The following extended remarks were occasioned by a spot on the H-German Web site that we have never announced to our network as a whole via e-mail. While we have made no secret of it (you can easily find it from our home page at www.h-net.msu.edu/~german), we haven't publicized it, either. I knew it was going to take a lot of effort to get it to even a rudimentary stage, and, frankly, the work of running this network was already enough. Still, I hoped that if we started quietly, a few people might notice and quietly offer to help.
About a year ago, after an inquiry from a subscriber about whether there was an agreed-upon corpus of must-read books and articles for today's graduate students in German history, I had the gall to decide that I would just start a bibliography of such works on our Web page. I added many titles myself and had the help of one of our network members for the entire section on Weimar, and the help of another for much of the Kaiserreich section. Other subscribers who have happened upon the Web page and found the bibliographies have sent in comments. I have been gathering other titles to be typed in at some future date when I have the time, energy, and inclination to turn back to the project. But it is far from complete, and may never get there, at least not without a lot of help.
These lists were never meant to please everybody, to include the works of all our subscribers, or to be comprehensive and include all valuable works in the field ever published. They were meant to be a good starting point for graduate students interested in German history, starting points that could, because of the nature of the Web, be updated continuously. And that's all they were meant to be. Maybe, as Andreas Kunze suggests below, they could be much more.
Originally my plan was to ask one or more experts in a given chronological sub-area of German history either to build a bibliography by herself/himself, or at least to monitor the titles that I was sticking up there. You can imagine that we are very shy about asking too many people for help, since we already have been so fortunate as to receive so much of your time for our book and article reviews and for other features. So while the Kaiserreich, Weimar, and Nazi periods are fairly well fleshed out, the others languish. Some haven't even been started and others may embarrass you by their incompleteness should you pay them a visit.
Andreas Kunze of the Fern-Universitaet Hagen has, like others in the past year, happened across the Graduate Readings page and found some things to comment on. He has much more to say about how we approach history in general and German history in particular. We are happy to post his comments below and invite considered replies from interested subscribers.
Submitted by: Andreas Kunze
The editors of H-German solicit postings on issues of research and methodology. They also encourage comments and additions to the H-German Reading List on German History. In combining these two invitations, I would like to draw the editors'--and hopefully, the newsgroup's--attention to some (1) tentative remarks on history methodology in general, and on methodology of modern German history in particular; (2) subjective suggestions for partly re-arranging and re-titling the Reading List; and (3) random titles that I know from my own research/teaching and that I would commend to be added to the list.
My field of interest is media and inter-cultural studies; I am working in the special setting of distance education and the New Media. I am interested, primarily, in issues concerning the gender approach and Historical Anthropology. One recent outcome of what I am doing is a study on "Heldischer Jugendstil. Frauen und Maenner, moderne Baukunst und gross-deutsche Geschichte" (forthcoming: Campus Frankfurt/M). - I would greatly appreciate responses from H-German colleagues.-
I. The H-German Reading List on German History covers eight chronological sections, from "Medieval" to "Germany since 1945". I would suggest, first of all and before looking at these sections, to introduce, at the top of the List, a dimension of (German) history that, to my mind, is of prime relevance to any of these phases. This is basic methodology of historical research in a broad, non-disciplinary, context.
It could be argued, obviously, that issues of methodology would be handled by the colleague specializing in this field. Yet I think that, in addition to that specialty domain, each "area" should demonstrate and maintain, in its own right, a strong linkage to foundations of epistemology and methodology. We need this foundational meeting place, I believe, right here at the top of our specific area Reading List--it provides for common reflection and permanent peer review of what we are doing in our actual and factual single histories.
This, it seems to me, is all the more true as we all, worldwide, do find ourselves in a decisive stage of transition from conventional to new approaches and outlooks. In history, this transition implies tendencies of a wholesome de-structuring and opening up the "discipline"; of merging with other scholarly, e. g. social sciences and anthropology, perspectives; and of shifting emphasis from nationalities and (male) power politics to the "world system" (Wallerstein), to culture as the encompassing notion underlying economics and politics, and, most fundamentally, to the single human being - be it female or male.
Female and male - this is, let's face it, the gender theme. In fact, and in short, I would espouse the gender approach as central and crucial to any historical research and societal activity. It is not general abstract "mankind" that we are dealing with. We are dealing, in all historical ages and in all ways of life, with concrete individual women and men. Anthropology and history do not concern "man", but woman and man. It is, I would maintain, the female-male relationship that is, and has been, shaping cultures and societies, even before class struggle or political institutions. My thesis is that this all-out gender-awareness will be, and must needs be, the starting point not only for the social positioning of women, but for any political, economic and ecological issue to be settled in oncoming times of worldwide innovations and transformations. "Women's Studies", as conceptualized and carried out at present, is most often an interesting but deplorably lonely add-on to just other-male-organized-"disciplines". The very core of Women's Studies, the notion of cultural gendering, should be taken out of its female-specific confinement. It should be transported where it belongs--to the academic mainstream, to economics, physics, history, and so on. It should be recognized and applied, not only by women, but also, as a matter of daily scholarly routines, by men. It is refreshing to note that the projected Berlin conference on "Military, War, and Gender", recently posted on H-German, establishes "the relevance of gender history for the study of such socially and politically important phenomena as the military and war". One may wonder, however, why the conference discourse is not supposed to transgress the 19th century; would it not be rewarding, as well, to emphasize "the relevance of gender history for the study of Germany-related extreme experiences of military and war, in the 30s and 40s of our century"?
I am arguing here in terms of a basic history methodology--to be put ahead of any area or national history teaching program, or Reading List. Three primary precepts of this methodology and historiography, I would claim, are gender, culture, and anthropology. A special notion, in this framework, would be: compassion; and two supporting categories would be: context and continuity.
These two latter categories, continuity and context, are most recommendable, I believe, with respect to a German history phenomenon par excellence: the Great-German Purificatory Destruction of the Jews. Under its popular but misleading label as "The Holocaust", this phenomenon is increasingly and depressingly abstracted from its innate context and continuity--the German "Sonderweg" cultural history of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The gist of my working hypothesis, regarding methodology in modern German history (I am still with the suggested foundational dimension of the H-German Reading List), is that this Sonderweg, or divergence from Western civilization, is the history not of Germans in general, but primarily of German middle-class men. For centuries, and in particular since the French Revolution of 1789, which was more of a German than a French event, German middle-class men were continually kept down and humiliated by their rivals, the ever-triumphant feudal power men. In compensatory and increasingly desperate and destructive quest for Reinheit (purity), Einheit (coherence), Geist, Kultur, Bildung, Menschentum, and a spiritual and redemptory Gross-Deutschland, the men of German Buergertum created that cultural pattern which has since become famous as "Deutscher Idealismus" or "Deutscher Geist". The salient feature of this male-German Mind is Reinheit. Originally, Reinheit was directed against woman--as low, niedrig, and impure, unrein. This is clearly the driving motive in the works of Goethe, Schiller and other education-zealous German Idealists and Humanists, from the late 18th century right through to the 50s and early 60s of our century. In the course of the 19th century, in the course of growing despair and anti-Western resentment, this most rigorous and pervasive anti-female quest for Reinheit and Einheit merged with "normal" (in a European comparative sense) anti-Jewish and, not to forget, anti-Slavic, and anti-proletarian eliminationism. (In the recent H-German debate on a book entitled "Hitler's Willing Executioners" (below: HWE), Shelley Baranowski reminded us, in view of the presently preponderant ahistorical "Holocaust" perspective, not to neglect labor movements and class conflicts.) Juden, Proleten, Zigeuner, Russen: the original anti-female bias was transferred to, and implemented on, the Untermenschen, the low, impure, incoherent, and filthy sub-, and lastly, non-humans. Modern German history is a history of male-engendered, strongly pedagogy-founded purification. One of the issues in the debate mentioned above was the question: "Were all Germans murderers?" This is missing the point. First, the persons in question were men. Second, German men were educators and purificators. They did not conceive of themselves as murderers--because they did not see those destruction-bound children, women, and men as human beings. "Der Jude wurde von uns nicht als Mensch anerkannt": testimony of an ordinary German man, in HWE 1996, German ed., 331. German men were educated to be heroic disposers. They were educated to heroically dispose of filthy, bacillus-infested, parasitic, contagious, impure, Jewish-communist-Slavic matter. What does my Roget's International Thesaurus tell me under "unclean" (680.22)? "Unwashed, impure, unpure, not to be handled without gloves". What does the photo in HWE, Germ. ed., 122 , show? A German ordinary man, with gloved hands, cutting off a Jewish man's beard. The gloved purificators had been educated by ordinary idealistic-minded German teachers and professors of pedagogy and philosophy. Filth and muck and vermin was associated, by these educationists and their "students", with what they dreaded most horrendously: effeminateness and femininity, feminine in-coherence and im-purity. They fought, hysterically (HWE: "hallucinatory"), all the world's Schweinerei. This is the other key term, next to Reinheit, in modern German history. I venture to say that both international "Holocaust" research and German Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung will be of little tangible avail if not German Idealism, that is the male-German culture concept of anti-female Reinheit versus Schweinerei, and if not the educational tenets of prominent men from the German "classical" or "humanist" era, like Humboldt, Schiller, Hegel, Goethe, are put on the agenda now. The Great-German Disposal of the Impure is a singular penomenon. Its haunting magnitude and inexpressible monstrosity call for an explanation that goes beyond conventionally political, poorly economic, piecemeal "complex", or harmless "human failure" approaches. In search of such an uncommon, thoroughgoing, and comprehensive explanation, I would be inclined to point to the woman-man-relationship in past and in present
These are remarks on methodology in (German) history. This is no back-door attempt to revive the debate on HWE (ruled out by the H-German editors). I refer to HWE for general historiography reasons. Regarding context, culture, and continuity, I would dare defend this book because it, at least, is one of the few works on the Great-German Destruction of the Impure, in recent years, to re-open the access to 19th century German cultural history, and to call, via this widening of perspective, the "Nazis" by their real name: Germans. Unfortunately, the author forgets to mention they were German men; he also forgets to look at non-Jewish victims of the purification terror; and he forgets to ask the one crucial question - just why was German men's anti-Jewish obsession so visceral? ("Anti-semitism", in the end, is male-German purism; and it is this purism that functions as the common denominator of all those exterminatory deeds of ordinary German men.) Nevertheless, there is one strand in the methodology of HWE that, to my mind, is most innovative and most laudable, one that I would even single out as anticipating a new, liberatory historiography: from institutionalism to compassionism, or sympathism. The author insists, in contrast to prevalent Ereignisgeschichte (Jacob Burckhardt), on bringing to mind "jedes grausame Bild", and "jeden Angst- und Schmerzensschrei" (HWE, German ed., 38) of children, women, and men, humiliated, tortured, agonized, and killed, in unspeakably revolting ways, by German ordinary men. The author of HWE goes straight down to the hard facts. These are not institutions, nor logistics, nor percentages. The hard facts are the facts of anthropology: individual suffering, individual killing, individual sympathy and compassion. The heart of HWE, to sum up, is the little-girl-scenario, German ed., 260, depicting the walk, of the purificator and the object to be disposed, towards the place of final disposal: "Neben einigen der Deutschen gingen gewiss Kinder. Hoechstwahrscheinlich waren sie daheim in Deutschland froehlich und neugierig mit ihren eigenen Kindern durch den Wald gestreift. Welche Gedanken und Gefuehle bewegten diese Maenner jetzt, da sie Seite an Seite mit einem vielleicht acht-oder zwoelfjaehrigen Maedchen marschierten, das fuer einen nicht-ideologisieren Geist wie jedes andere Maedchen aussah? In diesen Augenblicken hatte jeder der Moerder eine persoenliche, direkte Beziehung zu seinem Ofer, zu seinem kleinen Maedchen. Nahm er ueberhaupt ein kleines Maedchen wahr, und fragte er sich, warum er kurz davor war, dieses kleine, zarte menschliche Wesen zu toeten?"
So much about compassionism, men and women, and educational Idealism in German modern history. The outset of my reflections was my suggestion to place a well-fitted foundational methodology tier right at the head of the German History Reading List. My excursion on the man-driven Great German Purification was just meant to illustrate my conception of what I advocate to become key components of that methodology: gender, culture, and anthropology; compassion, context, and continuity. My excursion was, above all, an outline towards Gender Studies Applied. The cultural turn in historiography, it seems, is pretty well established; what should follow now is the contentual realization of that cultural turn through the concept of gender. Much of what I am bringing up here about context and continuity in modern German history, I owe to an older, pre-"Holocaust", school of historiography, represented by Fritz Stern's lastingly masterful book on "The Politics of Cultural Despair. A Study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology" (Garden City, 1965--it is on the Reading List!); what I imagine is a kind of outreach application of that approach to "Studies in the Rise of Cultural Gendering".
II. That said, I would plead for partly re-arranging and re-titling the Reading List as follows.
1. I would introduce a foundational methodology section.
2. I would introduce an underpinning section with titles on German history as an entity.
3. I would create a new, comprehensive, section on "Modern Germany"; to succeed the "Early Modern" section.
The "Modern" section would comprise all the small compartments--1789 to 1870, Kaiserreich, Weimar, 1933-1945, after 1945--which now hold the same classificatory level as the large sections "Medieval", "Ren. & Ref.", and "Early Mod."
The "Modern" section would cover the time span from 1789 to 1989--the year of the Fall of the Wall.
I would introduce a comprehensive compartment, and partly re-name the compartments within the ,Modern" section: - 1789-1989 Comprehensive - 1789-1870 Prussia and Germany - 1871-1918 Kaiserreich - 1919-1933 Weimar - 1933-1949 Great-Germany and its Aftermath.
I opt for "Great-G." (Gross-Deutschland) because this is an older notion than "NS", it encompasses German society as a whole, and it takes the 30s and 40s back into the context of German history. "NS" has assumed, I contend, connotations of being imposed, by an outsider group called "The Nazis", on Germans and German history. - Again, on the continuity line, I would extend this phase up to 1949, the founding year of the BRD and the DDR.
The final compartment of "Modern" would be: - 1949-1989 The Two Germanies.
4. "Modern" would be followed by "Post-Modern", beginning 1989.
III. My German History Reading List structure_with a few titles suggested for addition_would look like this:
1. Foundational Methodology.
Benhabib, Seyla. Situating the Self. 1992. (German: Selbst im Kontext. Frankfurt/M 1995. Containing an excellent article on Hegel.)
Burckhardt, Jacob: Einleitung, Griechische Kulturgeschichte, vol. 1. Darmstadt 1982.
Burke, Peter. New Perspectives on Historical Writing. Cambridge 1992.
Dressel, Gert: Historische Anthropologie. Eine Einfuehrung. Koeln 1996.
Feyerabend, Paul. Die Torheit der Philosophen. Dialoge ueber die Erkenntnis. Hamburg 1995. (English: Platonic Phantasies. Concluding unphilosophical walk in the woods. 1990.)
Geertz, Clifford. Interpretation of Cultures. Selected Essays. London 1993.
Harding, Sandra. Whose Science? Whose Knowledge? Milton Keynes: 1991. (German: Das Geschlecht des Wissens. Frauen denken die Wissenschaft neu. Frankfurt/M 1994.)
Hardtwig, Wolfgang (Hg.): Wege zur Kulturgeschichte. (Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 23, 1997, No. 1.) Goettingen 1997.
Iggers, Georg G.: Geschichtswissenschaft im 20. Jahrhundert. Ein kritischer UEberblick im internationalen Zusammenhang. Goettingen 1996.
Jacobus, Mary, et al. (eds.): Body/Politics. Women an dthe Discourse of Science. New York 1990.
Kozicki, Henry (ed.): Developments in Modern Historiography. Basingstoke 1993.
Mazlish, Bruce, R. Buultjens (eds.): Conceptualizing Global History. Boulder 1993.
Scott, Joan. History and the Politics of Gender. Princeton 1988.
Steiner, George. In Blaubarts Burg. Anmerkungen zur Neubestimmung der Kultur. Wien 1991. (English: In Bluebeard's Castle. Some Notes towards the redefinition of culture. 1971.)
Todorov, Tzvetan: Abenteuer des Zusammenlebens. Versuch einer allgemeinen Anthropologie. Berlin 1996.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. Unthinking Social Science. The Limits of Nineteenth-Century Paradigms. Cambridge 1991. (German: Die Sozialwissenschaft "kaputtdenken". Die Grenzen der Paradigmen des 19. Jahrhunderts. Weinheim 1995.)
2. German history in its (relative) entity
Behnen, Michael. Deutsche Geschichte. Von den Anfaengen bis zur Wiedervereinigung. Stuttgart 1991.
Valentin, Veit. Geschichte der Deutschen. Cologne 1991.
Wehler, Hans-Ulrich (ed.). Scheidewege der deutschen Geschichte. Von der Reformation bis zur Wende, 1517-1989. Munich 1995
Behm-Blancke, Guenter. Gesellschaft und Kunst der Germanen. Die Thueringer und ihre Welt. Dresden 1973 .
Schlette, Friedrich. Germanen zwischen Thorsberg und Ravenna. Leipzig 1980
4. Renaissance and Reformation
5. Early Modern
6. Modern 1789-1989
6.1 1789-1989 (relatively) Comprehensive .
Aly, Goetz. Macht, Geist, Wahn. Kontinuitaeten deutschen Denkens. Berlin 1997.
Blackbourn, David, Geoff Eley. The peculiarities of German history. Bourgeois society and politics in 19th century Germany. Oxford 1984 .
Erspamer, Peter R. The elusiveness of tolerance: the "Jewish question" from Lessing to the napoleonic Wars. Chapel Hill 1997.
Hermand, Jost, James Steakley (eds.). Heimat, Nation, Fatherland. The German sense of belonging. New York 1996.
Krockow, Christian Graf v. Die Deutschen in ihrem Jahrhundert, 1890-1990. Reinbek 1990.
Levy, Richard S. Antisemitism in the Modern World. An Anthology of Texts. Lexington 1991.
Pross, Harry (ed.). Die Zerstoerung der deutschen Politik. Dokumente 1871-1933. Frankfurt/M 1983.
Mosse, George L. The Crisis of German Ideology. Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich. New York 1964.
Rose, Paul L. German Question/Jewish Question... Princeton 1992 .
Sombart, Nicolaus. Die deutschen Maenner und ihre Feinde. Carl Schmitt: ein deutsches Schicksal zwischen Maennerbund und Matriarchatsmythos. Munich 1991. (A major work, combining gender and culture studies.)
Theweleit, Klaus. Maennerphantasien. 2 vols. Reinbek 1980/81. (The classic on violent Great-German men and male/female relations.)
6.2 1789-1871 Prussia and Germany
6.3 1871-1918 Kaiserreich
6.4 1919-1933 Weimar
Gay, Peter. Weimar Culture. The Outsiders as Insiders. 1968. (German: Die Republik der Aussenseiter. Geist und Kultur in der Weimarer Zeit, 1918-1933. Frankfurt/M 1987.
6.5 1933-1949 Great-Germany.
Barron, Stephanie (ed.). "Entartete Kunst". Das Schicksal der Avantgarde im Nazi-Deutschland. Munich 1992. (English: "Degenerate Art". The fate of the avantgarde in Nazi Gemany. 1991. ) .
Friedlander, Saul. Probing the Limits of Representation. Nazism and the Final Solution. Cambridge, Mass. 1992.
Gellately, Robert. The Gestapo and German Society: enforcing racial policy, 1933-1945. Oxford 1991.
Hofer, Walther (ed.). Der Nationalsozialismus. Dokumente 1933-1945. Frankfurt/M 1992.
Kershaw, Ian. Stalinism and Nazism. Dictatorships in Comparison. Cambridge 1997.
Milfull, John (ed.). Why Germany? National socialist anti-semitism and the European context. Providence 1993.
Weiss, John. Ideology of Death. Why the Holocaust happened in Germany. Chicago 1996.
6.6 1949-1989 The Two Germanies .
Broszat, Martin, et al. (eds.). Von Stalingrad zur Waehrungsreform. Zur Sozialgeschichte des Umbruchs in Deutschland. Munich 1988.
Hermand, Jost. Kultur im Wiederaufbau. Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland 1945-1965. Munich 1986.
7. Post-Modern, 1989-
Kuerthen, Hermann, et al. (eds.). Antisemitism and Xenophobia in Gemany after Unification. Oxford 1997.
Concluding note, just for fun and for the friends of literature as historical source material-- a line from 19th century pre-surrealist Vienna writer Johann Nepomuk Nestroy (a favorite of Paul Feyerabend's) "Ich hab' einmal einen alten Isabellenschimmel an ein' Ziegelwagen g'sehn. Seitdem bring' ich die Zukunft gar nicht mehr aus'm Sinn."Andreas Kunze,