Gender and Germanness: Cultural Productions of Nation

Gender and Germanness: Cultural Productions of Nation

Gender and Germanness: Cultural Productions of Nation

Gender and Germanness: Cultural Productions of Nation

Synopsis

The contributors to this volume pursue the standards of the cultural debate in German history, literature, visual arts, and language over a period of 300 years in sections devoted to History and the Canon, Visual Culture, Language and Power.

Excerpt

Patricia Herminghouse and Magda Mueller

U s Cultural Studies on both sides of the Atlantic have become increasingly preoccupied with questions of national identity and cultural representation, feminist studies have been insisting upon the entanglement of gender with issues of nation, class, and ethnicity. Particularly in the wake of German unification, the editors of the present volume sensed the need for an interdisciplinary, international attempt to reassess the nexus of gender, Germanness, and nationhood by pursuing strands of cultural debate in literature, history, the visual arts, and language from the eighteenth century to the present. Before German unification, such an attempt to examine the connection between gender and concepts of nation might have been considered a curiosity. The dismantling of the highly fortified border between the two German states and the Berlin Wall in particular changed not only the German landscape, but also disrupted the general silence regarding concepts of national identity that had prevailed since the founding of the two German states in 1949. While the inhibitions that surrounded reflections about German nationhood had marginalized the topic to the right of the political spectrum since the end of World War II, a process of re-evaluation was set in motion with the unexpected events of 1989-90.

Situated among feminist debates on gender and critical studies of German culture, the original essays we have selected for this focus on Gender and Germanness deal with a wide range of cultural productions, including minority discourses, post-colonial theory, film and cinema studies. Before introducing them, a discussion of certain presuppositions may prove useful. Even at the planning stage, Eva Kaufmann drew . . .

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