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Envisioning empire : Jewishness, Blackness and gender in German colonial discourse from Frieda von Bülow to the Nazi Kolonie und Heimat / by Barbara Ann Shumannfang.

Publication | Library Call Number: PT345 .S58 1998

This dissertation demonstrates how antisemitism and colonialism are interconnected in the German context through a system of looking. The colonial gaze emerges as the most important way that race and gender hierarchies are perceived, created and contested. Using narratology, postcolonial theory and gender analysis, this study investigates the thematic and formal tensions that emerge in claiming the authority to make "race" visible. Chapter One provides an historical context for Bulow's colonial writing and offers a reading of her novel Der Konsul (1891), in which Jewishness is defined as assimilable into the German colonial Gemeinschaft if it can be made visible. Chapter Two reads Tropenkoller (1897) as an attempt to mark Blackness as visible and Jewishness as abstract. Despite the fact that they claim (male) authority to create colonial fiction, both novels show consistent slippage of narrative authority, such that the male hero, rather than the female narrator, visualizes and reproduces the colonial tale. Chapter Three uses Bhabha's notion of colonial mimicry and theories of the femme fatale to read the function of the "mixed race" woman in Bulow's Im Lande der Verheissung (1899). The German female hero of this novel tries to contain the woman with the norms of German femininity, yet also appropriates the "wildness" of the figure. The hero breaks out of her own gender role, gradually taking on masculinity. The formal aspects of the text mimic male narrative authority long before the plot transgresses social codes. The Nazi version of this novel (1937, 1940 and 1943) is edited to mythologize the male protagonist as a Carl Peters figure, and to subdue the rebellious female hero. Chapter Four examines the connection between the photographs and captions of the Nazi version of a popular German colonial journal, Kolonie und Heimat. The authority to visualize colonial expansion and racial domination is first associated with images of black and white women, then white men. The journal struggles to find a visual medium that figures antisemitism into its black-white binary as well as one that can be authorized as a male Germanic art form.

Shumannfang, Barbara Ann, 1968-
Record last modified: 2022-04-07 12:53:00
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