Jürgen Zimmerer

Nov 29, 2023

Memory Wars

New German Historical Consciousness

Reclam Verlag 2023

Erinnerungskämpfe: Neues deutsches Geschichtsbewusstsein (Ditzingen: Reclam, 2023) is a new, provocative  volume on German memory cultures and politics edited by Jürgen Zimmerer. What can be loosely translated as Memory Wars: New German Historical Consciousness is a collection of chapters that lay bare a mosaic of a diverse German memory landscape as well as the major debates and turning points by which it is continuously shaped. It is subdivided in five sections together encompassing 23 chapters and covers German Empire and colonialism, National Socialism and the Second World War, the Holocaust and multidirectional memory, East/West Germany and reunification, and, finally, today's Berlin Republic. This volume gains in relevance by the day and shows how the German past(s) and the way they are debated, commemorated, and weaponized today and by whom has real-life, if not existential, consequences. It is far from an exclusively German matter. Memory Wars: New German Historical Consciousness is of interest for all those who critically engage with the instrumentalization of memory in ongoing cultural wars in other national contexts as well, such as the heated debates and rightwing attacks in the United States and elsewhere surrounding fields such as Critical Race Theory, Gender or Queer Studies that emerge out of the White Supremacist backlash and the concomitant increase in racism, trans- and homophobia.

Jürgen Zimmerer is Professor of Global History and the head of the research center “Hamburg’s (post-)colonial legacy” at the University of Hamburg. He served as the founding president of the International Network of Genocide Scholars for twelve years until 2017 and was the Senior Editor of the Journal of Genocide from 2005 to 2011. His research interests include German Colonialism, Comparative Genocide studies, Colonialism and the Holocaust, and Environmental Violence and Genocide and, for the specific German context, his work has been crucial in revealing the deep connections between the Holocaust and German colonialism – up until that point two German histories of violence hegemonically thought of as ontologically different, if thought together at all. His publications include German Rule, African Subjects: State Aspirations and the Reality of Power in Colonial Namibia (2021) and From Windhoek to Auschwitz? Reflections on the Relationship between Colonialism and National Socialism forthcoming in English in 2024.

Miriam Chorley-Schulz is an Assistant Professor and Mokin Fellow of Holocaust Studies at the University of Oregon and the co-founder of the EU-funded project We Refugees. Digital Archive on Refugeedom, Past and Present. She holds a Ph.D. in Yiddish Studies from Columbia University and is the author of Der Beginn des Untergangs: Die Zerstörung der jüdischen Gemeinden in Polen und das Vermächtnis des Wilnaer Komitees (Berlin: Metropol, 2016) which was awarded the “Hosenfeld/Szpilman Memorial Award.”

Henriette Sölter is a communications and PR consultant with expertise on the interface of contemporary art and culture, international perennial formats, and strategic institutional positioning. She has worked with institutions such as documenta, Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), is a member of Bergen Assembly's executive board and is part of the New Patrons network for citizen-commissioned art.

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Miriam Schulz

Miriam Chorley-Schulz (neé Schulz) holds a Ph.D. in Yiddish Studies from Columbia University. She is an Assistant Professor and Mokin Fellow in Holocaust Studies at the University of Oregon. Miriam is the co-founder of the EU-funded project We Refugees. Digital Archive on Refugeedom, Past and Present and the author of the award-winning monograph Der Beginn des Untergangs: Die Zerstörung der jüdischen Gemeinden in Polen und das Vermächtnis des Wilnaer Komitees (Berlin: Metropol, 2016).

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