"Race relations" are a controversial topic in today's Germany. Have Germans learned from the past? How far back must one go to understand the tensions, prejudices, and strategies that have marked race relations in the recently unified nation? The Imperialist Imagination explores the German preoccupation with racial and ethnic differences throughout the past two centuries, in a colonial and "postcolonial" context.
Germany's belated national unification in 1870, its short colonial period (1884-1918), and the loss of its colonies as a consequence of World War I, rather than through wars of liberation, generated very different colonial and postcolonial conditions from those in Britain and France. This volume's sixteen essays investigate how, as a consequence of these conditions, Germans imagined their relationship to racial and ethnic others: how they supported and contested colonization during the colonial period, how their colonial fantasies fed into the Nazis' racial and expansionary policies after the loss of German colonies, and how they represent their relationship to German minorities and "foreigners" within and outside Germany today.
The contributors include scholars in literature, history, art history, political science, philosophy, ethnography, film, popular culture, photography, and theater. The anthology will appeal not only to Germanists but to all those interested in postcolonial and cultural studies.
Sara Friedrichsmeyer is Professor of German, University of Cincinnati. Sara Lennox is Professor of German, University of Massachusetts.
Susanne Zantop is Professor of German and Comparative Literature, Dartmouth College.