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Teaching National Identity and Alterity

Nineteenth Century American Primary School Geography Textbooks

Bahar Gürsel

“The concept of nation, in its original and technical use, has traditionally referred to people sharing common ancestry, born in a certain geographic area, and sharing certain cultural attributes.” 1 National identity has also been defined by

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Eunike Piwoni

There seems to be a wide consensus in the academic community that the Holocaust is gradually losing significance in the German public. This development is clearly reflected in public elite discourse on national identity, where “Holocaust-centered memory” has ceased to be hegemonic. In the literature, several interpretations and reasons have been presented to explain this development. This paper contributes to the debate by arguing that the declining presence of Holocaust-centered arguments in intellectual elite discourse on national identity is due to a new consensual idea of German nationhood. Based on an event-oriented discourse analysis of more than 800 articles in opinion-leading newspapers, journals and magazines covering a period of more than twenty years, I argue that in national identity discourse, the Holocaust has never been—as is usually assumed—a blockade to displays of national identity in general, but only to a specific interpretation of the German nation as a Volk and as an exclusionist culture nation. By contrast, the idea of nationhood that dominates in the German public sphere today, the civic nation model, has never invoked Holocaust-centered counter-arguments—not even in the Historikerstreit in the 1980s. Thus, over the past three decades, the way national identity discourse has operated might have changed less than had often been assumed. The central argument of this paper is that the Holocaust has become a “latent”—but not a less consequential—argumentative resource.

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Kirsten Harjes

In 1997, Hinrich Seeba offered a graduate seminar on Berlin at the University of California, Berkeley. He called it: "Cityscape: Berlin as Cultural Artifact in Literature, Art, Architecture, Academia." It was a true German studies course in its interdisciplinary and cultural anthropological approach to the topic: Berlin, to be analyzed as a "scape," a "view or picture of a scene," subject to the predilections of visual perception in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This course inspired my research on contemporary German history as represented in Berlin's Holocaust memorials. The number and diversity of these memorials has made this city into a laboratory of collective memory. Since the unification of East and West Germany in 1990, memorials in Berlin have become means to shape a new national identity via the history shared by both Germanys. In this article, I explore two particular memorials to show the tension between creating a collective, national identity, and representing the cultural and historical diversity of today's Germany. I compare the Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas (Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe, or "national Holocaust memorial") which opened in central Berlin on May 10, 2005, to the lesser known, privately sponsored, decentralized "stumbling stone" project by artist Gunter Demnig.

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William Dodd

This article reports on contemporary debates in Germany on the extensive use of English in Germans' use of German. In particular, it focuses on the debate held at the University of Birmingham between Professor Jürgen Schiewe and Thomas Paulwitz on the question: “The influence of English on German today: Grounds for concern?” The rise of a nationalist discourse on language since the mid-1990s is traced with particular reference to the Verein Deutsche Sprache and the quarterly publication Deutsche Sprachwelt. The purist position represented by Paulwitz, editor of Deutsche Sprachwelt, and opposed by Schiewe, Professor of German Philology at the University of Greifswald, is found to represent a discourse on national identity that fails to engage with modern linguistic science.

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Earl Jeffrey Richards

The overwhelming critical response in Germany to the publication of

Victor Klemperer’s journals, particularly those spanning the years

from 1933 to 1945, has been a veritable sensation. Hundreds of

reviews, mostly appreciations, have appeared. Klemperer’s journals

have also turned into big business. On October 12, 1999, the German

television channel ARD began broadcasting a thirteen-episode series

on the diaries in the most expensive, made-for-television program of

its kind in Germany. Additionally, the English-language rights to the

journals were sold to Random House for a record $550,000, more

than has ever been paid for translation rights of any German book in

history. The selling of Klemperer’s journals may have led to a distorted

evaluation of their author’s position and importance.

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Narrating the Second World War

History Textbooks and Nation Building in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine

Lina Klymenko

Introduction Several studies have identified the role of school history textbooks in the state-led construction of national identity in the post-Soviet context. 1 Focusing on case studies from post-Soviet states, these works have demonstrated how

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Between Resistance and the State

Caribbean Activism and the Invention of a National Memory of Slavery in France

Itay Lotem

French society and given too much space for particular group identities. Indeed, from the late 1990s into the 2000s, the struggles of Caribbean activists turned the national conversation toward France’s involvement in the enslavement of Africans. The

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Meglio di ieri

Educational Films, National Identity and Citizenship in Italy from 1948 to 1968

Anne Bruch

and aims of the new institutions and to explain the general decision-making process, but also to promote a fresh and convincing vision of national identity. Attracted by the suggestive power of audiovisual media, the government was keen to accord a key

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Crossing Boundaries

The Case of Wanda Wasilewska and Polish Communism

Agnieszka Mrozik

manufacturing of a communist (biography)—the manufacturing of nation(al identity)], in PRL—życie po życiu [PRL—life after life], ed. Katarzyna Chmielewska, Agnieszka Mrozik, and Grzegorz Wołowiec (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo IBL PAN, 2013), 47–89. 9 Foucault, The

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Mobilizing Meanings

Translocal Identities of the Far Right Web

Patricia Anne Simpson

of National Socialism and its appeal to subsequent generations of Germans have kept a vice-like grip on the construction of national identity and the German political imaginary. 1 Weiss, a director, citizens’ rights activist, and former