Eastern German News


 Newsletter of the Eastern German Studies Association

 #26 (November 1999)

This is the on-line version of the EGSA newsletter, which contains more detail on some items than the printed version.

Table of Contents:

Conference Announcements and Reports

The Last Conway Conference: 40 Years GDR / 10 Years New Länder

The 26th New Hampshire Symposium, held from June 21-28, 2000, will be the last! Not that there is not still work to be done in the nalysis of East German society. But there is a consensus among recent participants that it is time to look at Eastern Germany in the larger framework of united Germany and Europe. And the Schmauchs, who have hosted the Symposium since its beginning in 1975, will be retiring as directors of the World Fellowship Center after summer 2000.

All those who have participated in the New Hampshire Symposia over the past 25 years are invited to return once more to the special environs of Conway and the World Fellowship Center for one last multi-disciplinary symposium devoted to East Germany.

The final New Hampshire Symposium will look back on 50 years of life in the GDR and in the new German states, and on our ways of perceiving and evaluating the same. The topic of the conference has been kept intentionally broad, so as not to exclude any past participants still working in the field from submitting a proposal. The Symposium will have a double focus:

1) What was the GDR? How has the Wende changed East German society? What can the future bring? Political, social, economic, cultural, literary, communicative, and psychological aspects of GDR society (1949-1989) and of post-unification East Germany

2) What was GDR studies? How has the Wende changed GDR/East German studies? What can be the role of GDR/East German studies in the future? The critical re-evaluation of pre-Wende GDR scholarship (in the social sciences as well as in literary/cultural studies) and reflections on current approaches and methodologies; analysis of the ideological distortion and political instrumentalization of academic writing past and present; discussion of desiderata for future scholarship.

The 26th Symposium will be organized by a multi-disciplinary committee composed of the following East German specialists:

Overall co-ordination: Margy Gerber (Taunusstr. 8, D-12161 Berlin, Tel. 030 8220672, mgerber@bgnet.bgsu.edu / margygerber@compuserve.com)

Political Issues:

Laurence McFalls (Departement de science politique, Universite de Montreal, C.P. 6128, succursale Centre-ville, Montreal, Quebec/CN, H3C 3J7 Fax: 514 3432360; mcfallsl@ERE.UMontreal.CA)

Wolfgang Bergem (FB 1 - Gesellschaftswissenschaften, Bergische Universitaet Wuppertal, Gauþstr. 20, D-42097 Wuppertal Fax: 0202 4392429; bergem@uni-wuppertal.de)

Social Issues:

Volker Gransow (Canadian Centre for German & European Studies, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON/CN M3J 1P3 Fax: 416 7365696; vgransow@ yorku.ca)

Gerd Antos (Germanistisches Institut, Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Universitätsring 4, D-06099 Halle Fax: 0345 5527107; antos@germanistik.uni-halle.de)

Cultural and Literary Issues:

Nancy A. Lauckner (Dept. of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996 Fax: 423 9747096; lauckner@utk. edu)

Birgit Dahlke (Institut f¸r deutsche Literatur, Humboldt-Universität, Mossezentrum, Schuetzenstr. 18-25, D-10117 Berlin Fax: 030 20196690; birgit=dahlke@rz.hu-berlin.de)

Christiane Zehl Romero (Dept. of German, Russian, and Asian Languages, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155 Fax: 617 6273945; cromero1@tufts. edu)

Detailed proposals (title plus 1-2 pages) should be submitted to Margy Gerber and to the organizers of the appropriate area (one copy to each person) by December 1, 1999. Completed papers are due April 15, 2000. Their delivery time should not exceed 30 minutes. Papers may be given in either English or German. At Conway, each presenter must make available a short summary of his or her paper in the other conference language.

For more information on the program, contact Margy Gerber (see above for address which is valid until January 7, 2000; after that, Dept. of German, Russian, E. Asian Lang., Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403 Fax: 419 3722571; mgerber@bgnet.bgsu.edu.


Registration Fee, Room & Board for the whole week, all inclusive: $350 double occupancy / $50 surcharge for single; Children under 12 $100 for week; Students to age 21 $160 for the week; Part-time participants will be charged a $50 registration fee and a $50 daily rate.

For information about the Symposium location, conference registration and travel arrangements, contact W. Christoph Schmauch, World Fellowship Center, Conway, NH/USA 03818 Tel: 603 3565208; Fax: 603 3565252; worldf@landmarknet.net.

Conway & Harvard Conferences

A report on the 1999 Conway and Harvard conferences is available in German, by permission of Deutschland Archiv.

Report on the Reading Conference: "The GDR and its History"

by Henry Krisch

On 17/18 September 1999, the Center for East German Studies (University of Reading, UK) held the latest in its series of conferences, this one on "The GDR and its History," with special emphasis on the two "Enquetten-Kommissionen". The conference was organized by Profs. Peter Barker and John Sanford; it featured some thirteen speakers, including Frau Bundesministerin a.D. Dorothee Wilms (CDU), the last Minister for Inner-German Relations, and Markus Meckel (SPD), MdB, GDR Foreign Minister (March-October 1990). Both German officials were members of the Enquetten-Kommission. Paper givers further included Mary Fulbrook, Bernd Faulenbach and Henry Krisch. Topics not directly concerned with the Commissions' work included the architectural heritage of the GDR in today's eastern German town planning, Buchenwald and the 'territorialization of memory', and current interpretations of the SPD-KPD unification of 1946.

Two days of lively discussion centered on the possibilities of objective history, the advantages and pitfalls of 'public' history, and the forces shaping received memory of the GDR. Critical responses to the Enquette-Kommissionen themselves dealt with the origins of the commissions, the selection of topics covered, the structure of the reports, and their impact on Germans', especially eastern Germans' perception of the GDR past.

Getrenne Vergangenheit -- Gemeinsame Geschichte?

The conference, which ran from 28-30 May 1999 in Berlin, was a remarkable event. It aimed at reaching both scholars and the general public with a discussion of the state of the German past and Germany's prospects for the future. The attendance far exceeded expectations.

Wolfgang Thierse opened the event with an excellent lecture. There were four major plenary sessions, whose participants included such leading German political figures as Egon Bahr, Hans-Jochen Vogel, and Bernhard Vogel. Many leading German GDR scholars participated, along with Mary Fulbrook. A wide range of sectionals between the plenaries allowed nearly anyone interested in the GDR to find something of interest. A fascinating "Markt der Möglichkeiten" drew representatives from every manner of organization interested in the GDR. The gathering also saw a preview of an excellent film titled Als die Mauer fiel -- 50 Stunden, die die Welt veränderten. It will be broadcast by ARD next fall.

Dr. Ulrich Mählert did an extraordinary job of carrying out much of the organizational work.

The web site for the event, for the time being, continues to exist.

DEFA Conference in November

The DEFA center at the University of Massachusetts is holding a conference on "The Power of Images: Representing Germany Ten Years After Reunification." An international, interdisciplinary conference featuring artists, political and cultural figures and scholars examining the role of images in structuring relations between East and West Germans as well as between Germany and the U.S. Accompanying the conference will be a film series, "Berlin, Divided Heaven -- From the Ice Age to the Thaw," including a number of North American premieres. Held in conjunction with the Northampton Film Festival and subsequently to tour the U.S. and Canada. Also at the conference: the premiere of ICESTORM International's video release of the documentary "The Fall fo the Wall: The Path to German Reunification." Held on the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall (4 - 6 November 1999). For more information and registration forms contact the DEFA Film Library:

DEFA Film Library
Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures
Herter Hall
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003
tel. 413-545-6681
fax 413-545-6995
e-mail: defa@german.umass.edu

GSA Program available

The program for the GSA conference in October is available on line. There are a number of GDR-related panels.


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Miscellaneous News

Request for Research Proposals in Advanced German and European Studies

The Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, established in 1986 at the Freie Universität Berlin and in the United States at the Social Science Research Council, promotes a new generation of young North American scholars with specialized knowledge of modern and contemporary German and European affairs. The Program supports anthropologists, economists, political scientists, sociologists, and all scholars in germane social science and cultural studies fields, including historians working on the period since the mid-19th century.

Fellowships are awarded for doctoral dissertation field research as well as postdoctoral research leading to completion of a monograph. The Program offers a stimulating academic environment that integrates research opportunities with intellectual and cultural interaction. An essential part of the Program is the biweekly seminar, which brings together the North American fellows and German scholars. Fellows have access to faculty members and to Berlin's broader intellectual community.

Fellows are selected by an international, interdisciplinary advisory committee of scholars and work closely with colleagues and senior scholars at all three major Berlin universities - Freie Universität, Humboldt Universität, and Technische Universität - and many of the capital's advanced study institutions, including Max Planck Institutes, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin.

Funds from the Volkswagen Stiftung created the Program in 1986. Since 1991, the Land Berlin has funded this Program at the Free University. The German Marshall Fund of the United States supports the Program's North American promotion and transatlantic selection process.

Eligibility and Terms

The program accepts applications from U.S. and Canadian nationals or permanent residents who are full-time graduate students in the social sciences and humanities and who have completed all coursework required for the Ph.D. Also eligible are U.S. and Canadian Ph.D.s who have received their doctorates within the past two calendar years.

Fellowships begin in either October (Wintersemester) of the year of selection or the next April (Sommersemester), with exact dates following the Berlin academic calendar. Awards provide between nine and twelve months of research support.

Criteria for Selection

Applications should exhibit a grounding in the methods and theories of a particular discipline, but must also be of demonstrable cross-disciplinary interest. Applicants should specify why an extended period of field-based research in Berlin is critical to the successful completion of their proposed doctoral dissertation or research project. The research design of proposals should be realistic in scope, clearly formulated, and responsive to theoretical and methodological concerns. Applicants should show an appropriate level of training and skill to undertake the proposed research, including evidence of language fluency adequate to complete the project and participate in the seminar at the Free University. All applications will be reviewed by both German and American scholars who serve on independent selection committees. A final selection meeting takes place with representatives of both committees present.

Application Receipt Deadline: First Tuesday in February.

Applications sent by fax or received after the deadline will not be accepted. All materials must be typed or computer-printed according to application instructions. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a single application packet consisting of completed application forms, a proposal, three letters of reference, language evaluation(s), and graduate school transcripts. Proposals should be no longer than 2,500 words or ten pages, followed by a one or two page bibliography or bibliographic essay.


Berlin Program fellowship stipends are DM 2,000.- per month for individuals, DM 2,250.- for fellows accompanied by a spouse who is not working or on scholarship, and DM 2,500.- when the couple is accompanied by a child. The Program provides one round-trip airfare for the fellow between the fellow's residence at the time of award and Berlin. In addition, funds for intra-European travel are provided on an individual basis for necessary research site visits between the semesters.

For further information & application materials, contact:

Berlin Program
Social Science Research Council
810 Seventh Avenue, 31st Floor
New York NY 10019 USA
212 377-2700 telephone
212 377-2727 fax
berlin@ssrc.org e-mail
http://www.ssrc.org web

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New Reading

New Books

Seán Allan & John Sandford (eds.) DEFA: East German Cinema, 1946-1992 (NY: Oxford: Berghahn Books), 1999.

Daphne Berdahl, Where the World Ended: Re-Unification and Identity in the German Borderland (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999).

Linda Cook, Mitchell Orenstein and Marilyn Rueschemeyer,eds., Left Parties and Social Policy in Postcommunist Europe, Westview 1999. Marilyn Rueschemeyer and Sharon Wolchik's chapter in this volume is on social policy in eastern Germany and the Czech Republic.

Chris Flockton & Eva Kolinsky (eds), Recasting East Germany: Social Transformation after the GDR, London: Frank Cass, 1999).

John O. Koehler, Stasi: The East German Secret Police (Westview Press, 1999). See the web site for more details.

Jörg Roesler, Der Anschluß von Staaten in der modernen Geschichte. Eine Untersuchung aus aktuellem Anlaß (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1999). The book looks at unions of states over the last several hundred yeras, including a chapter on the incorporation of the GDR into the Federal Republic of Germany.

Helga A. Welsh, "Kaderpolitik auf dem Prüfstand: Die Bezirke und ihre Sekretäre 1952-1989," in: Peter Huebner, ed., Eliten im Sozialismus. Beiträge zur Sozialgeschichte der DDR. Cologne: Böhlau, 1999, 107-129.

Helga A. Welsh, "Zwischen Macht und Ohnmacht: Zur Rolle der 1. Bezirkssekretäre der SED," in: Stefan Hornbostel, ed., Sozialistische Eliten. Horizontale und vertikale Differenzierungsmuster in der DDR. Opladen: Leske + Budrich, 1999, 105-123.


Jennifer Yoder, From East Germans to Germans? The New Postcommunist Elites (Duke University Press, 1999).


Daphne Berdahl, "'(N)Ostalgie' for the Present: Memory, Longing, and East German Things." Ethnos 64(2): 192-211, 1999.

Randall Bytwerk, "The Propaganda of Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic," Communication Studies 49 (1998), 158-171.

Mary Fulbrook, "Re-Reading Recent (East) German History," German History 17 (1999), pp. 271-281. A nicely done review of some recent books on East Germany.

Caroline King, "The Second Silent Revolution? Civil Service Reform in the Context of German Unification," German Politics and Society , 17 (1999).

Laurence McFalls, " Eastern Germany Transformed: From Postcommunist to Late Capitalist Political Culture,"German Politics and Society , 17 (1999).

Christiane Olivo, "The Practical Problems of Bridging Civil Society and the State:  A Study of Round Tables in Eastern Germany," Polity, Volume XXXI, Number 2, Winter 1998, pp. 245-268

Brian Plane, "The 'Sputnik Myth' and Dissent Over Scientific Policies Under the New Economic System in East Berlin, 1961-1964" in Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy (XXXVII) Spring, 1999, 45-62.

Stephen Wood, "Culture, Commerce, and Foreign Policy: German Eastern Interests and Domestic Contexts Juxtaposed, German Politics and Society , 17 (1999).

Recent Theses and Dissertations:

Joy Haslam Calico, "The Politics of Opera in the German Democratic Republic, 1945-1961," Ph.D. Dissertation in Musicology, Duke University, 1999.

Marc Howard: "Demobilized Societies: Understanding the Weakness of Civil Society in Post-Communist Europe," Ph.D. dissertation at UC-Berkeley (Political Science), 1999.


This thesis explores womenís experiences in rural areas under state socialism in the GDR and in the New Germany since 1989. The study is located within feminist geographical thinking and draws on a variety of qualitative and quantitative sources. Data for the research was collated through various research methods both qualitative and quantitative including correspondence, focus group interviews, key informant interviews, and the consultation of documentary evidence and statistical sources.The thesis employs a modified grounded theory approach. Data was processed and analysed using the computer-assisted analysis programme NUD.IST Version 4.0.

The thesis focuses on questions that emerge from a critical analysis of social transformation. A key concern is to evaluate how dominant patriarchal power structures have impacted upon womenís everyday lives under socialism and capitalism. Three main themes are foci of this thesis: the changes in social dynamics in rural villages, the impact of economic rationalisations on women, and the nature and extent of womenís participation in new political structures.

The findings of the thesis provide a window to the breadth of complex, yet interrelated, economic, political and social processes that have impacted on the local context and affect women as individual social agents. The conclusion offers one possible analysis of the impact of patriarchal power in womenís lives both before and since unification, and adresses key problems women are faced with as a result of the lack of self-identification in the New Germany. Further areas of research are proposed that may add depth to insights gained from this thesis as well as offering possible areas for gender-sensitive policy development in rural Mecklenburg-Westpommerania.

SAPMO Bibliotheksbriefe

The latest issues of the SAPMO library's list of its holdings include:

Randy Bytwerk can provide a photocopy for those find a particular issue interesting.


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Requests and Queries

I am pursuing a project to evaluate to influence of the Spanish Civil War on the politics and culture of the GDR. Dozens of leaders and writers, like Ludwig Renn, Hans Kahle (Police Chief in Mecklenburg), Hans Beimler, Wilhelm Zaisser (Minister of State Security), Franz Dahlem (Central Committee of the SED), Alfred Neumann (Basic Industry), Walter Ulbricht, Anton Ackermann (Ministry for Political Education), Friedrich Dickel (Minister of the Interior) , Paul Verner (Deputy Chairman of the Council of State), Heinrich Rau (Ministry of Trade), Richard Staimer (Ministry of National Defense), Erich Mielke (General of the Army) -- all fought in the International Brigades. I am looking for additional examples, especially writers and cultural icons. What factories, bridges, or monuments are named for former Spanish Civil War vets? I would appreciate any advice and information.

Prof. Arnold Krammer
Dept. of History
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-4236
(409) 845-7108
Fax: 409-862-4314

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EGSA Officers for 1998-2001


Laurence McFalls
Department de science politique
Université de Montreal
C.P. 6128
succursale Centre-ville
Montréal, Québec H3C 3J7

Email: laurence.mcfalls@umontreal.ca


Henry Krisch
Dept. of Political Science
University of Connecticut
341 Mansfield Road
Storrs, CT 06269-102

Phone: (860) 486-5334
Fax: (860) 486-3347
Email: henryk@uconnvm.uconn.edu

Membership and Treasurer:

Meredith Heiser
707 Laurel Ave.
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Email: mah2369@fhda.edu


Randall Bytwerk
CAS Department
Calvin College
3201 Burton SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Phone: (616) 957-6286
Fax: (616) 957-6601

Members- at-Large:

Ellen Anderson
History Associates Incorporated
5 Choke Cherry Road, Suite 280
Rockville, MD 20850

tel. 301-670-0076
Email: ellen@zzapp.org

Scott Gissendanner
bei Gnielka
Potsdamer-Str. 82
15711 Koenigs Wusterhausen
Email: gissendanner@t-online.de


Bradden Weaver
583 Valley View Dr.
New Holland, PA 17577
Email: bweaver@zedat.fu-berlin.de

In -progress version of the November 1999 EGSA Newsletter
Last updated 3 November 1999
Web Page by Randall Bytwerk
Calvin College
URL: <http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/egsg/latest.htm>