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Making the New by Rebuilding the Old

Histourism in Werben, Germany

Michaela Fenske

Werben is a small town in eastern Germany, situated at the periphery both geographically and in terms of current economic and social dynamics. Since 2004, the inhabitants of Werben restore their cultural heritage in order to re-enact a new Biedermeier Werben so as to create new jobs in the tourist industry. Twice a year, re-enactors invite tourists and locals to engage in time travel to the period at the beginning of the nineteenth century. This article discusses the ways in which the people of Werben use history to revitalise their town. History becomes a space which allows individual and collaborative experiences; it is used as cultural resource. Meanwhile, history is interpreted in a peculiar manner, holding different functions and values for different people. In its staging of Biedermeier, Werben develops into a laboratory in which various elementary needs and problems of postmodern society are discussed.

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Francisca de Haan

The year 2010 marked the centennial of International Women’s Day (IWD); the year 2011 marked the centennial of its first celebrations, which took place in Austria, Denmark, Germany, partitioned Poland, Switzerland, and no doubt other places. Inspired by these events, the theme section of this volume deals with “A Hundred Years of International Women’s Day in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe,” with articles focusing on Russia, the Polish lands, and Greece. In addition, we review the book Frauentag! (Women’s Day!), a collection of essays that accompanied an exhibition in Vienna on the occasion of IWD’s first centennial; and the News and Miscellanea section features a report on recent IWD-related events in Ukraine, including two exhibitions.

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Yechiam Weitz

This article deals with the disappearance of Menachem Begin, the leader and the chairman of the Herut movement and the sixth Prime Minister of Israel (1977-1983). He disappeared from the political arena for about half a year: from the defeat of his party in the elections of the Second Knesset (26 July 1951) until the debate in the Knesset about the reparations from West Germany. Four central topics will be discussed: (1) the reasons for his disappearance; (2) his whereabouts and activities during that period; (3) the reason for his return to the political arena and the connection between his return and the debate about the reparations; and (4) the significance of this story for Begin's biography.

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“The Highest Limit of Statesmanship”

Ritterian Geography and Russian Exploration of the Amur River Basin, 1849–1853

Sharyl Corrado

The lower Amur River basin was annexed by Russia in the mid-nineteenth century following several years of unauthorized exploration by naval officer Gennadii Nevel'skoi. Scholars recognize multiple factors—geopolitical, economic, and nationalist—that prompted Russia's interest in the region. This article adds to this list the budding science of geography, and in particular, the influence of German geographer Karl Ritter. To Ritter, a nation's true borders were set by nature, not by man. His ideas are reflected in both the words and actions of Nevel'skoi regarding the lower Amur basin. The explorer described the territory not as foreign or other, but as naturally, historically, and rightfully Russian land. The river, to him, was a highway, facilitating transport through Siberia. In time, even the tsar was convinced. Ritter's ideas extended far beyond intellectual circles in Russia, serving to at once guide and justify Russia's eastward expansion.

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Ullrich Kockel

With this issue, AJEC returns to its original format as a journal with, for the time being, two issues per year. When the first issue was published in 1990 by the European Centre for Traditional and Regional Cultures (ECTARC), Europe was a different place. As the director of ECTARC, Franz-Josef Stummann (1990: 7), explained in his introduction to that issue, the ‘magical date of 1992’, heralding the Single European Market as a significant step towards European integration, had ‘a substantial bearing’ on the foundation of the journal. Moreover, the Berlin Wall, symbol of the political divide that cut right through Cold War Europe, had crumbled the previous year. German unification was imminent, but very little else seemed predictable. Eighteen years and two Gulf Wars later, not only has the European Union acquired fifteen new member states, ten of them former Communist countries, but we have also been told to perceive a new divide – between a ‘new’ Europe and an ‘old’ one.

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From West to East

International Women's Day, the First Decade

Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild

The year 2010 was the centennial of Clara Zetkin's proposal for an annual women's holiday, which became known as International Women's Day, and 2011 was the centennial of its first celebrations. The first ten years of the holiday's existence were a particularly tumultuous time in world history, with the advent of World War I, revolutionary upheavals in some of the major combatant countries, and the demise of the German, Habsburg, Ottoman, and Russian empires. During this time, International Women's Day celebrations quickly gained great popularity, and in 1917 sparked the February Russian Revolution. This article focuses on the development of the holiday from its U.S. and Western European origins and goal of women's suff rage, to its role in empowering Russian women to spark a revolution, and its re-branding as a Soviet communist celebration. Special attention is paid to the roles of two prominent international socialist women leaders, Zetkin and Alexandra Kollontai, in shaping the holiday's evolution.

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Tübingen — Vienna — Münster

Introducing Elisabeth Timm

Elisabeth Timm

shooting of hostages in a German town in April 1945 and its relation to the Nazi past. I also received my PhD in 2001 from Tübingen University. For this doctoral thesis, I did an ethnographic study on behaviour training (etiquette training) in Germany

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Osvaldo Croci

The military intervention in Iraq by the United States (US), supported

militarily by Great Britain and politically by a “coalition of the willing,”

which included a large number of current and future European

Union (EU) members but not Germany and France, was undoubtedly

the major foreign policy event of the year. It generated much debate

on concepts such as immediate threat, pre-emptive war, unilateralism,

and multilateralism, as well as on the question of whether the

US, as the sole superpower, has the responsibility to act as a security

provider of last resort when multilateral organizations devoted to this

task become paralyzed. The intervention divided not only the permanent

members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) after

a decade of co-operation but also caused a split in the Atlantic alliance

and among EU members, probably one of the worst to have occurred

on a foreign policy issue in the history of both organizations. Finally,

it put an end—at least temporarily—to that bipartisan consensus in

Italian foreign policy, which had emerged at the end of the 1970s and

consolidated in the 1990s.

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Erik Jones

The bond markets turned on Italy during the first weekend of July 2011

as part of a wider loss of confidence in European efforts to manage the

sovereign debt crisis. On Friday, 1 July, the difference—or “spread”—

between Italian and German 10-year government bond yields was 178

basis points or 1.78 percent. The following Monday, 4 July, it was up

to 183 basis points and rising. By Friday, 8 July, the spread was 237

basis points. It remained above that level to the end of the year.1 The

center-right government led by Silvio Berlusconi attempted to head

off this change in sentiment by pushing through successive reform

packages to promote fiscal consolidation and stimulate growth. Bond

traders consistently shrugged off these actions as too little, too late.

Ultimately, the pressure became so great that the center-right coalition

fractured and President Giorgio Napolitano replaced Berlusconi’s

Cabinet with a technocratic government headed by Mario Monti. Even

this, however, was not enough to appease the markets, and the year

ended with Italian bond yields again rising..

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Ullrich Kockel

Welcome to issue one of AJEC’s volume 21. In German, a ‘volume’ of a journal is referred to as a Jahrgang – a year (group), a cohort; when I was in my teens, a cohort still used to achieve ‘majority’ – and be considered ‘grown up’, ‘mature’ – with the completion of its 21st year. So as AJEC approached the completion of its second decade and ideas for marking the occasion were considered, I suggested to the board that we might celebrate the journal’s coming-of-age (as it would have been counted when its founders and subsequent editors were growing up) instead of the more common round figure jubilees. Unlike governments the world over, who decided for pop-cultural or other reasons that 1999 years make two complete lots of 1,000, we at AJEC know that the 21st year is completed at its end, not at its beginning, and so the special issue reflecting on the journey so far will be issue two, published at the end of this year.