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Klaus Neumann

Following the surge of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd’s murder on 25 May 2020, memorials in remembrance of individuals implicated in colonialism or slavery have come under increasing attack. This article discusses and contextualizes challenges in 2020 to the memorialization of Otto von Bismarck (1815–1898) and Emily Ruete née Salama bint Said (1844–1924) in Hamburg, where the legacy of the German colonial past is particularly palpable. The article argues that proposed solutions—be it the demolition of the city’s main Bismarck monument, its restoration and the erection of a counter-memorial adjacent to it, or the un-naming of a street named after Ruete—potentially erase the complexities and contradictions of the lives of historical actors, are often informed by a desire to quarantine the past, and, just as often, fail to engage with its continuation in the present.

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Thomas Klikauer, Norman Simms, Marcus Colla, Nicolas Wittstock, Matthew Specter, Kate R. Stanton, John Bendix, and Bernd Schaefer

Heinrich Detering, Was heißt hier “wir”? Zur Rhetorik der parlamentarischen Rechten (Dietzingen: Reclam Press, 2019).

Clare Copley, Nazi Buildings: Cold War Traces and Governmentality in Post-Unification Berlin (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020).

Tobias Schulze-Cleven and Sidney A. Rothstein, eds., Imbalance: Germany’s Political Economy after the Social Democratic Century (Abingdon: Routledge, 2021).

Benedikt Schoenborn, Reconciliation Road: Willy Brandt, Ostpolitik and the Quest for European Peace (New York: Berghahn Books, 2020).

Tiffany N. Florvil, Mobilizing Black Germany: Afro-German Women and the Making of a Transnational Movement (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2020).

Ingo Cornils, Beyond Tomorrow: German Science Fiction and Utopian Thought in the 20th and 21st Centuries (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2020).

Christian F. Ostermann, Between Containment and Rollback: The United States and the Cold War in Germany (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2021).

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Financing Gender Equality

Budgets for Women’s Policies in German and Austrian Länder

Ayse Dursun, Sabine Lang, and Birgit Sauer

State budgets reflect political priorities, providing a measure of issue relevance over time and comparatively across states. This article offers the first analysis of Länder budgets for women’s policy agencies (WPA) in Germany and Austria between 1991 and 2018. Comparing Länder WPA budgets provides insights into material allocations to, and the conditionality of, gender politics in Germany’s strongly federalized state and Austria’s weak federation. We find that German Länder budgeted for independent WPA earlier than Austrian Länder. However, with the advent of the 1999 Austrian coalition of Christian Democrats and the right-wing Freedom Party, which aimed to dismantle national-level gender policies, Austrian Länder investment in WPA grew to compensate for diminishing federal funds. The party constellation in power mattered more in Austria, but in both countries the parties in power were more important for WPA financing than the descriptive representation of women in Länder parliaments.

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“Homosexual People Do Not Stand Outside of Socialist Society”

Eingaben and the History of Homosexuality in East Germany

Jason Johnson

This article centers on four petitions (Eingaben) presented to the East German Central Committee in the 1970s and 1980s by men attracted to other men. The East German legal apparatus required that the state address all petitions. An analysis of these Eingaben written by non-activists demonstrates a growing boldness to use the available legal structures to claim one’s rights. The petitioners used the Eingaben system to assert their legitimacy as GDR citizens, forcing officials to deal with them as any other citizen. This article moreover calls for the still young field of East German homosexual history to more fully incorporate the untold number of Eingaben written by homosexuals in the former GDR. This would help to develop a more comprehensive historical narrative as such documents provide an invaluable and unique window into everyday life under socialism.

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Paul Stock

In recent years, it has become commonplace to argue that space is an important topic in the humanities and social sciences. But what does space do? Can we speak of space as having agency? Historians’ responses to these questions are strikingly varied. Some propose an almost deterministic role for spatial characteristics, while others deny that space can have any causal function at all. This article seeks to navigate a path between these unsatisfactory extremes. It uses insights from material culture studies and actor-network theory to discuss ways of re-framing agency as an assemblage of human and non-human affects. Agency can thus be defined not in terms of first causes and definitive outcomes, but instead as a coincidence of occurrences. This allows historians to speak of “spatial agency” as the emplacement of affective elements, the gathering of agencies at a particular site and moment.

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Illyria Remembered

On Some French Memoirs of the Illyrian Provinces 1809–1813

David McCallam

This article examines how four French memorialists recall and represent the former imperial territories of the Illyrian Provinces (1809–1813) on the eastern Adriatic seaboard. It explores how their memoirs deploy Enlightenment ethnography and Romantic exoticism in distinct ways while problematizing these approaches in light of lived experiences in the region. The article thus sheds light on the evolving character of tropes about the western Balkans in early nineteenth-century France, highlighting the influence the landscapes, cultures, and peoples of the territories had on the French officials posted there, including on their later self-presentation as memorialists.

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Narrating Political Subjectivity

A Conversation among Liberals, Conservatives, and Anti-Liberals

Manuel Clemens

The currently changing political landscape in Europe and the United States gives rise to the question of what the tasks of Bildung are right now. Are the humanities able to engender a conversation about the deep divisions between liberals, conservatives, and even anti-liberals? Do they have the wisdom to reach out equally to Obama voters with progressive values, to conservatives who believe strongly in family, the nation, and God, and to supporters of populist parties with strong anti-liberal tendencies? The article addresses these questions by arguing for a political Bildungsroman and scrutinizing political subjectivity as meticulously as Freud interpreted dreams in psychoanalysis.

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Ordinary Violence, Emotion, Information, and Anxiety

Some Themes in Recent Work on Colonial Violence

William Palmer

The study of violence has emerged as an important analytical category for historical analysis, especially in the areas where Europeans attempted to establish either dominance or colonies, such as Ireland, North America, Asia, and the Middle East. This article surveys some recent work on colonial violence, in which historians have tried to distinguish between different types of violence and have pointed to the importance of intelligence gathering, fear, and emotion as analytical tools for understanding the nature of colonial violence.

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Pays des brumes

The Persistence of Poetic Realism in French Cinema of the Occupation

Barry Nevin

Whereas the aesthetics and politics of poetic realism in French prewar cinema have been analyzed in depth, the extent to which poetic realism persisted in French cinema of the Occupation and the textual space that it created for spectators within this cultural context remain comparatively neglected. Responding to this critical oversight, this article analyzes Christian-Jaque’s Voyage sans espoir (1943) and Jean Grémillon’s Lumiére d’été from three perspectives: first, it evinces iconography in each that was central to the 1930s poetic realist films directed by figures such as Marcel Carné, Jean Renoir, and Jacques Feyder; second, it illustrates how poetic realism’s characteristic focus on gender was reconfigured during the Occupation; third, it determines how these aesthetic and social aspects spoke to French society under occupation. This article ultimately argues that poetic realist praxis persisted during the war years and constituted a major vector of resistance against German rule and the Vichy government.

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Posesión de Tiempo Inmemorial (Possession of Time Immemorial)

Tenants in Court and Proprietary Formalization. Rengo, Chile, 1820–1830

Víctor Brangier and Mauricio Lorca

This study focuses on disputes between small and medium tenants, who sought to formalize old land rights. The context under study is Rengo Valley, Chile, between 1820 and 1830, where there was increasing pressure to clarify rights over possessions. The analysis of a sample of 31 trials showed the relevance of the judicial use of the figure Posesión de Tiempo Inmemorial (Possession of Time Immemorial). This was a resource derived from the value of possession in the Hispanic American agrarian legal culture, one that the litigants used strategically. This study’s findings provide new data on the use of socially valued legal figures in justice to defend possession, thus contributing to the discussion on the dispossession of peasants in contexts of proprietary formalization.