Magic Lantern Empire: Colonialism And Society In Germany by John Phillip ShortMagic Lantern Empire: Colonialism And Society In Germany by John Phillip Short

Magic Lantern Empire: Colonialism And Society In Germany

byJohn Phillip Short

Hardcover | November 20, 2012

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Magic Lantern Empire examines German colonialism as a mass cultural and political phenomenon unfolding at the center of a nascent, conflicted German modernity. John Phillip Short draws together strands of propaganda and visual culture, science and fantasy to show how colonialism developed as a contested form of knowledge that both reproduced and blurred class difference in Germany, initiating the masses into a modern market worldview. A nuanced account of how ordinary Germans understood and articulated the idea of empire, this book draws on a diverse range of sources: police files, spy reports, pulp novels, popular science writing, daily newspapers, and both official and private archives.

In Short's historical narrative—peopled by fantasists and fabulists, by impresarios and amateur photographers, by ex-soldiers and rank-and-file socialists, by the luckless and bored along the margins of German society—colonialism emerges in metropolitan Germany through a dialectic of science and enchantment within the context of sharp class conflict. He begins with the organized colonial movement, with its expert scientific and associational structures and emphatic exclusion of the "masses." He then turns to the grassroots colonialism that thrived among the lower classes, who experienced empire through dime novels, wax museums, and panoramas. Finally, he examines the ambivalent posture of Germany's socialists, who mounted a trenchant critique of colonialism, while in their reading rooms workers spun imperial fantasies. It was from these conflicts, Short argues, that there first emerged in the early twentieth century a modern German sense of the global.

John Phillip Short is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Georgia.
Title:Magic Lantern Empire: Colonialism And Society In GermanyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:248 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:November 20, 2012Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801450942

ISBN - 13:9780801450945

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Table of Contents

Empire as World and Idea: Colonialism and Society in Germany

1. Estrangement: Structures and Limits of the Colonial Public Sphere

2. World of Work, World of Goods: Propaganda and the Formation of Its Object

3. No Place in the Sun: The People's Empire

4. Carnival Knowledge: Enlightenment and Distraction in the Cultural Field

5. Ethnographic-Fantastic: Working-Class Readers at the Colonial Library

6. The Hottentot Elections: Colonial Politics, Socialist Politics

Magic Lantern Empire: Reflections on Colonialism and Society


Editorial Reviews

"In this exhaustively researched account of the entry of the colonial overseas into the social and cultural experience of metropolitan Germany, John Phillip Short vividly illumines the landscape of politics before 1914, exploring the many different ways in which empire was remaking popular culture. He comes closer than almost anyone else to the outlook of ordinary Germans as they encountered the colonial effect."—Geoff Eley, Karl Pohrt Distinguished University Professor of Contemporary History, University of Michigan, author of A Crooked Line: From Cultural History to the History of Society