In the last twenty years, a focus on the German state as the official embodiment of German nationalism has been challenged by scholarship highlighting the diversity of provincial understandings of Germanness (Applegate, 1990; Confino, 1997) and the role of state particularism (Green, 2001), even in the lands most central to Germany’s nation-building process (Clark, 2006). By comparison, scholars often assume that the national loyalties of Germans outside of Germany are but a carbon copy of German state nationalism, despite key studies of the variations in understandings of German-ness among Habsburg Germans (Judson, 1996) and in the broader German Diaspora (O’Donnell, et al, 2005), as well as variations in Nazism outside of the Third Reich (Hausleitner & Roth, 2006). Speakers of German, or even non-German-speakers of German heritage, faced a variety of challenges when making their German identity meaningful in parts of the world beyond the border of “Germany.” How did “Germans” reconcile ethnic or linguistic loyalties with their political obligations to a non-German state?
This project aims to explore how Germans beyond the core German area sought to resolve tensions between ethnic identity and political loyalty in the period of modern nationalism, focusing particularly on the period between Napoleon and Hitler. Geographically, we welcome submissions both on predominantly non-German regions of the Habsburg Empire (and its successor states), and on German communities beyond Central Europe, e.g. Russia, the Baltic, the Americas, Australia, etc. We seek case studies that explore the intersection of German-ness and other political loyalties that can be credibly described as “national.” We are particularly interested in contributions that help undermine the problematic yet persistent dichotomy of “civic nationalism” vs. “ethnic nationalism.”
Topics of possible interest include, but are not limited to,
> German responses to the growing nationalism in dynastic empires.
> German responses to Wilsonian nation-states in Central Europe
> German political loyalties in imperial colonies or the settler nations of the new world
> Atypical usage of the terms Nation or Volk to describe competing / coexisting political loyalties.
> Local German identities, such as love for a multi-ethnic Heimat.
> German attitudes toward assimilation.
> Changing definitions of German-ness among “German” communities.
> German identity among non-German speakers.
> German identity among German-speaking Jews.
We expect to publish an edited volume; contributions should be “book-chapter” length. We seek contributions discussing a specific German community, grounded in primary source research, rather than theoretical ruminations. Interested contributors should send a paragraph-long abstract specifying the region and period they intend to examine.
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