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How do we explain the persistent preoccupation with American Indians in Germany and the staggering numbers of Germans one encounters as visitors to Indian country? As H. Glenn Penny demonstrates, that preoccupation is rooted in an affinity for American Indians that has permeated German cultures for two centuries. This affinity stems directly from German polycentrism, notions of tribalism, a devotion to resistance, a longing for freedom, and a melancholy sense of shared fate. Locating the origins of the fascination for Indian life in the transatlantic world of German cultures in the nineteenth century, Penny explores German settler colonialism in the American Midwest, the rise and fall of German America, and the transnational worlds of American Indian performers. As he traces this phenomenon through the twentieth century, Penny engages debates about race, masculinity, comparative genocides, and American Indians' reactions to Germans' interests in them. He also assesses what persists of the affinity across the political ruptures of modern German history and challenges readers to rethink how cultural history is made.
How do we explain the persistent preoccupation with American Indians in Germany and the staggering numbers of Germans one encounters as visitors to Indian country? As H. Glenn Penny demonstrates, that preoccupation is rooted in an affinity for American Indians that has permeated German cultures for two centuries. He also assesses what persists of the affinity across the political ruptures of modern German history and challenges readers to rethink how cultural history is made.
"This is cultural history at its best. Jelavich offers a compelling case study that illuminates the 'death of Weimar culture' in chilling detail. No other work informs us so masterfully about the mechanisms of media censorship and authorial self-censorship during the last years of the Weimar Republic."—Bernd Widdig, author of Culture and Inflation in Weimar Germany "Jelavich's unique approach constitutes a brilliant achievement. He constructs a prism of the novel, radio play, and film of Berlin Alexanderplatz that reflects the political, social, and cultural conditions of the disintegrating Weimar Republic against the rise of Nazism."—Michael H. Kater, author of Hitler Youth "Berlin Alexanderplatz represents historical and cultural scholarship at its best. Though meticulously researched and documented, Jelavich does not drown the reader in historical data. This is a stimulating and persuasive read."—Lutz Koepnick, author of Dark Mirror: German Cinema between Hollywood and Hitler
Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana's life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.
Worldly Provincialism introduces readers to the intellectual history that drove the emergence of German anthropology. Drawing on the most recent work on the history of the discipline, the contributors rethink the historical and cultural connections between German anthropology, colonialism, and race. By showing that German intellectual traditions differed markedly from those of Western Europe, they challenge the prevalent assumption that Europeans abroad shared a common cultural code and behaved similarly toward non-Europeans. The eloquent and well-informed essays in this volume demonstrate that early German anthropology was fueled by more than a simple colonialist drive. Rather, a wide range of intellectual history shaped the Germans' rich and multifarious interest in the cultures, religions, physiognomy, physiology, and history of non-Europeans, and gave rise to their desire to connect with the wider world. Furthermore, this volume calls for a more nuanced understanding of Germany's standing in postcolonial studies. In contrast to the prevailing view of German imperialism as a direct precursor to Nazi atrocities, this volume proposes a key insight that goes to the heart of German historiography: There is no clear trajectory to be drawn from the complex ideologies of imperial anthropology to the race science embraced by the Nazis. Instead of relying on a nineteenth-century explanation for twentieth-century crimes, this volume ultimately illuminates German ethnology and anthropology as local phenomena, best approached in terms of their own worldly provincialism. H. Glenn Penny is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Matti Bunzl Assistant Professor of Anthropology and History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
American Indians and the American Imaginary considers the power of representations of Native Americans in American public culture. The book's wide-ranging case studies move from colonial captivity narratives to modern film, from the camp fire to the sports arena, from legal and scholarly texts to tribally-controlled museums and cultural centres. The author's ethnographic approach to what she calls "representational practices" focus on the emergence, use, and transformation of representations in the course of social life. Central themes include identity and otherness, indigenous cultural politics, and cultural memory, property, performance, citizenship and transformation. American Indians and the American Imaginary will interest general readers as well as scholars and students in anthropology, history, literature, education, cultural studies, gender studies, American Studies, and Native American and Indigenous Studies. It is essential reading for those interested in the processes through which national, tribal, and indigenous identities have been imagined, contested, and refigured.
This engaging collection of essays discusses the complexities of “being” indigenous in public spaces. Laura R. Graham and H. Glenn Penny bring together a set of highly recognized junior and senior scholars, including indigenous scholars, from a variety of fields to provoke critical thinking about the many ways in which individuals and social groups construct and display unique identities around the world. The case studies in Performing Indigeneity underscore the social, historical, and immediate contextual factors at play when indigenous people make decisions about when, how, why, and who can “be” indigenous in public spaces. Performing Indigeneity invites readers to consider how groups and individuals think about performance and display and focuses attention on the ways that public spheres, both indigenous and nonindigenous ones, have received these performances. The essays demonstrate that performance and display are essential to the creation and persistence of indigeneity, while also presenting the conundrum that in many cases “indigeneity” excludes some of the voices or identities that the category purports to represent.
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