This article traces four contested identity claims that carry gender meanings into politics and express the gendered tensions awakened along specific dimensions of institutional change across the past twenty years. The cultural definition of the German nation in the face of immigration, the integration of the German state in a transnational project of making a single Europe, the economic restructuring of unification and its effects on the resources and opportunities available on each side of the former wall, and political changes in the representation of women in state offices, by parties and in national policy-making all reflect continuing struggles over the institutionalized boundaries of inclusion and exclusion as a nation, an imagined community. All of these processes engage passionate feelings about gender relations and have implications for the ordinary lives of women and men as citizens and family members in the new Berlin Republic.
A Semiotic Reading of the Memorial Hall for Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders
This article analyzes the Memorial Hall for Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, opened in its present form in 2007 to commemorate the massacre perpetrated by the Japanese in 1937, when in the course of six weeks a significant number of harmless civilians were brutally slaughtered. The memorial is a highly complex semiotic object: it includes a large museum but is also, and perhaps above all, a huge thematic park that occupies an extremely large surface area of seventy-four thousand square meters. Through a close reading of the site, this article seeks to show how the Nanjing Memorial, more than serving the function of conservation and transmission of a tragic, traumatic memory, is mostly a monument to Chinese nationhood, an important step in the construction of a new national identity.
Joyce Marie Mushaben
From its founding in 1949 through the dramatic events of 1989/90, the Federal Republic relied on a concept of "blood-based" citizenship (jus sanguinis), hoping to sustain ties between the peoples of the divided nation, as well as to protect "co-ethnic" groups scattered throughout historically defined eastern territories. Geographical reconfiguration, generational change and globalization processes have rendered Germany's insistence on an ethno-national citizenship paradigm detrimental to its own political and socio-economic interests. Ostensibly the real "losers" of unification, more than seven million "foreigners" and children of migrant descent are now set to become the long-term winners of Chancellor Merkel's pro-active measures to foster their integration and education. Making very effective use of EU initiatives on migration policy, Merkel has adopted a holistic approach to integration as a means of overcoming the FRG's looming demographic deficit and shortage of high-tech laborers. This study begins with profiles of three "migrant" generations and the changing opportunity structure each has encountered, leading to different degrees of identification with the new homeland. It then summarizes key features of the 2007 National Integration Plan, and examines factors allowing Merkel to blaze a trail through the perilous "immigration" territory all previous Chancellors had feared to tread. Despite internal opposition, Angel Merkel's pro-active efforts to redefine "what it means to be German" has, paradoxically, given the Christian Union a chance to modernize its own identity.
The Paradoxes and Possibilities of the Francophone Belgian Road Movie
This article builds on recent scholarship on the European road movie, focusing on Francophone Belgian road films that engage with issues of citizenship and personal, national, and transnational identities. The relationship of these films to the process of identity reformulation within new European parameters is examined, using four films from the past decade as case studies: Eldorado (Bouli Lanners, 2008), L'iceberg (Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy, 2005), Quand la mer monte/When the Sea Rises (Jeanne Moreau and Gilles Porte, 2004), and Les folles aventures de Simon Konianski/Simon Konianski (Micha Wald, 2008). Despite the limited scale of its territory, this article contends that Belgium's complex make-up and status as a post-colonial “melting pot“ provides the ideal laboratory for cinematic identity quests. While anchored in a distinctively Belgian context, these films demonstrate that national boundaries are no longer an adequate container for identities in contemporary Europe. Particular focus is paid to the ways by which each film employs and distorts the traditional road movie template to stage voyages into citizenship.
Politics of Memory and National Identity
The aftermath of World War II saw the emergence of many new nation-states on the Asian geopolitical map and a simultaneous attempt by these states to claim the agency of nationhood and to create an aura of a homogenous national identity. Textbooks have been the most potent tools used by nations to inject an idea of a national memory - in many instances with utter disregard for fundamental contradictions within the socio-political milieu. In South Asia, political sensitivity towards transmission of the past is reflected in the attempts of these states to revise or rewrite versions which are most consonant with the ideology of dominant players (political parties, religious organizations, ministries of education, publishing houses, NGOs, etc.) concerning the nature of the state and the identity of its citizens. This paper highlights the fundamental fault lines in the project of nation-building in states in South Asia by locating instances of the revision or rewriting of dominant interpretations of the past. By providing an overview of various revisionist exercises in South Asia, an attempt will be made to highlight important issues that are fundamental to the construction of identities in this diverse continent.
In 1997, Hinrich Seeba offered a graduate seminar on Berlin at the University of California, Berkeley. He called it: "Cityscape: Berlin as Cultural Artifact in Literature, Art, Architecture, Academia." It was a true German studies course in its interdisciplinary and cultural anthropological approach to the topic: Berlin, to be analyzed as a "scape," a "view or picture of a scene," subject to the predilections of visual perception in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This course inspired my research on contemporary German history as represented in Berlin's Holocaust memorials. The number and diversity of these memorials has made this city into a laboratory of collective memory. Since the unification of East and West Germany in 1990, memorials in Berlin have become means to shape a new national identity via the history shared by both Germanys. In this article, I explore two particular memorials to show the tension between creating a collective, national identity, and representing the cultural and historical diversity of today's Germany. I compare the Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas (Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe, or "national Holocaust memorial") which opened in central Berlin on May 10, 2005, to the lesser known, privately sponsored, decentralized "stumbling stone" project by artist Gunter Demnig.
Visual Anthropology in the Middle East
Esther Hertzog and Yael Katzir
This issue demonstrates the potential and unique contribution of visual anthropology to deepening and expanding anthropological knowledge with historical, artistic, cultural and political perspectives. Describing and analysing historical events, daily social life and the arts, the articles offer original interpretations of human experiences and social processes that are part of the Middle East reality, in the past and present. Some authors suggest striving to establish ethnic, cultural and national identities goes hand in hand with struggles for civilian rights and socio-economic equality. Using illustrations and a feminist analysis, other authors reflect on women’s marginalisation in the arts and in the historiography of this region. The use of visual materials, highlighting similarities among divergent communities, entails an optimistic view about the potential contribution of arts to break through fundamental dividing features.
Launched in 1998 on the eve of the eighth Day of German Unity, the Denk ich an Deutschland television film series was intended to reframe discourses on national identity formation in a positive light through documentaries focused on the present rather than on the dark German past. While Andreas Kleinert's Niemandsland (No Man's Land, 1998) and Andreas Dresen's Herr Wichmann von der CDU (Vote for Henryk!, 2003), the first and last films televised, do center on the present, they highlight dissonances between personal and national concerns. Still, Kleinert deconstructs the dissonances and artificial syntheses he himself invents in order to reveal them as constructs to be reconfigured by viewers. By showing the inability of politicians to bridge the gap between personal and national concerns due to the erosion of their private identities, Dresen also appeals to viewers to initiate needed societal changes themselves.
Eric J. Cunningham
dominant conceptions in Japan of a harmonious body politic and common national identity. This article is informed by experiences and information that I collected while living and researching in Otaki village between April 2008 and May 2010. Much of the
Textbooks about Modern Arab History under Hafiz and Bashar al-Asad
This article argues that Syrian history textbooks promote the formation of Syrian national identity, although their explicit objective is to propagate Arab nationalism. Their authors' attempt to construct the history of an imagined Arab nation encompassing the whole of the Arab world in fact tells the story of different nation-states. Syrian students are therefore confronted with rival geographical spheres of national imagination. Changes in the new textbooks under Bashar al-Asad reveal increased Syrian patriotism, a will to comply with globalization, and attempts to maintain Arab nationalism.