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>From:         Michael Perraudin <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject: CFP: German Colonialism workshop
>
>Interdisciplinary conference
>
>War, Genocide and Memory.
>German Colonialism and National Identity
>
>(Sheffield: 11-13 September 2006)
>
>Convenors: Jürgen Zimmerer/Michael Perraudin
>
>Workshop of the Arbeitskreis Militärgeschichte e.V.
>in cooperation with the Department of Germanic Studies, Department of
>History and Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, University of Sheffield,
>the Nordic Africa Insti-tute, Uppsala, and the European Network of Genocide
>Scholars (ENOGS)
>
>
>
>For almost sixty years, since the end of World War II, the German public
>had forgotten about its colonial empire. Whereas other European powers
>experienced the traumatic violence of decolonisation, Germans believed that
>they had nothing to do with the colonial exploitation of large parts of
>Africa, Asia or South America. They were innocent - so many believed - of
>the devastations brought about by European colonialism and could therefore
>engage with the new postcolonial world without the dark shadow of a
>colonial past. Some observers have termed this ‘colonial amnesia’.
>
>Such suppression was severely shaken in 2004, when the centenary of the
>genocide of the Her-ero and Nama peoples confronted a wide German audience
>with German atrocities of a hun-dred years before. The first German
>genocide, as it was called, attracted media coverage, and in August 2004
>the German government officially apologised for the atrocities. After
>Germany’s attempts to come to terms with its Nazi past, this step was seen
>by many international observ-ers as a major break-through in global
>attempts to right historic wrongs, especially those com-mitted in a
>colonial context. In Germany, the official apology, far from marking
>closure on a dark chapter in German history, sparked a variety of agitated
>responses. Instead of acknowl-edging the act as a much-needed step in the
>process of coming to terms with the colonial past, conservative circles
>denounced the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Develop-ment,
>Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, who had delivered the apology, as a ‘traitor’.
>Others wor-ried about claims for reparations by the Herero, and the German
>tabloid ‘BILD’ asked on its front page, ‘What will be the cost of the
>minister’s tears?’, deriding her carefully crafted state-ment as being the
>result of female sentiment. Wieczorek-Zeul’s courageous act had obviously
>touched a nerve. Whereas some felt encouraged to bring other German
>colonial atrocities into the limelight, for example the Maji-Maji war in
>German East Africa, the centenary of which fell in 2005, others have
>attempted to rewrite Germany’s colonial past by emphasizing the ex-otic
>aspects of Germany’s colonial undertaking, and by disconnecting the
>imperial past from the positive strands of German history. A dubious
>documentary on prime-time German televi-sion, which made repeated use of
>colonial stereotypes, marked - for the time being - the ex-treme point of
>this endeavour.
>
>Nevertheless, the debate shows that Germany has finally arrived at a
>postcolonial European normality, where its own historical relationship with
>the world is part of a lively debate not only about the past, but also
>about the future. Migration, multiculturalism and xenophobia are only some
>of the topics which are substantially shaped by Germany’s memory of the
>past. Co-lonialism was central to Wilhelminian discourse on national
>identity, to the country’s under-standing of itself as a world power; and
>now discussion about the German empire seems to be resurfacing as part of a
>German discourse of self-understanding and self-reassurance in the
>aftermath of Unification.
>
>The proposed workshop will address Germany’s biased and troubled
>relationship with its colo-nial past over the course of two centuries. As
>postcolonial studies have shown, colonial en-gagement neither started nor
>ended with formal colonial rule. Thus we invite papers dealing with all
>aspects of the encounters of Germany and Germans with imagined or real
>colonial em-pires, from the Enlightenment to the present day. Papers
>addressing the problems from a trans-national or comparative perspective,
>papers dealing with the landscapes of memory in the for-mer German
>colonies, and papers offering literary and other cultural-historical
>perspectives are all especially welcome. Contributions from practitioners
>in any relevant discipline are encour-aged.
>
>Possible topics include:
>
>• Local Histories, Local Memories
>• Heroic Discourses in the Imperial Centre
>• Colonialism, Literature and Culture
>• Uses and Abuses of History for Postcolonial Nation-Building
>• Guilt, Responsibility and National Identity
>• Shared History, Shared Memory
>• Coming to Terms with a Colonial Past
>• Colonialism before the Empire; colonialism after the end of Empire
>
>Papers will be 20-25 minutes long, and will be presented and discussed in
>English. To apply to deliver a paper at the conference, please send by
>email an abstract of a few lines plus a brief c.v. simultaneously to BOTH
>[log in to unmask] AND [log in to unmask]
>
>Deadline for submission: March 1st 2006.
>
>Limited funds may be available to subsidise non-salaried participants.

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