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The Persistence of Race: Continuity and Change in Germany from the Wilhelmine Empire to National Socialism

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The Persistence of Race

Continuity and Change in Germany from the Wilhelmine Empire to National Socialism

Edited by Lara Day and Oliver Haag

274 pages, 20 illus., 5 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-594-5 $120.00/£86.00 Hb Published (October 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78533-595-2 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This is an impressively coherent and highly engaging volume. Although it covers ostensibly well-trodden ground, it offers numerous insights and makes thought-provoking connections into a variety of fields in which ‘race’ is significant. Each chapter offers a stimulating read and provides much food for thought.” · Dan Stone, Royal Holloway, University of London

“This edited volume is a welcome addition to existing scholarship on the German history of race. By focusing on cultural narratives in the crucial period between 1871 and 1945, and by incorporating global and transnational insights, the volume sets itself apart from previous work.” · Tuska Benes, College of William & Mary


Race in 20th-century German history is an inescapable topic, one that has been defined overwhelmingly by the narratives of degeneracy that prefigured the Nuremberg Laws and death camps of the Third Reich. As the contributions to this innovative volume show, however, German society produced a much more complex variety of racial representations over the first part of the century. Here, historians explore the hateful depictions of the Nazi period alongside idealized images of African, Pacific and Australian indigenous peoples, demonstrating both the remarkable fixity race had as an object of fascination for German society as well as the conceptual plasticity it exhibited through several historical eras.

Lara Day is an art and cultural historian who earned her doctorate at the University of Edinburgh. She has written on such topics as the artist Anselm Kiefer, collective guilt, and the Wilhelmine Heimatschutz movement, and is she currently preparing an intellectual biography of Paul Schultze-Naumburg for publication. She works for Artsy in Berlin.

Oliver Haag teaches at the University of Barcelona and is Visiting Professorial Fellow at Queen Mary’s College, Chennai. He is the co-editor of Ngapartji Ngapartji: Reciprocal Engagement (Australian National University Press) and has  authored a special issue of National Identities (Routledge). His scholarship has appeared in Continuum, Aboriginal History, Journal of New Zealand Studies, and Neohelicon, among others.

Subject: 20th Century History
Area: Germany



Oliver Haag & Lara Day


Chapter 1. The ‘Origin of the Germans’. Narratives, Academic Research, and Bad Cognitive Practice
Ulrich Charpa

Chapter 2. Fantasies of Mixture, Politics of Purity: Narratives of Miscegenation in Colonial Literature, Literary Primitivism, and Theories of Race (1900-1933)
Eva Blome

Chapter 3. Blüte und Zerfall: "Schematic Narrative Templates" of Decline and Fall in Völkisch and National Socialist Racial Ideology
Helen Roche


Chapter 4. Ernst Lissauer: Advocating Deutschtum Against Cultural Narratives of Race
Arne Offermanns

Chapter 5. The Jewish CEO and the Lutheran Bishop: The impact of German Colonial Studies on Young Jewish and Christian Academics’ Cultural Narratives of Race
Lukas Bormann


Chapter 6. Race and Ethnicity in German Criminology: On Crime Rates and the Polish Population in the Kaiserreich (1871–1914)
Volker Zimmermann

Chapter 7. Narratives of Race, Constructions of Community, and the Demand for Female Participation in German-Nationalist Movements in Austria and the German Reich
Johanna Gehmacher

Chapter 8. In the Crosshairs of Degeneracy and Race: The Wilhelmine Origins of the Construction of a National Aesthetic and Parameters of Normalcy in Weimar Germany
Lara Day


Chapter 9. "The White Goddess of the Masses": Stardom, Whiteness and Racial Masquerade in Weimar Popular Culture
Pablo Dominguez Andersen

Chapter 10. Idealized Australian Aboriginality in German Narratives of Race
Oliver Haag


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