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Tendentiousness and Topicality: Buchenwald and Antifascism as Sites of GDR Memory

Helmut Peitsch and Joanne Sayner

This article examines two chapters from Martin Sabrow's 2009 edited volume Erinnerungsorte der DDR, one on antifascism and one on Buchenwald. These two case studies exemplify the complexities of the contemporary German memorial landscape. In particular, they thematize the remembrance of the Nazi past in the German Democratic Republic and how this GDR past has, in turn, been tendentiously remembered since unification. By examining the layering of memories in these two chapters, we argue that the theoretical models which often underpin contemporary German memory work, Sabrow's volume included, serve to obscure the role of the state as carrier of official memory. On the basis of this study, we show that concepts dominant in today's Germany promote a unified national narrative. In particular, terms such as the “culture of memory” (Erinnerungskultur) and cultural memory (kulturelles Gedächtnis) downplay conflicting, contentious and diverse memories relating to the GDR past. As such, the article provides a timely note of caution for memory studies and memory work, which increasingly applies these models to wider, non-German contexts.

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A Few Bad Apples or the Logic of Capitalism?

Neoliberal Globalization in the Economic Crime Drama Since the Millennial Turn

Sabine von Dirke

thematized the socio-economic and political transformations subsumed to the shorthand neoliberalism. It is predicated upon the following observations. First, two socio-political issues have recurred in public discourse since the 1990s: the debate on Standort

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Sounds German?

Popular Music in Postwar Germany at the Crossroads of the National and Transnational

Kirkland A. Fulk

politics.” 7 This increased prevalence of the popular also coincided with the rise of Popliteratur for instance in the work of Rolf Dieter Brinkmann and Hubert Fichte that contested the divide between high and low, thematized the experiences of the

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Brand of Brothers?

The Humboldt Forum and the Myths of Innocence

Jonathan Bach

humanizing aura of a “poetics of failure” with which people could identify. 14 And since Andrea Wulf's 2015 best-selling book about him, Humboldt has become the original climate activist, being arguably the first to directly thematize how human action is

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Introduction

A Zeitenwende Indeed

Eric Langenbacher

weather and climate change in Germany and across the world would have strengthened this quintessential environmentalist party. Then again, all mainstream parties have thematized related issues so that the Greens no longer “own” this policy area as they

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Transnational Politics in Video Games

The Case of German Military Intervention in “Spec Ops: The Line”

Justin Court

thematizing electioneering and simulating governance. Others, like Tropico 6 (Limbic Entertainment, Germany) and Cities: Skylines (Colossal Order, Finland), combine city-building strategy with policy making. Further afield, grand strategy games like

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Black October

Comics, Memory, and Cultural Representations of 17 October 1961

Claire Gorrara

Western representations of racialized others. Instead, the documentary mode positions the demonstrators as political subjects. In addition, by creating a frontalier protagonist, Octobre noir thematizes the notion of “in-between-ness” and highlights the

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Resistant Culture, African Travel

Florian Krobb

causality. In an attempt to thematize the perils of the colonial gaze, or a precolonial naivety such as displayed by Albrecht Roscher, the film involuntarily, and probably inevitably, perpetuates mechanisms of appropriation and “othering,” and it