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William Dodd

This article reports on contemporary debates in Germany on the extensive use of English in Germans' use of German. In particular, it focuses on the debate held at the University of Birmingham between Professor Jürgen Schiewe and Thomas Paulwitz on the question: “The influence of English on German today: Grounds for concern?” The rise of a nationalist discourse on language since the mid-1990s is traced with particular reference to the Verein Deutsche Sprache and the quarterly publication Deutsche Sprachwelt. The purist position represented by Paulwitz, editor of Deutsche Sprachwelt, and opposed by Schiewe, Professor of German Philology at the University of Greifswald, is found to represent a discourse on national identity that fails to engage with modern linguistic science.

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Helga Haftendorn

German foreign policy operates in a strategic triangle, the corner points of which are Bonn, Paris, and Washington. This constellation dates to the end of World War II. Since that time, German foreign policy has been influenced by this strategic triangle, which provides for

political opportunities as well as for significant risks. It relies on the interdependence of German-American, German-French, and French-American relations.

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Laurence McFalls

In the past century, Germany, for better and for worse, offered itself

as a natural laboratory for political science. Indeed, Germany’s

excesses of political violence and its dramatic regime changes largely

motivated the development of postwar American political science,

much of it the work of German émigrés and German-Jewish

refugees, of course. The continuing vicissitudes of the German experience

have, however, posed a particular challenge to the concept of

political culture as elaborated in the 1950s and 1960s,1 at least in

part to explain lingering authoritarianism in formally democratic

West Germany. Generally associated with political continuity or only

incremental change,2 the concept of political culture has been illequipped

to deal with historical ruptures such as Germany’s “break

with civilization” of 1933-1945 and the East German popular revolution

of 1989. As well, even less dramatic but still important and relatively

rapid cultural changes such as the rise of a liberal democratic

Verfassungspatriotismus sometime around the late 1970s in West Germany3

and the emergence of a postmodern, consumer capitalist culture

in eastern Germany since 19944 do not conform to mainstream

political culture theory’s expectations of gradual, only generational

change. To be sure, continuity, if not inertia, characterizes much of

politics, even in Germany. Still, to be of theoretical value, the concept

of political culture must be able not only to admit but to

account for change.

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A German Rabbi and Scholar in America

Kaufmann Kohler and the Shaping of American Jewish Theological and Intellectual Agendas

Yaakov Ariel

One of the more central German-American rabbis, Kaufmann Kohler played a prominent role in shaping American Jewish communal, religious and intellectual life at the turn of the twentieth century. Kohler served as a link between the German-Jewish religious and intellectual environment and that of the United States, where he emigrated in 1869. Like a number of Reform rabbis in Germany, Kohler saw his work as a rabbi, a Reform leader, theologian, initiator of scholarship, and a writer on Jewish and Christian history, as inseparably intertwined. The article points to Kohler's role as a scholar-rabbi who brought with him from Germany certain academic standards and a belief in the power of scholarship and ideas to shape public life, as well as a Reform theological agenda. The thoughts, initiatives and travails of Kohler tells us a great deal about the role of intellectual German-Jewish immigrant rabbis in America, their effect on the course of American Judaism and the manner in which they negotiated a role and identity for themselves and their community in America, trying to change, among other things, the manner the Protestant majority related to Judaism and Jews.

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Jonas Rädel

In German public perceptions, right-wing populism is cast as a specifically east German problem. This article critically examines how this assumption is located within the debate on German unity. In order to clarify the sometimes-confusing arguments on German unification, two paradigmatic perspectives can be identified: German unity can be approached from a perspective of modernization, or through the lens of postcolonial critique. When it comes to right-wing populism in eastern Germany, the modernization paradigm suffers from a lack of understanding. Hence, the arguments of the postcolonial perspective must be taken seriously, particularly as the postcolonial reading can grasp the complex phenomenon of right-wing populism in east Germany, and prevent the discursive and geographic space of the region from being conquered by right-wing political actors.

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A. James McAdams

The author ponders over the identity of the last self-identifying East German and wonders what he or she will say before leaving memories of the region behind. He distinguishes among three possible candidates for this honor: the ordinary citizen with little aspiration to political or social notoriety; the enthusiast with an interest in perpetuating the old regime's values; and the dissident activist dedicated to transforming that order. After identifying the likely last East German, the author speculates about the message our protagonist will have to share with the leaders of unified Germany. Finally, he provides reasons for why the Federal Republic can benefit from this advice.

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Cornelia Wilhelm

This article explores the changing perception of "diversity" and "cultural difference" in Germany and shows how they were central in the construction of "self" and "other" throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries affecting minorities such as Jews, Poles, and others. It examines different levels of legal and political action toward minorities and immigrants in this process and explores how the perception and legal framework for the Turkish minority in the past sixty years was influenced by historical patterns of such perceptions and their memory. The article tries to shed some light on how the nature of coming-to-terms with the past ( Vergangenheitsbewältigung ) and the memory of the Holocaust have long prohibited a broader discussion on inclusion and exclusion in German society. It makes some suggestions as to what forced Germans in the postunification era to reconsider legislation, as well as society's approach to "self" and "other" under the auspices of the closing of the "postwar period" and a newly emerging united Europe.

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Eric Langenbacher

Are collective memories currently changing in the land where the

“past won’t go away?” Long dominated by memory of the Holocaust

and other Nazi-era crimes, Germany recently witnessed the emergence

of another memory based on the same period of history, but

emphasizing German suffering. Most commentators stress the novelty

and catharsis of these discussions of supposedly long-repressed

and unworked-through collective traumas and offer predominantly

psychoanalytic explanations regarding why these memories only

now have surfaced. However, thanks to “presentist” myopia, ideological

blinders, and the theoretical/political effects of Holocaust

memory, much of this discourse is misplaced because these Germancentered

memories are emphatically not new. A reexamination of

the evolution of dominant memories over the postwar period in the

Federal Republic of Germany is necessary in order to understand

and contextualize more fully these current debates and the changes

in dominant memories that may be occurring—tasks this article takes

up by utilizing the memory regime framework.

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Felix Philipp Lutz

German political culture has been undergoing gradual but significant changes since unification. Military engagements in combat missions, the introduction of a professional army, and a remarkable loss of recent historical knowledge mostly within the younger generations are hallmarks of the new millennium. Extensive education about the Holocaust is still prevalent and there is a strong continuity of attitudes and orientations toward the Nazi era and the Holocaust reaching back to the 1980s. Nevertheless, a lack of knowledge about history-not only the World War II period, but also about East and West Germany-in the age group of people under thirty is staggering. The fading away of the generation of victims who are the last ones to tell the story of persecution during the Holocaust and a parallel rise of new actors and technologies, present challenges to the educational system and the current political culture of Germany.

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Claire Sutherland

This special issue sets out to examine aspects of German politics, philosophy,

and society through the multifaceted lens of cosmopolitanism. A complex

and contested concept, cosmopolitanism has particularly important

implications for the study of contemporary nation-states, as conventional

understandings of bounded territory and sovereignty are reassessed in the

context of globalization, migration and transnationalism. Accordingly, this

introduction aims to outline several key strands of cosmopolitan thought

with reference both to contemporary Germany and the wider global conjuncture,

in order to provide a conceptual framework for the articles that

follow. It begins by briefly placing cosmopolitanism in the context of the

evolving concepts of German Heimat (homeland) and nation, because contemporary

cosmopolitanism can only be fully understood in relation to

nationalism. It then looks at the relevance of methodological, political and

ethical cosmopolitanism for the study of nation-states today, before introducing

the five articles in the special issue.