Academic journal article Michigan Academician

Germanic Languages & Literatures

Academic journal article Michigan Academician

Germanic Languages & Literatures

Article excerpt

Knowing India, Traveling India: Joseph Dahlmann's Indische Fahrten. Perry Myers, Albion College, Department of German, Foreign Languages, and Cultural Studies for Special Purposes, Albion, MI 49224

Joseph Dahlmann (1861-1930), a Jesuit father and noteworthy German Indologe, published numerous books and essays on Indian religious traditions and philosophy. Fluent in Sanskrit, possessing intimate knowledge of India's sacred texts, Dahlmann knows India. Yet, perhaps following the trend of increasing popularization of academic subject matter, Dahlmann desired to inspect the purported enormous transformations occurring in Asia at the turn-of-the-century. After his three-year excursion (1902-1905), which included India, Japan and China, Dahlmann published his travel account in 1908, Indische Fahrten, in which most of 2 volumes reports on India. In my presentation, I explore how Dahlmann's intimate knowledge of India's cultural heritage informs and conflicts with those impressions attained through travel--how Dahlmann puts the standards of his Enlightenment reason into practice. By emphasizing how Enlightenment reason plays out in this travel report I will examine how this enlightened German explorer/Wissenschaftler discovers the "real" India--how Dahlmann's assessment of India's present-day cultural conventions authorizes a kind of German "Oriental" discourse through his use of social science, thus disregarding Enlightenment dictates, arguing instead that even Dahlmann's application of "scientific" knowledge of the Orient is filtered by a colonialist consciousness.

Spengler's Decline of the West in its Colonial Context. David Choberka, University of Michigan, Ypsilanti, MI 48197-4606

Oswald Spengler's The Decline of the West became available to the German public in 1918, just as four years of catastrophic warfare were coming to a close and an equally traumatic internal crisis was taking shape. The time could not have been more opportune and inopportune for the book's reception. Widely received as a document of Germany's crisis, Spengler's work, with its theory of inevitable cultural decline and assertion that the West was in the latter, violent stages of that process, was commercially successful and, more importantly, permeated cultural political debates. In that respect, the time of its publication could not have been better. But the apparent link between the book and Germany's immediate problems caused the much grander scope that Spengler had intended to be often overlooked. Absolutely formative to Spengler's depiction of Western decline in his first, most famous book and his later writings was European colonialism and the process of globalization. In my research, I use some of the tools and questions developed in postcolonial studies to examine critically the ways in which Spengler's vision of Western decline and Germany's future is framed within a colonizer's image of the world and fear of its collapse.

Auf die Frage: "Was ist Deutsch(Rap)"--Language and Nation in Recent German Rap Music. Jonathan Wipplinger, University of Michigan, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1275

As a transnational expression of what Paul Gilroy has called the "Black Atlantic," hip hop is an especially well-suited form for the articulation of liminal and stigmatized subjectivities within late capitalism. Across the globe, hip hop culture and its musical expression, rap, have emerged as an aesthetic and political form through which locally excluded groups can voice opposition to racial, class, gender, language, and national stereotypes of the hegemonic culture. At the same time, each nation enacts the pastiche of hip hop in a localized manner. In Germany, the battles over rap have involved questions of language and nation specific to this country's post-unification identity. Working within the framework of Theodor Adorno's seminal work on the question of German-ness and German identity, my paper interrogates the shifting image of hip hop in contemporary Germany. …

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