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Lezing | Gesprek Frank Biess: New Visions Of German History (Goethe-Institut Amsterdam)

23 March 2021 @ 18:00


Historians tend to describe German postwar society as ‘too good to be true’. Frank Biess, together with historian Astrid Eckert, stresses the vulnerability of this discourse of Westernization. Uncertainty about the future of Western-style modernity makes it necessary to rethink the history of the Federal Republic and to question its success stories. How does pollution fit into the narrative of the economic miracle of the 1950s? What is the place of women in the gendered myth of 1968, often misleadingly explained as a clash between Nazi fathers and their antifascist sons? And how do immigrants relate to holocaust memory, or is holocaust memory used to exclude immigrants from German memory culture?

The cesura of 1989-1990 underlines the need for a new narrative which moves away from ill-defined concepts of Western modernity. The post-1989 period can no longer function as just an epilogue of the postwar years.
In his lecture, Frank Biess will elaborate on the need for new syntheses of German postwar history.
His visions are commented upon by Natalie Scholz, Moritz Föllmer and Jacco Pekelder.

Frank Biess is Professor of History at the University of California-San Diego. His main research has focused on the post-1945 period with an emphasis on memory, emotions, gender, and political cultures. He previously published Homecomings – Returning POWs and the Legacies of Defeat in Postwar Germany as well as a series of edited volumes and articles. He recently also edited the special issue New Narratives for the History of the Federal Republic of Germany, Central European History 52. His new project explores the interwar Weimar Republic as one of the first postcolonial states.

I.s.m. Duitsland Instituut Amsterdam en Academisch-Cultureel Podium Spui 25.


23 March 2021
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Goethe-Institut Amsterdam
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