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.
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).
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.
Eingaben and the History of Homosexuality in East Germany
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.
A Conversation among Liberals, Conservatives, and Anti-Liberals
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.
The Alternative for Germany in the 2019 European Parliament Elections
This article analyzes the Alternative for Germany’s campaign for the 2019 European Parliament elections against the backdrop of the phenomenon of “post-truth politics.” Post-truth politics is operationalized here as the strategic deployment of misleading frames and argumentative as well as evaluative styles. This has become a standard tool in the repertoire of populist actors, and in German politics, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) is a case in point. Despite the party’s thematic shift from issues of European integration to migration and multiculturalism, the European Union (EU) still represents an important point of reference in the party’s rhetoric. Empirically, this article addresses the importance of post-truth politics in the AfD’s campaign by examining the frames and evaluative styles employed by the party and its leading candidates in evoking negative images of the eu, considering in particular social and other digital media as important venues for such processes.
French Retirees in Nha Trang, Vietnam Today
Based on interviews with thirty-eight French retirees living in the seaside city of Nha Trang, Vietnam, this article queries their reasons for migrating and investigates how they make sense of their life abroad. I consider Vietnam's historical connection with the French empire as a possible component of lifestyle migration and meaning. This small-scale study indicates that colonial memories and historical ties between France and Vietnam do influence many interviewees’ choice of place of retirement. However, for most, the personal and social amenities afforded by a tropical life in the present tend to eventually displace such memories.
Neoliberal Globalization in the Economic Crime Drama Since the Millennial Turn
Sabine von Dirke
This article investigates how neoliberal globalization has been mediated through audiovisual narratives since the 2000s. It identifies a cluster of films, produced by and circulating on German public television, which use the generic conventions of the popular crime genre to constitute a sub-genre—the televisual economic crime drama. Using a content and textual analysis that focuses on the backdrop of historical context and genre norms, the article examines key tropes to assess the critical potential of this sub-genre. The analysis demonstrates that both the containment theme of “a few bad apples” and a systemic critique can structure these narratives of neoliberalism. At its best, the televisual economic crime drama argues that alternatives to neoliberalism are possible by referencing Germany's history of the social market economy and by featuring characters as well as images of active citizenship, solidarity, and collective action in the workplace.
Communism's Cycling Counterculture in Interwar France
This article explores the evolving relationship of the Parti Communiste Français to cycling in the interwar years. It argues that communist press coverage of the sport enriches our understanding of how the Party evolved from a marginal force in the 1920s to a mass party that had forged both an effective and affective bond with large numbers of the French working class. It examines attempts to harness and manipulate working-class enthusiasm for cycling and to project through its coverage of the sport an idealized image of the French worker. Reading sport history into the Party's political trajectory in the interwar years reveals how the appeal to the emotions was fundamental to its evolving image as a national workers party, but also how the Party had to make accommodations between a Soviet ideal and the realities of French working-class sports culture.
The Coronation of Bokassa the First and the (Failed) Manufacture of Charisma
This article explores the appropriation and translation of historical notions of “empire” into the modern era through close examination of the short-lived Central African Empire, imagined and brought to life by the flamboyant Emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa. Curiously, in an era in which the formerly colonized francophone African nations were increasingly seeking to signal rejection of their French heritage, Bokassa presented his empire as a modern corollary to the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte. This article draws on original research in French and US diplomatic archives to argue that we can understand the empire as a failed attempt to manufacture charisma, approaching farce before devolving into horror.