Life among the Ruins: Cityscape and Sexuality in Cold War Berlin

Hardcover | December 15, 2011

byJennifer V. V. Evans

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As home to 1920s debauchery and excess and Hitler's Final Solution, Berlin's physical and symbolic landscape was an important staging ground for the highs and lows of modernity. Life among the Ruins asks how postwar attempts to rebuild infrastructure and identity necessitated an engagement with past practices set in motion long before 1945. Berliners were forced to adapt swiftly to changing historical circumstances. City spaces could be enabling as well as restrictive, sites of danger and desire, places of crime and adventure. As expats, soldiers, visitors, and citizens navigated the ruined urban landscape in search of what once was, they discovered signs of destruction but also signs of life. Although a symbol of defeat and destruction, the rubble gave refuge to a reemerging gay and lesbian scene, while youth gangs, prostitutes, hoods, and hustlers sought shelter and community there. As a metaphor for a modernity both feared and desired, the book questions what became of this history in the years leading up to the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 when Cold War confrontation meant the city continued to occupy a unique place in 20th century European history.

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From the Publisher

As home to 1920s debauchery and excess and Hitler's Final Solution, Berlin's physical and symbolic landscape was an important staging ground for the highs and lows of modernity. Life among the Ruins asks how postwar attempts to rebuild infrastructure and identity necessitated an engagement with past practices set in motion long before ...

JENNIFER V. EVANS is Associate Professor of History at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Sheteaches a variety of courses in 20th century German history, while her primary area of research is the history of sexuality. She haswritten about the regulation of same-sex sexuality in Cold War Germany, pink triangle victims during and af...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.75 inPublished:December 15, 2011Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230202012

ISBN - 13:9780230202016

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Illustrations and Map
Acknowledgements
Introduction
The Cellar and the Bunker
The Street
The Train Station
Bars, Cafés, Clubs
Home
Conclusion: Borders and Boundaries
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

"From mothers sheltering in bunkers, children playing in the ruins, and rent boys plying their trade at train stations, to teenagers courting at the Wannsee, Jennifer Evans brings the experiences of Berliners alive. This is a fascinating book, which should be read by all those with an interest in the social history of the early Cold War." - Josie McLellan,University of Bristol, UK "A compelling and imaginative experiment in joining the history of urban space with the histories of social deviance and cultural reconstruction, Evans' book provides a richly detailed portrait of a radically dislocated world." - Dagmar Herzog, author of Sexuality in Europe: A Twentieth-Century History