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Karolin Machtans

Islamic organizations in Germany find themselves in a dilemma. On the one hand, they feel the need to take a public stance on the acts of violence committed by Muslim terrorists worldwide. On the other hand, they also feel the need to speak up against the growing Islamophobia in Germany, propagated by movements such as Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident (Pegida). As Islamic organizations in Germany band together, they appear to the German public as a homogeneous group unified by religious and ethnic affiliation, not recognized in their diversity. Hence, the external pressure exerted by German populists and sensationalist media that foment Islamophobia creates the risk of inadvertently reinforcing what one seeks to combat: namely, the stereotype of a monolithic and static entity that Muslims in Germany do not in fact represent. Moreover, the perceived need to speak with one voice might silence necessary debates among the different Islamic associations in Germany.

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Nicholas F. Russell

China inspired and invigorated the thinkers and policymakers behind the European enlightenment, but the extent and contours of the Chinese influence remain poorly understood. This article remedies this situation by delineating and evaluating major appearances of China in a Spanish newspaper, the Diario de Madrid, the capital’s official daily. Specifically, the article analyzes the Spanish accounts of two Dutch ambassadors to China, as well as a “Description of China” that takes into account multiple sources. Both accounts were prepared by an English observer and publisher, Thomas Astley, and later translated into French and from the French into Spanish. Taken together, these accounts show the diversity of sources on China as well as the eagerness with which Europeans apprehended new knowledge about the Middle Kingdom. There was also an underlying political message, in support of absolutism, which threw fuel onto the raging debate about the appropriate bounds of monarchical powers.

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Museums and the Educational Turn

History, Memory, Inclusivity

Jens Andermann and Silke Arnold-de Simine

Responding to feminist, postcolonial, and memorialistic critiques, museums have over the past decades radically revised their protocols of collection and display, aiming to register in their own curatorial and pedagogical practice the open and contested nature of the historical and ethnographic narratives on which their object lessons had traditionally conferred the status of hard evidence. In this new emphasis on the “museum encounter” as a performative and intersubjective “event”—sometimes referred to as the “educational turn” in museum curatorship—a new type of “inclusive museum” has emerged in diverse geographical and political settings. The inclusive museum seeks to recover the museum’s social role as a purveyor of shared, collective meanings precisely in departing from its high-modern predecessor and in forging “open representations” that acknowledge the diversity of the interpretative community thus interpolated. Inclusive museums, in short, aim to offer a new, contemporary stage for negotiating and performing cultural citizenship.

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Sami Schalk

American Girl is a multi-product brand that is marketed transnationally through discourses of gendered empowerment and education. While previous scholarship has commented on how American Girl encourages normative gender roles, consumerism, and limited notions of diversity, no scholars, to my knowledge, have discussed disability in relation to the brand. This article explores the representation of disability in the American Girl contemporary line through an analysis of books and doll accessories. Unlike issues of gender, race and class, which appear central to American Girl’s depiction of contemporary girlhood, disability is a literal and metaphoric accessory in the brand. I contend that this representation of disability as supplementary is a prime example of ablenationalism explicitly targeted at girls.

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Jennifer A. Yoder

In the decade since German unification, there has been a tendency by scholars and politicians alike to frame discussions of this event in terms of west-east or old states-new states, treating the five new states of Germany as one homogeneous entity. Moreover, the underlying assumption of many such studies is that the goal of political development is convergence, whereby the east catches up to or emulates the west in terms of economic prosperity, values, and levels of political participation. Unification, in other words, should lead to uniformity in institutional as well as political-cultural terms. Indeed, in its stated goal of striving for “Einheitlichkeit der Lebensverhältnisse” (uniformity of living conditions), the Grundgesetz provides some basis for expecting relative uniformity. Although a decade is not a long time, it is enough time to move beyond assumptions of uniformity and consider that unification has resulted in greater diversity in German politics and society.

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Irmline Veit-Brause

The formation of a national elite in Germany during the period before and after political unification, 1871, is still a largely unexplored topic in German social history. The Prussocentric perspective in German historiography, which is still prevailing in much of the work done by the so-called critical history of the 1960s and 1970s, has tended to give scant consideration to the sociocultural diversity underlying and enshrined in the federal structure of the Empire. The process of national consolidation of Imperial society could profitably be studied along the center-periphery continuum of national integration. It would be interesting, in particular, to subject to closer scrutiny the notion of “preindustrial elites,” which held on to the reigns of power in Prussia-Germany at a time of such rapid social and economic change.

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Amélie Auzoux

English abstract (full article is in French):

This study unpacks Valery Larbaud’s (1881–1957) presentation of the concept of the ethnic, linguistic, or foreign ‘Other’ in the period between the two World Wars. A French travel writer, critic and translator, Valery Larbaud moved away from the abstract classical European construct of Man to explore the concrete diversity of people, populations, and languages. In an age when scientific theory divided different ethnic groups into as many unequal species, Larbaud advocated for the unity of a single human race. It is thus through his adherence to the tenets, promulgated by Christian universalism, of the fraternal unity of all creatures that he was inoculated against racist tendencies.

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Andrés Guerrero

I begin with the commentary by João Biehl and Sebastian Ramirez. I don’t know which is the author, but I know that my article has not been read as a “signifying machine,” with openness toward “what it may tell,” or wondering “if it works or not” (Deleuze 1990: 3–21), or simply “with openness to the existence of a third” (Biehl and Locke 2010: 347). Of course there is a lack of fit between the positions I put forward and those defended by the authors of the critique. Although our positions may differ, they are not necessarily incompatible: at least one of their several “intersections and junctions” (Biehl and Locke 2010: 347) might be revealed through a reading that is open but not a-critical. The divergence between the positions adopted by the authors and those I defend is, for me, one of the fruits of the diversity that characterizes intellectual creativity, and in particular that of history and anthropology.

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Thomas Fillitz

The present economic and financial crises do not seem to particularly influence the global art market of contemporary art. In an attempt to understand this apparent opposition, I adopt a macro perspective, combining my own research ventures in Dakar and Vienna with general art market studies. I argue that this market is a special representation of millennial capitalism (Comaroff and Comaroff 2001). The global art market puts in place an organization of diversity that allows a high flexibility in including specific centers and marginalizing others, as well as a special focus on a globally acting group of “ultra high net worth” individuals. Striking features are the concentration of capital flows to a few major centers, the constitution of complex, transnational networks, the dominant logics for each market field (gambling, glamour, moral economy), and the diversification of the commodity character of the work of art.

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Mapping the (Adolescent) Male Body

Queerness, Pedophilia and Perversions in "L.I.E." and "Mysterious Skin"

Sarag E. S. Sinwell

Drawing on the work of Gayle Rubin, Jonathan Dollimore, and B. Ruby Rich, this paper will explore the ways in which Michael Cuesta’s L.I.E. (2000) and Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin (2004) portray adolescent male bodies and subjectivities within the context of the queer. Throughout these films, cinematic identification is primarily tied up with the stories of adolescent boys. However, the perverse acts in which they participate (both voluntarily and involuntarily), the inclusion of multiple points of view, and the focus on our own cultural constructions of childhood, adolescent and adult sexualities trace a network of nodes of identification. Thus, I argue that L.I.E. and Mysterious Skin queer identification by imagining a multiplicity, fluidity, and diversity of modes of identification that engage with both the normal and perverse natures of identity, sexuality, and subjectivity.