Essays on Culture and Society in Modern Germany

Essays on Culture and Society in Modern Germany

Essays on Culture and Society in Modern Germany

Essays on Culture and Society in Modern Germany

Excerpt

On March 27, 1980, the University of Texas at Arlington sponsored the fifteenth annual Walter Prescott Webb Memorial Lectures. The four lectures delivered that year, as well as the two winning entries in the Webb-Smith essay competition that are also reprinted here, explore the interaction between culture and society in modern Germany.

Professor David B. King of Oregon State University, winner of the 1980 essay competition, examines German resistance to the modern cultural values and social institutions that have emanated from western Europe since the sixteenth century. Germany's historic divergence from the Western experience culminated, in our own century, in nazism. While King argues that the catastrophe of the Third Reich finally discredited Germany's long-standing refusal to join the modern Western core, he also questions whether Germany may now have swung too far in the other direction, embracing Western models more uncritically than is healthy, either for Germans or for the West. In his contribution, Professor Charles E. McClelland of the University of New Mexico illuminates the values and the subculture of imperial Germany's academic elite and explores the role of cultural leadership that fell to these academicians. As McClelland makes clear, it became increasingly difficult for the embattled German professoriate to uphold its rigid cultural traditions in a society that was undergoing rapid modernization.

Several German academicians sought to develop a sophisticated methodology for analyzing the modern mass culture that emerged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Their efforts are detailed in Professor David L. Gross's essay, runner-up in the Webb- Smith competition. Gross, who teaches at the University of Colorado . . .

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