Ghetto Voices in Contemporary German Culture

November 2012
6 black and white illustrations
220 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571135445
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC SOC022000, LIT004170, PER004000

Ghetto Voices in Contemporary German Culture

Textscapes, Filmscapes, Soundscapes

Maria Stehle

Illuminates tensions and transformations in today's Germany by examining literary, filmic, and musical treatments of the ghetto metaphor.
Accounts of how Germany has changed since unification often portray the Berlin Republic as a new Germany that has left the Nazi past and Cold War division behind and entered the new millennium as a peaceful, worldly, and cautiously proud nation. Closer inspection, however, reveals tensions between such views and the realities of a country that continues to struggle with racism, provincialism, and fear of the perceived Other. Mainstream media foster such fears by describing violence in ghetto schools, failed integration, and the loss of society's core values. The city emerges as a key site not only of ethnic and political tension but of social change.
Maria Stehle illuminates these tensions and transformations by following the metaphor of the ghetto in literary works from the 1990s by Feridun Zaimoglu, in German ghettocentric films from the late 1990s and the early twenty-first century, and in hip-hop and rap music of the same periods. In their representations of ghettos, authors, filmmakers, musicians, and performers redefine and challenge provincialism and nationalism and employ transcultural frameworks for their diverging political agendas. By contextualizing these discussions within social and political developments, this study illuminates the complexities that define Germany today for scholars and students across the disciplines of German, European, cultural, urban, and media studies.

Maria Stehle is Assistant Professor of German at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Ghetto Discourses and German Mediascapes
Ghettos and Feridun Zaimoglu's Textscapes of the 1990s
Ghetto Filmscapes and the Politics of the Ghetto Film
Ghetto Soundscapes: Performances of Nation, Gender, and Authenticity


Stehle convincingly argues for a consideration of the "ghetto" as a challenge to provincialism, racism and nationalism that employs transnational and transcultural frameworks to actively create alternative spaces for the so-called other. . . . The real accomplishment of this work, however, is that [she] has managed to elucidate the complex overlapping of racialized, gendered, and classist exclusions. FOCUS ON GERMAN STUDIES

[T]he ghetto will remain in some form a key metaphor for social realities moving into the 21st century, and Maria Stehle's study no doubt brings us closer to making sense of it. MONATSHEFTE

[O]ffers a critical intervention into artistic production from the cultural margins of Germany over the past quarter century. . . . [A]n informative, deeply insightful and critically nuanced engagement with the cultural production from within German racialized spaces. WOMEN IN GERMAN NEWSLETTER

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