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Imagining Germany Imagining Asia

Imagining Germany Imagining Asia: Essays in Asian-German Studies

Veronika Fuechtner
Mary Rhiel
Volume: 136
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Imagining Germany Imagining Asia
    Book Description:

    The first collection of essays in the new field of Asian-German Studies, Imagining Germany Imagining Asia demonstrates that Germany and Asia have always shared cultural spaces. Indeed, since the time of the German Enlightenment, Asia served as the foil for fantasies of sexuality, escape, danger, competition, and racial and spiritual purity that were central to foundational ideas of a cohesive German national culture during crucial historical junctures such as fascism or reunification. By exploring the complex and varied phenomenon of German "Orientalism," these essays argue that the relation between an imagined Germany and an imagined Asia defies the idea of a one-way influence, instead conceiving of their cultural transfers and synergies as multidirectional and mutually perpetuating. Examining literary and non-literary texts from the eighteenth century to the present, these essays cover a wide range of topics and genres in disciplines including philosophy, film and visual culture, theater, literary studies, and the history of science. Ideally positioned to shape further contributions, Imagining Germany Imagining Asia will attract a wide range of readers interested in German, Asian, colonial, postcolonial, and transnational studies. Contributors: Sai Bhatawadekar, Petra Fachinger, Randall Halle, Hoi-eun Kim, David Kim, Kamakshi Murti, Perry Myers, Qinna Shen, Quinn Slobodian, Chunjie Zhang. Veronika Fuechtner is Associate Professor of German at Dartmouth College. Mary Rhiel is Associate Professor of German at the University of New Hampshire.

    eISBN: 978-1-57113-869-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)
    Veronika Fuechtner and Mary Rhiel

    This volume presents a collection of essays from the emerging field of Asian-German studies, highlighting analyses of the role of “Asia” in Germany’s cultural history from the late eighteenth century to the present. One of the tasks of this volume is to explore the meaning of Asia both as a sign of difference and as a historical place. To that end, scholars represented here undertake critical studies of the history of orientalism, showing regional differences and historical changes to the way Asia is constructed in texts and images. Just as important, scholars here are also creating models for understanding Asian-German...

  5. Part I: Contemporary Challenges to German Borders and Identities

    • 1: East-West Globality and the European Mode of Film Production
      (pp. 17-33)
      Randall Halle

      The literature on globalization makes an important distinction between globalization and globality, in which the former designates contemporary processes associated with post–Cold War free market capitalism and the latter acknowledges the fact that there has always been contact in various forms around the globe. Of course, the story of Marco Polo bears individual witness to the contact between East and West, but for broader systematic examples of this contact we can turn to Janet Abu-Lughod’s classic study Before European Hegemony, which details a rich and lively trade crisscrossing the planet well before the Europeans set out on the voyages...

    • 2: Citizenship-Shifting: Race and Xing-Hu Kuo’s Claim on East German Memory
      (pp. 34-49)
      Quinn Slobodian

      After German reunification, print capitalism played a central role in what Uli Linke has called “the fabrication of a new national imaginary.”¹ Memoirs flooded the book market in the 1990s as dissidents, informers, prisoners, and former agents of the Ministry for State Security (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, MfS, or Stasi) recounted the East German experience in “memory texts” that frequently blurred the line between fact and fiction.² A dilemma about the present underwrote these discussions about the past: what would national identity mean in a reunified Germany?³ From the outset, people of color expressed concern about the potentially exclusionary nature of...

    • 3: Narratives of Transnational Divide: The Vietnamese in Contemporary German Literature and Film
      (pp. 50-63)
      Petra Fachinger

      Two contrasting stereotypes of Vietnamese migrants prevail in the German public imagination: that of the cigarette smuggler and that of the model minority. The fact that few Germans know about the lives of this small but relatively diverse ethnic group is one possible explanation for these contradictory stereotypes. Although Thilo Sarrazin’s² recent comparison of Turks and Arabs as “bad migrants” unwilling to integrate into German society, and the Vietnamese as “good migrants,” whose children are over-achievers, was intended to redeem them in the public eye, the dominant image of the Vietnamese in contemporary German literature and film, as I will...

    • 4: Factories on the Magic Carpet: Heimat, Globalization, and the “Yellow Peril” in Die Chinesen kommen and Losers and Winners
      (pp. 64-86)
      Qinna Shen

      With its ascent as one of the world’s strongest economies, China now appears globally in a variety of representational modes. Since the turn of this century, a great number of works, both fiction and non-fiction, have been published that capture the incessant flow of goods and services between Germany and China.¹ Such transnational activity presents intriguing material, particularly for documentary filmmakers. This essay focuses on two films, a documentary, and a feature film originally meant to be a documentary. They both involve moving a German factory to China but also, through a difference of twenty years, register the different stages...

  6. Part II: Travel and Representation

    • 5: Germany’s India: A Critical Re-interrogation
      (pp. 89-110)
      Kamakshi Murti

      Why is a re-interrogation productive? I asked myself this question when I went back over my 2001 book India: The Seductive and Seduced “Other” of German Orientalism.³ The need for such reexamination cannot be more forcefully expressed than in the following words by Mani and Segelcke:

      It is imperative for the practitioners of a discipline to identify hitherto unexamined, under-represented, or under-discussed themes, issues, and texts, and/or to revisit those that have been frequently examined, well discussed and perhaps even over-represented, in order to revamp and reshape the theoretical underpinnings of the modes of inquiry that have been pursued.⁴


    • 6: Indians, Jews, and Sex: Magnus Hirschfeld and Indian Sexology
      (pp. 111-130)
      Veronika Fuechtner

      The world tour of German-Jewish sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld stands in the midst of a series of fundamental transitions in the early 1930s: the transition between the world of Weimar Germany and the world of fascism and exile, the transition between the colonial and the postcolonial world, and the transition between sexology and eugenics as dominantly European-based new sciences to globalizing sciences that find their centers and protagonists in non-European societies. In this article I will focus on Hirschfeld’s visit to India in 1931, where these transitions play out most visibly. Using Hirschfeld’s own account of his world travel, the contemporary...

    • 7: The Ambivalence of a Spiritual Quest in India: Waldemar Bonsels’s Indienfahrt
      (pp. 131-154)
      Perry Myers

      During the final decades of the nineteenth century, the spiritual and cultural identity of many German intellectuals came under pressure as a new sociocultural paradigm—economic (proletarization and industrial capitalism), political (democratization), and scientific (empirical models of knowledge) replaced older traditions and values.¹ To put it more boldly, the spiritual integrity of the human being seemed for many thinkers to have been relegated to the junk heap of a Darwinian world, in which living beings clashed over resources and struggled for survival. Such tensions resonate frequently in the era’s debates over science and human knowledge. The Buddhist advocate Theodor Schultze...

    • 8: Traveling through Imperialism: Representational Crisis and Resolution in Elisabeth von Heyking’s and Alfons Paquet’s Travel Writing on China
      (pp. 155-172)
      Mary Rhiel

      This essay reflects on two travel texts that are located at the cross-roads of travel writing and Germany’s imperial interest in China at the turn of the twentieth century. By the end of the nineteenth century China had become the Schauplatz of the conflict between land-grabbing imperialists, among which Germany was seen as an increasingly important player.¹ In 1898, two years before the Boxer Rebellion began, Germany secured its concession in Qingdao (Kiaochow).² Even better known than Germany’s imperial conquest in China, the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 received extensive media exposure, in part because Germany’s ambassador, Clemens von Ketteler, was...

    • 9: Measuring Asian-ness: Erwin Baelz’s Anthropological Expeditions in Fin-de-Siècle Korea
      (pp. 173-186)
      Hoi-eun Kim

      As a quasi-renaissance man of the late nineteenth century, Erwin Baelz (1849–1913), a German from Bietigheim-Bissingen near Stuttgart, was many things to the cultural and scientific life in Japan, both in the past and in the present. To his numerous students at the University of Tokyo, where he taught for more than a quarter century (1876–1902), Baelz was an energetic professor of internal medicine, pathology, and gynecology, whose medical prowess earned him the title “the founding father of modern medicine in Japan.”¹ To the Japanese imperial household he was an influential court physician whose skillful hands carefully attended...

  7. Part III: Asia Inhabits Germany’s Cultural and Intellectual History

    • 10: The Tat Tvam Asi Formula and Schopenhauer’s “Deductive Leap”
      (pp. 189-203)
      Sai Bhatawadekar

      In nineteenth-century German reception of the East, Arthur Schopenhauer is well known for his crucial, influential, and thought-provokingly bold use of Indian thought. Throughout his work he reiterated that Hindu and Buddhist philosophies offered profound ideas that transcended cultural and temporal boundaries and were echoed in great European thinkers such as Plato and Kant. His own philosophical system, he argued, arrived at the same epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical conclusions that Hindu and Buddhist thought presented in a more religious context and metaphoric language. Within the “Hindu” corpus he continually referred to the Vedas, the Upaniṣads, and the Bhagavadgītā, among which...

    • 11: German Indophilia, Femininity, and Transcultural Symbiosis around 1800
      (pp. 204-219)
      Chunjie Zhang

      Performed sixty-eight times in Berlin by 1847 and ninety times in Vienna by 1844, August von Kotzebue’s Die Indianer in England portrays an exceptional female character: the Indian girl Gurli. The leading journal of German Enlightenment literary criticism, the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek, enthusiastically lauded the masterful portrayal of a child of nature:

      An naivseynsollenden Mädchen fehlt es auf unserm Theater freylich nicht; aber wie wenige sind so wahr, so ungekünstelt naiv, wie die Gurli unsers Verf[assers]? Ein echtes Kind der Natur, ohne den Anstand zu beleidigen. Sie verletzt unsre Sitten und Herkommen, aber nur, weil sie es nicht kennt, und...

    • 12: Reading Genji in German: Reflections on World Literature and Asian-German Studies
      (pp. 220-242)
      David D. Kim

      At the end of 2008, just in time for one of the last issues of the year, The Economist devoted an editorial to what it claimed was a special event in Japanese history: Murasaki Shikibu’s Genji monogatari, known in the English-speaking world as The Tale of Genji, had turned one thousand. Yet the occasion was also of global significance, the newsmagazine quickly added, because Western scholars had considered the tale to be “the first modern or psychological novel” in the world.¹ In addition to being the Japanese “equivalent of Homer’s Iliad,” it claimed the title of the oldest prototype of...

  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 243-266)
  9. Notes on the Contributors
    (pp. 267-270)
  10. Index
    (pp. 271-280)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 281-281)