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Ecologies of Socialisms

Germany, Nature, and the Left in History, Politics, and Culture


Edited By Sabine Mödersheim, Scott Moranda and Eli Rubin

This volume explores the complex webs of interaction between the environmental movement, socialism, and the «natural» environment in Germany, and beyond, in the twentieth century. There has long been a divide between the environmental, or «green,» movement and socialist movements in Germany, a divide that has expressed itself in scholarship and intellectual discourse. And yet, upon closer inspection, the split between «red» and «green» is not as clear as it might at first seem. Indeed, little about the interaction between socialism and environmentalism, or socialism and the environment, fits into a neat binary. In a way, the discourses, positions, and policies
that structure the interactions between environmentalism, nature, and socialism in German history and culture can be said to constitute a kind of ecology – a complex and interdependent web of relations, which can appear as antagonisms, but which can also contain deeper, less immediately visible, interdependencies. Ecologies of Socialisms attempts to combine the work of scholars from a wide range of disciplines (history, literature, German/Austrian studies, philosophy, geography) in order to contribute to a better and more nuanced understanding of how «green» and «red» have clashed and also merged in German history and culture.

«Ecologies of Socialisms invites readers on a rewarding journey that leads to a much richer understanding of the Left in recent German history and culture. The relationship between socialism and environmental thought is explored via multiple pathways, all of them questioning our firm beliefs in the incompatibility of ecology and socialism – a welcome addition to recent debates in the environmental humanities.» (Sabine Wilke, Professor of German, University of Washington)

«For many today, ecological socialism is either the most urgent political dream or the gravest political threat. This book tells the history of the tensions between ‘red’ and ‘green’ under conditions of actual existing socialism in East Germany. It shows in detail how attachment to ‘prometheanism’ and dedication to growth upset divisions of Left and Right. Through contributions from some of German history’s most important younger scholars, it helps us understand the past but, perhaps more importantly, to think more clearly about the challenges of the present.» (Quinn Slobodian, author of Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism)