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Weimar Publics/Weimar Subjects: Rethinking the Political Culture of Germany in the 1920s

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Volume 2

Spektrum: Publications of the German Studies Association

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Weimar Publics/Weimar Subjects

Rethinking the Political Culture of Germany in the 1920s

Edited by Kathleen Canning, Kerstin Barndt, and Kristin McGuire

420 pages, 24 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-689-4 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (August 2010)

ISBN  978-1-78238-107-5 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (July 2013)

eISBN 978-1-84545-846-1 eBook

Hb Pb   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


"The interpretative and methodological pluralism, which is evident throughout [this volume]is a major strength, rendering the volume ideally suited for graduate courses in modern European and German history. By covering an extraordinary range of topics and analytical perspectives, the book opens up a fascinating panoramic view onto ‘the landscapes of ambition and hope, promise and disappointment that galvanized new publics during the Weimar era.’” · Journal of Modern History

“…taken together [these articles] provide an excellent and stimulating introduction to current ways of thinking and writing about the Weimar Republic since the ‘cultural turn’. A common theme running through each contribution is the role of individual consciousness and its striving to be heard and expressed in an age when notions of community and collective struggle were also high up on the artistic and political agenda.“  ·  German History

These essays are interesting and useful for the material they present…the efforts it presents in rethinking the existing scholarship and adding new material has much to offer scholars of the Weimar era.”  ·  European History Quarterly


In spite of having been short-lived, “Weimar” has never lost its fascination. Until recently the Weimar Republic’s place in German history was primarily defined by its catastrophic beginning and end - Germany’s defeat in 1918 and the Nazi seizure of power in 1933; its history seen mainly in terms of politics and as an arena of flawed decisions and failed compromises. However, a flourishing of interdisciplinary scholarship on Weimar political culture is uncovering arenas of conflict and change that had not been studied closely before, such as gender, body politics, masculinity, citizenship, empire and borderlands, visual culture, popular culture and consumption. This collection offers new perspectives from leading scholars in the disciplines of history, art history, film studies, and German studies on the vibrant political culture of Germany in the 1920s. From the traumatic ruptures of defeat, revolution, and collapse of the Kaiser’s state, the visionaries of Weimar went on to invent a republic, calling forth new citizens and cultural innovations that shaped the republic far beyond the realms of parliaments and political parties.

Kathleen Canning is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of History, Women’s Studies, and German at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Languages of Labor and Gender: Female Factory Work in Germany, 1850-1914 (2nd ed., University of Michigan Press 2002) and Gender History in Practice: Historical Perspectives on Bodies, Class, and Citizenship (Cornell University Press 2006). She is currently a board member of Central European History and the Journal of Modern History.

Kerstin Barndt is Associate Professor of German Studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Sentiment und Sachlichkeit. Der Roman de Neuen Frau in der Weimarer Republik (Böhlau 2004) and several articles on German modernism, gender theory, and the history of reading. Her current book project Exhibition Time. History, Memory, and Aesthetics in Germany focuses on contemporary exhibition culture against the backdrop of national unification, migration, and deindustrialization.

Kristin McGuire is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan and co-Director of the Global Feminisms Project based at the University of Michigan. She is the co-author of Global Feminisms through a Virtual Archive (SIGNS 2010). She is currently working on a book manuscript, Activism, Intimacy and Selfhood which offers a comparative historical analysis of women activists in Germany and Poland from 1890-1918; and co-editing a volume of translated essays entitled Women on Nietzsche, Gender, and Sexuality: An Anthology of European Women’s Writings, 1880-1920. Cover image: Marianne Brandt, Es wird marschiert(1928)

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present Gender Studies and Sexuality
Area: Germany


List of Illustrations
List of Contributors

Kathleen Canning


Chapter 1. The Return of the Undead: Weimar Cinema and the Great War
Anton Kaes

Chapter 2. The Work of Art and the Problem of Politics in Berlin Dada
Brigid Doherty

Chapter 3. The Secret History of Photomontage: on the Origins of the Composite Form and the Weimar Photomontages of Marianne Brandt
Elizabeth Otto


Chapter 4. Mother, Citizens, and Consumers. Female Readers in Weimar Germany
Kerstin Barndt

Chapter 5. Claiming Citizenship: Suffrage and Subjectivity in Germany after the First World War
Kathleen Canning

Chapter 6. Feminist Politics beyond the Reichstag: A Radical Vision of Reform in the Weimar Republic
Kristin McGuire

Chapter 7. Producing Jews: Maternity, Eugenics, and the Embodiment of the Jewish Subject
Sharon Gillerman


Chapter 8. Reforming the Reich: Democratic Symbols and Rituals in the Weimar Republic
Manuela Achilles

Chapter 9. High Expectations – Deep Disappointment: Structures of the Public Perception of Politics in the Weimar Republic
Thomas Mergel

Chapter 10. Contested Narratives of the Weimar Republic: The Case of the "Kutisker-Barmat Scandal"
Martin Geyer

Chapter 11. Political Violence, Contested Public Space, and Reasserted Masculinity in Weimar Germany
Dirk Schumann


Chapter 12.  “A Self-Representation of the Masses”: Siegfried Kracauer's Curious Americanism
Miriam Hansen

Chapter 13. Neither Masses Nor Individuals. Representations of the Collective in Inter-War German Culture
Stefan Jonsson

Chapter 14. Cultural Capital in Decline:Inflation and the Distress of Intellectuals
Bernd Widdig


Chapter 15. Defining the Nation in Crisis: Citizenship Policy in the Early Weimar Republic
Annemarie Sammartino

Chapter 16. Gender and Colonial Politics after the Versailles Treaty
Lora Wildenthal

Chapter 17. The Economy of Experience in Weimar Germany
Peter Fritzsche


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