This article examines two German films which, in different ways, engage with ethical questions raised by scientific advances in biotechnology and the specter of eugenics: Blueprint (Rolf Schübel, 2003), an adaptation of Charlotte Kerner's Blaupause, and The Elementary Particles (Elementarteilchen, Oskar Roehler, 2006), a cinematic interpretation of Michel Houellebecq's novel with the same title. Assuming different positions, the films contribute to the divisive public debate surrounding human cloning. Their visions vacillate between dystopian warnings of a commodification of human existence and euphoric promises of the potential to genetically erase human flaws forever. The films' main concern, however, is a critique of ideological positions associated with the generation of 1968, and the directors use the debate on genetics to infuse this discussion with an element of radicalism. This article explores the ways in which the films engage with the memory discourse in Germany through the lens of discourses on ethics and biotechnology.
How can one best investigate the mental attitudes and patterns of
behavior of eastern Germans eight years after political unification?
Since 1990, the method dominating this discussion has been based
on measuring the degree to which easterners have “caught up” with
the supposedly more modern western Germans. However, empirical
studies and surveys have shown that this model is an ineffective, even
inappropriate means of describing how unification has impacted the
lives of eastern Germans. In this article, I argue that a more appropriate
approach is to consider the enduring differences in the opportunity
structures among eastern and western Germans, as well as the
differences in their respective behavioral patterns. In this context,
“opportunity structure” refers to the opportunities provided and limitations
imposed by social structures. For the analysis of opportunity
structures, I focus on what I call “contradictory adaptation” and
“problematic normalization.” My analysis of behavioral patterns
emphasizes the logic internal to the subjects themselves (Eigenlogik).
This internal logic differs significantly from outsiders’ interpretations
of easterners’ behavior, as the following example illustrates.
Toward a Jewish History of Concepts
The field of modern European Jewish history, as I hope to show, can be of great interest to those who deal with conceptual history in other contexts, just as much as the conceptual historical project may enrich the study of Jewish history. This article illuminates the transformation of the Jewish languages in Eastern Europe-Hebrew and Yiddish-from their complex place in traditional Jewish society to the modern and secular Jewish experience. It presents a few concrete examples for this process during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The article then deals with the adaptation of Central and Western European languages within the internal Jewish discourse in these parts of Europe and presents examples from Germany, France, and Hungary.
The Kazakhs, Turkmens, Tajiks, Uyghurs and Uzbeks in Central Asia share some distinct religious elite groups – Xojas – some lineages of which appear in two or more of them. The Xoja group is a patrilineage, which traces kinship through blood relationships. Endogamous marriages prevail among the Uzbekspeaking Xoja contrary to descendants of nomadic, Kazakh-speaking Xojas. In this article I compare the kinship systems of the Uzbek-speaking Xoja of the Uzbek people and the Kazakh-speaking Xoja of the Kazakh people and analyse their transformation in the twentieth century. The analysis shows that interpretation of differences in kinship terminology is situational: in some cases it is interpreted as an example of adaptation to different cultures, and in other instances it may serve as a symbol of belonging.
Analyzing, Translating, and Comparing Political Concepts from other Cultures
In this article, the author examines the case of the Chinese reception of Western political and social concepts as an example to discuss the substantive issues involved in the circulation of concepts between Europe and other parts of the world. Translation and adaptation are key steps in this process of circulation. The question however is not to investigate whether the transposed concept is an accurate transcription of the original, but to understand how this concept acquires new meanings and rhetorical functions within the political and ideological disputes of the society to which is has been transposed. Thus, translation should be understood as a complex, multilayered process of intercultural communication whose result is affected by inequalities of power, but still open to multiple outcomes of agency, even when exercised in colonial or semi-colonial settings.
Emotion Concepts in Urdu, 1870–1920
This article looks at the changes in the concepts used to write about emotions in Urdu between 1870 and 1920. It argues that while emotions at the beginning of the period were still thought of as premised upon notions of equilibrium and balance, which accorded a crucial role to the will and to rationality, fifty years later concepts celebrated the elementary power of emotions and their capacity to overwhelm the individual. This can be read as an indicator and factor of a profound emotionalization of private as well as public life. The first section looks at ethical and pedagogical texts, the second at articles published in journals linked to the reformist Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh, and the final section at the reconfiguration of emotion knowledge through the translation and adaptation of psychological treatises.
German Pork Butchers in Britain
Margrit Schulte Beerbühl
Today foreign restaurants and food shops shape the culinary landscape of Britain. While the impact of post-war migration on the traditional eating habits of the British population has received some attention in historical research, the influence of former waves of immigrants has hardly been studied. This paper focuses on the immigration of German pork butchers and their contribution to the development of meat consumption in Britain. By looking at the pattern of migration it will be shown that migrants created geographically widespread networks in Britain. Within these networks they transferred skills, know-how and social capital. Through a complex process of adaptation and appropriation German sausages were incorporated into the British diet. This process involved natives as well as immigrants. The former had to overcome established food habits while the latter had to adapt their recipes to local taste preferences.
Jay Lockenour, Soldiers as Citizens: Former Wehrmacht Officers in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1945-1955 (University of Nebraska Press: Lincoln and London, 2001)
Review by Omer Bartov
Volker R. Berghahn, America and the Intellectual Cold Wars in Europe: Shepherd Stone Between Philanthropy, Academy, and Diplomacy (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2001)
Review by Robert Gerald Livingston
Geoff Eley, Forging Democracy: The History of the Left in Europe, 1850-2000 (Oxford University Press, 2002)
Review by Paul Lerner
Tanja A. Börzel, States and Regions in the European Union: Institutional Adaptation in Germany and Spain (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002)
Review by Richard Haesly
Christoph Kleßmann, ed., The Divided Past: Rewriting Post-War German History (Oxford: Berg, 2001)
Review by Andrew H. Beattie
Wilfried Schubarth and Richard Stöss, eds., Rechtsextremismus in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Eine Bilanz (Opladen: Leske & Budrich, 2001)
Review by Lars Rensmann
Erik Ryding and Rebecca Pechefsky, Bruno Walter: A World Elsewhere (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001)
Review by Pamela Potter
Considering Social Science and the Production of Island Vulnerability and Opportunity
This article argues that climate change has influenced the way in which small island nations are viewed and understood by the international climate community. Climate change has become an internationally recognized and specific language of vulnerability that is deployed in requests for international aid to fund adaptation and mitigation measures in some small islands, for population relocation plans and human rights advocacy in other islands, and for overhauling the 'tourism product' and creating new markets for travel in others. Vulnerability is a powerful idiom, especially in the contemporary climate context that has come to imply crisis, change, uncertainty, and immediacy. Importantly, vulnerability also gestures unambiguously toward seemingly limitless scientific and even commercial opportunity. These developments come with new forms of expertise in the natural and social sciences and the travel industry, as well as with new or reinstated forms of inequity. As the areas of small island expertise increasingly overlap, they come to reproduce the very context and form of small islands themselves.
William T. van Markham and C.S.A. (Kris) Koppen
This article investigates the messages about climate change that ten nature protection organizations in Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States communicate to their members and the public through their Internet sites, member magazines, and annual reports. Based on analysis of this content, we conclude that all the organizations address climate change, but to varying extents and in differing ways. All of the organizations note that climate change is a major problem, has a significant impact on nature, and should be addressed mainly via mitigation. With the partial exception of the Dutch groups, all also inform their members about domestic climate change politics. Other themes, including international dimensions of climate change, adaptation to climate change, consumer behavior, collaboration with and criticism of business, and efforts to pressure business or government received less emphasis overall. How much emphasis the organizations gave these themes was conditioned by their traditions, constituencies, national context, and international affiliations.