Recasting German Identity

Recasting German Identity

Culture, Politics, and Literature in the Berlin Republic

Edited by Stuart Taberner, Frank Finlay


Camden House



A collection of essays offering a nuanced understanding of the complex question of identity in today's Germany.
This collection of fifteen essays by scholars from the UK, the US, Germany, and Scandinavia revisits the question of German identity. Unlike previous books on this topic, however, the focus is not exclusively on national identity in the aftermath of Hitler. Instead, the concentration is upon the plurality of ethnic, sexual, political, geographical, and cultural identities in modern Germany, and on their often fragmentary nature as the country struggles with the challenges of unification and international developments such as globalization, multiculturalism, and postmodernism. The multifaceted nature of German identity demands a variety of approaches: thus the essays are interdisciplinary, drawing upon historical, sociological, and literary sources. They are organized with reference to three distinct sections: Berlin, Political Formations, and Difference; yet at the same time they illuminate one another across the volume, offering a nuanced understanding of the complex question of identity in today's Germany. Topics include the new self-understanding of the Berlin Republic, Berlin as a public showcase, the Berlin architecture debate, the Walser-Bubis debate, fictions of German history and the end of the GDR, the impact of the German student movement on the FRG, Prime Minister Biedenkopf and the myth of Saxon identity, women in post-1989 Germany, trains as symbols and the function of the foreign in post-1989 fiction, identity construction among Turks in Germany and Turkish self-representation in post-1989 fiction, the state of German literature today. Contributors: Frank Brunssen, Ulrike Zitzlsperger, Janet Stewart, Kathrin Schödel, Karen Leeder, Ingo Cornils, Peter Thompson, Chris Szejnmann, Sabine Lang, Simon Ward, Roswitha Skare, Eva Kolinsky, Margaret Littler, Katharina Gerstenberger, and Stuart Parkes.

Stuart Taberner is Lecturer in German, and Frank Finlay is Professor of German and Head of the Department of German, both at the University of Leeds, UK.


November 2002
284 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571132444
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC POL010000, LIT004170, LIT006000
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Table of Contents

Introduction -
The New Self-Understanding of The Berlin Republic: Readings of Contemporary German History - Frank Brunssen
Filling The Blanks: Berlin as a Public Showcase - Ulrike Zitzlsperger
Das Kunsthaus Tacheles: The 1990s' Berlin Architecture Debate in Micro-Historical Context - Janet Stewart
Normalising Cultural Memory? The "Walser-Bubis Debate" and Martin Walser's Novel Ein springender Brunnen - Kathrin Schodel
"Glücklose Engel": Fictions of German History and the End of the German Democratic Republic - Karen Leeder
Successful Failure? The Impact of the German Student Movement on the Federal Republic of Germany -
The PDS: "CSU des Ostens"?--Heimat and the Left - Peter Thompson
"An Helligkeit Ragt In Europa Vor Allem Mei' Sachsenland Vor." Prime Minister Biedenkopf and the Myth of Saxon Identity - Chris Szejnmann
Unifying a Gendered State: Women in Post-1989 Germany - Sabine Lang
"Zugzwang" or "Stillstand"?--Trains in the Post-1989 Fiction of Brigitte Struyzk, Reinhard Jirgl and Wolfgang Hilbig - Simon Ward
On the Function of the Foreign in the Novels Andere Umstände (1998) by Grit Poppe and Seit die Götter ratlos sind (1994) by Kerstin Jentzschratlos sind (1994) by Kerstin Jentzsch - Roswitha Skare
Migration Experiences and the Construction of Identity among Turks Living in Germany - Eva Kolinsky
Diasporic Identity in Emine Sevgi Özdamar's Mutterzunge - Margaret Littler
Difficult Stories: Generation, Genealogy, Gender in Zafer Senocak's Gefährliche Verwandtschaft and Monika Maron's Pawels BriefePawels Briefe -
Drowning or Waving: German Literature Today - Stuart Parkes


The volume represents a solid contribution to the study of post-1989 German politics and culture, as well as a fruitful attempt by British German Studies scholars to enter into dialog with their American and German colleagues. MONATSHEFTE

The stated purpose of the book is to reach a more general audience by focusing on the broader implications of Kulturpolitik in unified Germany. This goal has certainly been achieved, and with considerable success.... GERMANIC NOTES AND REVIEWS

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