GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW: Volume XXXII, Number 2 (May 2009)
    The Lusitania Effect: America’s Mobilization against Germany in World War I

    Frank Trommler
    University of Pennsylvania

    The sinking of the Lusitania by a German submarine in 1915 became not only a crucial factor for the American entry into World War I, but unleashed an increasingly emotional drive of exclusion in the name of forging a new unity of the American nation. In the broader context the persecution of German Americans reinforced hysteria against socialists and other dissenters for the next half-century. A closer look at the battle for and against German culture reveals it as part of America’s battle for its cultural independence, which became a fatal identity test for German Americans but also a challenge to American intellectual elites who maintained strong interest in German modernity and social policies.
    The Garden as Literature/Literary Gardens:
    Notes on Barbara Frischmuth’s Garden Diaries

    Edith Toegel
    Hamilton College

    Although Frischmuth’s garden books give the appearance of a new genre for the novelist, they in fact represent a continuum of her literary tradition. Moreover, Frischmuth argues that the qualities essential for the successful gardener resemble those of the writer. The three volumes display the creativity and the characteristics unique to Frischmuth’s fiction, a free flowing interchange of the imaginative and the real, thereby creating a seamless connection between the human and the natural worlds. Frischmuth calls this her assoziative Nicht-Methode. Her garden books are one more splendid illustration of that distinct literary technique.
    Der „Historikerstreit“ und die politische Deutungskultur der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

    Steffen Kailitz
    Hannah-Arendt-Institut, Technische Universität Dresden

    The Historikerstreit of the 1980s was the most important political debate among intellectuals in the Federal Republic of Germany. This struggle for cultural hegemony revealed a dominant democratic culture with weak subcultures on the extreme right and left. The dispute pitted the moderate right against a moderate left that now identified with Westbindung and constitutional patriotism (Post-Adenauersche Linke), even though both concepts came originally from the moderate right. Since the Historikerstreit it has also become part of the official political culture to interpret the genocide of the Jews as a singular crime in world history.
    Archeology as Spectacle: Heinrich Schliemann’s Media of Excavation

    Kathrin Maurer
    The University of Southern Denmark

    The German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann staged his life as a spectacle producing himself into an archaeological hero, pioneer, and adventurer. But he also used the spectacle as a scholarly mode of historical representation and employed rhetorical strategies associated with the visual techniques of mass media (Baedeker, panorama, photography). These “spectacular” strategies communicate a spatial and commodified view of history informed by modern tourism. Schliemann’s approach to history, thus, broke with the historicist tradition of “grand narrative” in representing the ancient Greek past and opened up new non-narrative conceptions of history in the field of archaeology.
    Performativity and the Dialectic of Time in Thomas Mann’s Der Zauberberg

    Joshua Kavaloski
    Drew University

    Thomas Mann’s Der Zauberberg has long been read as a philosophical treatise on the nature of time, but its narrative is performative because it enacts temporal experience in addition to simply describing it. The presence of the performative bears witness to Mann’s personal transformation during the novel’s composition. Prior to World War I, his literary work flirted with aestheticism, but by the early 1920s, he came to realize that art cannot escape ideology. The performative represents an attempt to overcome his earlier commitment to “pure” art divorced from the reality of history and politics.
    “Germany’s Eternal Son:” The Genesis of the Ernst Thälmann Myth, 1930–1950

    Russel Lemmons
    Jacksonville State University

    From its inception, the German Communist Party (KPD) promoted hero cults in its propaganda. Among the most important of the German labor leaders thus venerated was Ernst Thälmann, chairman of the KPD in the final years of the Weimar Republic. A staunch opponent of National Socialism, Thälmann came to stand for the KPD’s struggle against fascism. Imprisoned during the Third Reich, he was idolized by Comintern propaganda as representative of all those suffering under the Nazi yoke. Murdered in Buchenwald in 1944, Thälmann assumed a critical role in the legitimizing narrative of the postwar East German communist party and state.
    The “Tragic Mulatto” in Three Nineteenth-Century German Antislavery Texts

    Judith E. Martin
    Missouri State University

    In the second half of the nineteenth century, rising German emigration to America and the epoch-making novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin generated intense interest in slavery and inspired a number of German antislavery texts. Although they rely on sentimental plots and reinforce certain racial stereotypes, texts by Friedrich Strubberg, Ulrich Baudissin, and Louise Weil reveal nuanced explorations of interlocking systems of race and gender relations in the experience of the woman slave. While all three authors enclose their mixed-race heroines within white bourgeois marriage, Weil—a rare woman writer in this genre—presents women characters who exercise authority outside of domesticity.
    Deserters from the Bundeswehr on Page and Screen:
    Shifting Cultural Meanings of an Act between Desertion from the Wehrmacht and Conscientious Objection

    Andrew Plowman
    University of Liverpool

    Since the 1960s the image of the Bundeswehr deserter in (West) German film and fiction has changed remarkably with ongoing controversies about desertion from the Wehrmacht and the right to conscientious objection. With the Cold War and the student movement, desertion acquired political meanings. In the 1970s, writers and filmmakers stripped it of the critical significance accorded to it in portrayals of the Wehrmacht. But Hanns-Josef Ortheil’s novel Fermer (1979) and Ulrich Köhler’s film Bungalow (2002) affirm soldiers’ decisions not to return to their units as conscious desertion. The unresolved ending of Bungalow leaves the meaning of desertion again wide open.
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