GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW: Volume 34, Number 3 (October 2011)
    “Toward Social Peace”: British Social Reform in Wilhelmine Germany

    Andrew Lees
    Rutgers University, Campus at Camden

    Between 1890 and 1914 numerous Germans, many of whom were progressive liberals or social Protestants, looked favorably on social reform efforts in Great Britain. They held up reformism there as a mirror to reform in Germany, which in their view was too state-centered. Tendencies that were embodied in the Salvation Army, cooperatives, settlement houses, adult education, benevolent measures designed to assist young people, and philanthropic housing stood out as exemplary developments deserving emulation. Such thinking gives evidence of a vigorous civil society in Germany and runs counter to the growing British-German hostility emphasized by historians of international relations.
    Imagining Integration: Why Fictional, Inter-Ethnic Marriages Matter

    Brent O. Peterson
    Lawrence University

    For integration to succeed in Germany it is not enough that laws are passed or languages learned; Germans have to be able to imagine plausible happy endings to narratives involving Germans and migrants. Images of heterosexual marriages have long been used to think about who belongs in the German national family and who does not. To the extent that writers and filmmakers have produced depictions of inter-ethnic marriages, they are worth examining not just to see if the relationships produce a new image of Germany and the Germans, but also what costs are associated with the success of these unions.
    Degeneration, Sexual Freedom, and the Politics of the Weimar Republic, 1918–1933

    Laurie Marhoefer
    Syracuse University

    Ideas about hereditary degeneration animated two powerful movements for sexual liberation during the Weimar Republic. One reform won the decriminalization of female prostitution. The other nearly won the repeal of Germany’s sodomy law. Activists for these reforms argued that the state could extend greater sexual freedom to most Germans if it curtailed the excesses of supposedly degenerate men and women. The Weimar Republic offered greater sexual autonomy to many of its citizens, at the expense of a small minority of people who were defined as degenerate.
    Neuer Mensch or Hombre Nuevo? Volker Braun’s Critical Solidarity with Latin America

    Jamie H. Trnka
    University of Scranton

    Volker Braun’s documentary drama Guevara oder der Sonnenstaat (1975) challenges political and literary-historical manifestations of East German humanist internationalism. In particular, his protagonists are embedded in debates on the political efficacy of Expressionist and Socialist Realist iterations of the New Man. With recourse to Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s hombre nuevo and biographical accounts of Tamara Bunke (a.k.a. Tania), he intervenes in those debates to articulate new, revolutionary subjectivities, anticipating more sophisticated articulations of the inter- and transnational German subjects that find literary expression beginning in the 1980s.
    Brook Farm and Beyond: German Thought and Literature in The Harbinger, 1845–1849

    Ellis Shookman
    Dartmouth College

    The Harbinger was a weekly published from 1845 to 1849, first by Brook Farm, the communal utopian settlement near Boston, then by the American Union of Associationists in New York. Its criticism often concerned German poets and thinkers, and it ran translations of over three dozen German poems. While its accounts of such authors show a strong bias toward the French social theorist Charles Fourier and his “Associationist” tenets, its selection of such poems does not reflect his radical agenda. This difference between its critical slant and its poetic catholicity distinguish it among periodicals covering German thought and literature in nineteenth-century America.
    Fascism and Kitsch: The Nazi Campaign against Kitsch

    Natalia Skradol
    Hebrew University of Jerusalem

    Paper napkins and plastic kittens are usually not the first images that come to mind when one thinks of the Nazi machinery of political repression. However, one of the first laws passed by the new government concerned exactly such objects, for which reason it quickly became known as the “Anti-Kitsch Law.” It appears that a lot can be learnt on the nature of the Nazi regime from studying the legal, bureaucratic, and journalistic discourse on political kitsch in the years 1933–1945, with Walter Benjamin’s theory of modernity providing a useful analytical framework.
    The Ambiguity of Revolution: Wu-wei, Pathology, and Criminality in Alfred Döblin’s Die drei Sprünge des Wang-lun. Chinesischer Roman

    Qinna Shen
    Miami University

    By creating the contradiction between Wang Lun’s idealistic belief in Wu-wei (non-resistance) and the political reality that necessitates rebellion against Manchu rule, Alfred Döblin’s hero makes three dramatic leaps: He converts to Wu-wei, only to first abandon and then return to it in the midst of the rebellion. Döblin emphasizes both the social and mystical foundations of revolution, yet his presentation of the Wu-wei movement as a pathological and criminal phenomenon reflects his ambiguity towards revolution. This Chinese novel prefigures Döblin’s Weimar political writing and November 1918, and constitutes the genesis of his theory of ambiguous revolution.
    The Power Question in GDR History

    Dolores L. Augustine
    St. John’s University, Queens, NY

    Research on the GDR has tended to fall into two broad schools, one heavily influenced by totalitarianism theory, the other primarily concerned with the perceived autonomy of society and culture. This article seeks to overcome this polarization by reintegrating a consideration of power into the cultural and social history of the GDR. Concepts of power developed by Max Weber, Michel Foucault, and Hannah Arendt, but also historian Thomas Lindenberger, are used to analyze GDR society. Popular participation in the dictatorship was mobilized through militarization, the use of informants, and the persecution of “asocials,” foreigners, and “immoral” persons.
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