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Margaret McCarthy

German popular filmmakers who participated in the Denk ich an Deutschland series brought a range of conflicting impulses to their meditations on Germany, including the universalizing tendencies of popular culture, together with the personal and political strains often present in documentary films. With varying degrees of success, each director agitates national identity via an idiosyncratic selfhood, a process which in turn expands our notions of Germany beyond generic convention. The best of the five films discussed in this essay—directed by Doris Dörrie, Fatih Akin, Katja von Garnier, Sherry Hormann, and Klaus Lemke—feature their creators' struggle to box themselves out of a larger collective identity. By modeling their own existential Bildung, they chip away at an otherwise implacable German identity and provide a psychic service for Germans potentially more salutary than the way Hollywood films sustain American identity.

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Inge Manka

During the course of the 2006 Soccer World Cup, Germans started to celebrate a “new patriotism.” As the construction of national identity is inseparable in Germany from the Nazi past, this occurrence can be considered an indicator of an altered relationship to this past. This article examines these changes by focusing on a nationally recognized site of remembrance, the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg, where five matches of the World Cup were played. The convergence of site and event evokes contradictions and ambiguities, such as the encounter of the opposed needs of sports and remembrance at the same location. It shows what problems arise at a site of national collective memory today, when the role of the national collective is challenged by developments like European integration, migration within and to Europe, and the on-going effects of globalization.

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Charlotte Galpin

The European Union has been in its biggest ever crisis since the onset of the Greek sovereign debt crisis in 2010. Beyond the political and economic dimensions, the crisis has also sparked discussions about Germany's European identity. Some scholars have argued that Germany's behavior in the crisis signals a continuation of the process of “normalization” of its European identity toward a stronger articulation of national identity and interests, that it has “fallen out of love” with Europe. This article will seek to reassess these claims, drawing on detailed analysis of political and media discourse in Germany—from political speeches through to both broadsheet and tabloid newspapers. It will argue that the crisis is understood broadly as a European crisis in Germany, where the original values of European integration are at stake. Furthermore, the crisis is debated through the lens of European solidarity, albeit with a particular German flavor of solidarity that draws on the economic tradition of ordoliberalism. Rather than strengthening expressions of national identity, this has resulted in the emergence of a new northern European identity in contrast to Greece or “southern Europe.”

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Writing Syrian History While Propagating Arab Nationalism

Textbooks about Modern Arab History under Hafiz and Bashar al-Asad

Monika Bolliger

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.

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Jeffrey Jackson The Place de la Bastille: The Story of a Quartier by Keith Reader

Carol E. Harrison Heroes and Legends of Fin-de-siècle France: Gender, Politics, and National Identity by Venita Datta

Marie-Emmanuelle Chessel Women and Mass Consumer Society in Postwar France by Rebecca Pulju

Mark Ingram Trade of the Tricks: Inside the Magician's Craft by Graham Jones

Pepper D. Culpepper Contingent Capital: Short-Term Investors and the Evolution of Corporate Governance in France and Germany by Michel Goyer

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John S. Brady and Sarah Elise Wiliarty

In December 1995, the Center for German and European Studies at

the University of California at Berkeley hosted the conference, “The

Postwar Transformation of Germany: Prosperity, Democracy, and

Nationhood.” During the proceedings and in the edited volume that

resulted, conference contributors explored the reasons for Germany’s

success in making the transition to a liberal democratic polity

supported by a rationalized national identity and a modern, dynamic

capitalist economy. In charting postwar Germany’s success, the contributors

weighed the relative contribution institutional, cultural, and

international variables made to the country’s transformation.

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Stephen Welch and Ruth Wittlinger

The aim of this paper is to offer a critique of the proposal of “methodological cosmopolitanism“ in theoretical terms and to substantiate this critique by providing an account of the dynamics of collective memory and identity in postunification Germany. In the first part, we look at the arguments about methodological cosmopolitanism and their derivative, the idea of cosmopolitan memory, illustrated by the case of Holocaust memory. In the second part we look at the case of Germany: firstly at its postwar experience of the attempted construction of “postnational“ identity, and then at more recent trends, contemporaneous with the Berlin Republic, towards a “normalization“ of national identity in Germany. The Holocaust plays a crucial, but different, role in each phase, we suggest. In the conclusion we return to more general themes, asking what the German case tells us about the cosmopolitanization thesis more generally.

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Amotz Giladi

Israeli poet Yonatan Ratosh was the leader of the Young Hebrews, a nationalist group active from the 1940s to the 1970s. Despite his opposition to Zionism and his aspiration to revive the ancient Hebrews’ premonotheistic civilization, Ratosh shared Zionism’s ambition to elaborate a new Israeli identity. One prominent act of this mission involved enlarging the literary corpus in Hebrew through translation. Although initially a means of income, for Ratosh translation increasingly came to be a way to express his ideological position and his self-image as an intellectual. Thus, Ratosh provides an example of how developing a national identity can coincide with appropriating foreign literature. With his regular exhortations that Hebrew readers attain knowledge of foreign cultures, Ratosh did not intend to promote cosmopolitanism. Rather, he considered these endeavors as ultimately reinforcing a “Hebrew” identity.

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Cowboys, Icebergs, and "Outlaws"

The Paradoxes and Possibilities of the Francophone Belgian Road Movie

Michael Gott

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.

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From Black-Blanc-Beur to Black-Black-Black?

“L'Affaire des Quotas” and the Shattered “Image of 1998” in Twenty-First-Century France

Christopher S. Thompson

Since the mid-1990s, France's national soccer team has been given considerable significance in French debates about post-colonial immigration, national identity, republican citizenship, and the enduring legacies of French imperialism. This article explores the role played by representations of the team in those debates with a particular focus on the so-called “affaire des quotas” of 2010–2011. It argues that those representations reveal that the boundary between the purportedly inclusive civic nationalism of French republicanism according to which any person willing to embrace the duties and rights of democratic citizenship may theoretically become French, and the exclusionary ethnic nationalism of the xenophobic Front national is far less impermeable than is generally assumed in France. Indeed, race and ethnicity inform notions of French citizenship even among persons who reject the essentialist views of the Far Right.