The quickening pace of contemporary debates over Germany's colonial past pointedly questions the innocence of today's beneficiaries of colonialism, drawing attention to the borders and contours of implication.

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Manufacturing Labor Discipline

Apprenticeship, Asymmetrical Knowledge, and Large-Scale Production in Britain and France, 1750–1820

Leonard N. Rosenband

Abstract

Josiah Wedgwood, the Montgolfier family, and Samuel Bentham were leading producers during the early industrial era. A pottery manufacturer, a family of papermakers, and the Inspector-General of Britain's Naval Works, they all occupied the highest perch in their fields. This article considers the efforts by these eminent figures to control the exercise and reproduction of skill in their shops. It examines their attempts to build internal labor markets and blend carefully trained, home-grown hands with novel systems of work discipline and fresh technologies. In doing so, this article assesses the success and limits of the entrepreneurial trio's designs in the coming of mechanized production.

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Muslim Notables, French Colonial Officials, and the Washers of the Dead

Women and Gender Politics in Colonial Algeria

Augustin Jomier

Abstract

For many decades, scholars of gender and women's history in the Middle East and North Africa have challenged prevailing visions of an unchanged patriarchy, showing how patriarchy was transformed in relation to colonialism, and how some women struggled against it. To the contrary, this article aims to challenge our understanding of women's agency, taking Mzab as a case study. It explores the ways in which women of this Berber speaking region, inhabited by Ibadi Muslims and conquered by the French in 1882, contributed to the colonial reinforcement of male domination. Reading together works of ethnography, colonial administrative files, legal disputes, and Arabic-language newspapers, this article shows that, together with the colonial legal framework, other informal legal discourses and institutions shaped women's condition. Down the road, forms of patriarchy and notions of gender shifted.

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Eloise Grey

Abstract

This article takes a history of emotions approach to Scottish illegitimacy in the context of imperial sojourning in the early nineteenth century. Using the archives of a lower-gentry family from Northeast Scotland, it examines the ways in which emotional regimes of the East India Company and Aberdeenshire gentry intersected with the sexual and domestic lives of native Indian women, Scottish farm servant women, and young Scottish bachelors in India. Children of these relationships, White and mixed-race, were the focus of these emotional regimes. The article shows that emotional regimes connected to illegitimacy are a way of looking at the Scottish history of empire.

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Politics, Patronage, and Diplomacy

A New Perspective on C. K. J. Bunsen (1791–1860)

Lorraine Macknight

Abstract

When a hymnbook is placed outside its more expected hymnological environment and put in a wider contextual framework, particularly a political one with significant diplomatic aspects, a better appreciation is gained of the hymnbook and the circumstances of its compilation. Critically, the complexity and progressive transparency of hymn transmission from one country to another is also revealed. This article focuses on Prussian diplomat Christian Karl Josias von Bunsen and his Gesang-und Gebetbuchs (1833). A primary source for several translators, notably Catherine Winkworth (1827–1878), the hymnbook directly affected the movement of many hymns from Germany to England, Scotland, and Australia.

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Florian Helfer

Abstract

This article examines the evolution of textbook representations of colonialism in two North Rhine-Westphalian textbook series for the Sekundarstufe II since 1989. On the one hand, the article shows that the developing post-colonial discourse in the German public debate had a particularly strong impact on schoolbooks in the mid-2000s. Textbooks reacted quickly to changes in the public debate and have increasingly attempted to deconstruct colonial narratives. However, implicit mental conceptions of African “backwardness” continue to exert some influence even on today's textbook generation. On the other hand, the article identifies the distortions that appear when colonialism as a global phenomenon is discussed within a curricular framework that focuses on national and European history. Because of the close curricular link between High Imperialism and World War I, textbooks strongly focus on the global rivalry of the European powers, whereas other aspects of colonialism come up short.

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Symbol of Reconciliation and Far-Right Stronghold?

PEGIDA, AfD, and Memory Culture in Dresden

Susanne Vees-Gulani

Abstract

In the eastern German city of Dresden, populist and nativist far-right groups, such as the homegrown pegida and the AfD, enjoy particularly robust support among the population, even though Dresden is presented as a symbol of peace and reconciliation. Many residents base their personal and social identity on Dresden's long-established narrative as an iconic baroque city that suffered an unparalleled loss and victimization in the 1945 Allied bombings, prior to its post-reunification revival. However, this narrative includes a blind spot about the Nazi context of the destruction, opening it up to various political appropriations from the gdr era to today. I suggest that the strength of the far right in Dresden is caused by a seamless linking of Dresden's perception as a victim due to cultural losses and the far right's fear of losing a unique German identity and homeland. As examples, I analyze discourse patterns of remembrance during the bombing anniversaries in 2015 and 2020.

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Tailoring Truth

Memory Construction and Whitewashing the Nazi Past from Below

Mikkel Dack

Abstract

As part of the post-war denazification campaign, as many as 20 million Germans were screened for employment by Allied armies. Applicants were ordered to fill out political questionnaires (Fragebögen) and allowed to justify their membership in Nazi organizations in appended statements. This mandatory act of self-reflection has led to the accumulation of a massive archival repository, likely the largest collection of autobiographical writings about the Third Reich. This article interprets individual and family stories recorded in denazification documents and provides insight into how Germans chose to remember and internalize the National Socialist years. The Fragebogen allowed and even encouraged millions of respondents to rewrite their personal histories and to construct whitewashed identities and accompanying narratives to secure employment. Germans embraced the unique opportunity to cast themselves as resisters and victims of the Nazi regime. These identities remained with them after the dissolution of the denazification project and were carried forward into the post-occupation period.

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Amy Kallander

Abstract

This article examines love as a facet of nation building in constructions of modern womanhood and national identity in the 1950s and 1960s. In Tunisia and France, romantic love was evoked to define an urban, middle-class modernity in which the gender norms implicit in companionate marriage signaled a break with the past. These ideals were represented in fiction and women's magazines and elaborated in the novel genre of the advice column. Yet this celebration was interrupted by concern about “mixed marriage” and the rise of anti-immigrant discrimination targeting North Africans in France. Referring to race or religion, debates about interracial marriage in Tunisia and the sexual stereotyping of North African men in France reveal the continuity of colonialism's racial legacies upon postcolonial states. The idealization of marital choice as a testament to individual and national modernity was destabilized by transnational intimacies revealing the limits of the nation-state's liberatory promise to women.