Debating German Cultural Identity since 1989 by Anne Fuchs, Kathleen James-Chakraborty, Linda Shortt

By Anne Fuchs, Kathleen James-Chakraborty, Linda Shortt

The occasions of 1989 and German unification have been seismic historic moments. even supposing 1989 looked as if it would symbolize a therapeutic of the war-torn background of the 20th century, unification posed the query of German cultural identification afresh. Politicians, historians, writers, filmmakers, architects, and the broader public engaged in 'memory contests' over such questions because the legitimacy of different biographies, West German hegemony, and the normalization of German heritage. This dynamic and contested - and nonetheless ongoing - transformation of German cultural identification is the subject of this quantity of latest essays through students from the uk, Germany, the USA, and Ireland.It explores German cultural identification when it comes to a number of disciplines together with heritage, movie experiences, architectural historical past, literary feedback, reminiscence reports, and anthropology, keeping off a homogenized interpretation. Charting the advanced and infrequently contradictory procedures of cultural id formation, the amount finds the numerous responses that proceed to accompany the venture of unification. participants: Pertti Ahonen, Aleida Assmann, Elizabeth Boa, Peter Fritzsche, Anne Fuchs, Deniz Göktürk, Kathleen James-Chakraborty, Anja okay. Johannsen, Jennifer A. Jordan, Jürgen Paul, Linda Shortt, Andrew J. Webber.

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Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1979); Wolfgang J. Mommsen, Die Urkatastrophe Deutschlands: Der Erste Weltkrieg, 1914–1918 (Stuttgart: Klett, 2002). 18 Tim Judah, The Serbs: History, Myth, and the Destruction of Yugoslavia (New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1997), 15, 65; Roger Cohen, Hearts Grown Brutal: Sagas of Sarajevo (New York: Random House, 1998), xvi; Marcus Tanner, Croatia: A Nation Forged in War (New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1997). 19 See Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (New York: Random House, 2005).

As I write in 2010, Ukraine and Georgia are on the agenda of NATO. In other words, the prognostications regarding cultural differences in Europe have really only been half as bad as expected. Tensions between Germany and Poland, between Poland and Ukraine, between what had been eastern Europe and central Europe have diminished. Beyond Europe, the question of the difference of difference remains salient of course. Moreover, the status of Muslim immigrants and refugees in Europe is uncertain, as is the status of religious fundamentalism more generally.

Cramps are unavoidable. 2 Some twenty years on, the picture looks much more complex and nuanced. The most acute symptoms of unification-related illnesses have been healed in the intervening years, thanks primarily to slow but steady economic and social improvements in the new Bundesländer. Many former East Germans, particularly members of younger generational cohorts who have thrived personally and professionally since unification, are by now well integrated into the new Germany. 3 The stubborn refusal of the post-Communist Linke party to join the SPD and the Greens in backing the former GDR dissident Joachim Gauck as the centerleft candidate in the German presidential election of June 2010 highlighted, yet again, the persistence of important East-West rifts in German public life, more than two decades after unification.

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