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Decolonization in Germany

Poley, Jared

Decolonization in Germany

Weimar Narratives of Colonial Loss and Foreign Occupation
Second Printing

Series: Studies in Modern German Literature - Volume 99

Year of Publication: 2007

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2005, 2007. 281 pp.
ISBN 978-3-03911-330-9 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.420 kg, 0.926 lbs

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Book synopsis

When Germany lost its colonial empire after the Great War, many Germans were unsure how to understand this transition. They were the first Europeans to experience complete colonial loss, an event which came as Germany also wrestled with wartime collapse and foreign occupation.
In this book the author considers how Germans experienced this change from imperial power to postcolonial nation. This work examines what the loss of the colonies meant to Germans, and it analyzes how colonialist categories took on new meanings in Germany’s «post-colonial» period. Poley explores a varied collection of materials that ranges from the stories of popular writer Hanns Heinz Ewers to the novels, essays, speeches, pamphlets, posters, and archival materials of nationalist groups in the occupied Rhineland to show how decolonization affected Germans. When the relationships between metropole and colony were suddenly severed, Germans were required to reassess many things: nation and empire, race and power, sexuality and gender, economics and culture.


Contents: Colonial fiction and autobiography – Effects of colonial loss – Hanns Heinz Ewers (1871-1943) – Misogyny and imperial fantasies of empowerment – Expressionism and travel – Disease and metropolitan/colonial relationships – Colonial/postcolonial sexual violence – Metropolitan/colonial sexuality – Fantasies of hybrid combinations across the colonial/postcolonial divide – Rheinische Volkspflege – Alfred von Wrochem – Paul Rühlmann – Margarete Gärtner – Rhenish Separatism – Rheinische Frauenliga – Schwarze Schmach – German resistance to occupation, fantasies and anxieties of race – Racial and gender characteristics of Germans under French occupation – The occupation as inverted colonization – German analyses of the «colonization of the Rhineland by France».

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Author: Jared Poley is an assistant professor at Georgia State University, where he teaches European cultural and intellectual history and world history. He earned a doctorate in Modern European History in 2001 from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he was part of a rich intellectual environment that encouraged inter- and cross-disciplinary approaches to the study of the past.


«Poley’s book is a fascinating read and has much to offer students and researchers of German culture and literature as well as those interested in the effects of colonialism upon metropolitan society.» (Robbie Aitken, H-Net)


Studies in Modern German Literature. Vol. 99
General Editor: Peter D. G. Brown, SUNY New Paltz