Magic Lantern Empire: Colonialism and Society in Germany

Magic Lantern Empire: Colonialism and Society in Germany

by John Phillip Short

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Examines German colonialism as a mass cultural and political phenomenon unfolding at the center of a nascent, conflicted German modernity.See more details below


Examines German colonialism as a mass cultural and political phenomenon unfolding at the center of a nascent, conflicted German modernity.

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"Short contends that both the elite and bourgeois of German society viewed colonial knowledge as information best suited for scientific exploration or economic growth. To most members of the working class, colonial knowledge was little more than entertainment, a means to ogle savages, animals, and artifacts . . . the book shines in its analysis of the actual and attempted interplay between the social classes as they tried to grapple with what colonialism meant for themselves and for the nation."—J.T. Rasel, Choice (July 2013)

"Short contextualizes the organized colonial movement more effectively than any other scholar, treating colonialists not as an atavistic force but rather as active and sometimes creative players in a very fluid environment."—Jeff Boersox, American Historical Review (Dec 2013)

"Magic Lantern Empire traces the unfolding interaction among colonial associations, German workers, and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) after 1884. . . . his work comes closer than any other to uncovering what the German working classes actually thought about imperialism, and how these thoughts did and did not translate into political action" --Matthew Fitzpatrick, German Studies Review (April 1014)

"In this substantially researched and concisely written book, John Phillip Short uncovers the complex influences of colonialism on Wilhelmine society in an age of mass culture and politics."—Michael Meng,Journal of Namibian Studies

"Magic Lantern Empire is a stunningly good book, among the very best works on German colonialism that I have read. It is deeply researched, beautifully written, and makes very significant arguments about German colonialism and about colonialism and metropolitan culture more broadly. John Phillip Short displays a brilliant and sophisticated understanding of colonial culture."—Andrew Zimmerman, The George Washington University, author of Alabama in Africa: Booker T. Washington, the German Empire, and the Globalization of the New South

"Magic Lantern Empire is a stunningly original treatment of the colonialism of Wilhelmine Germany at the interface of imperialist politics, modern mass culture, and the restructuring of the public sphere. John Phillip Short's attention to the transformations of Social Democratic anticolonialism is particularly compelling."—Russell A. Berman, Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities, Stanford University, author of Enlightenment or Empire: Colonial Discourse in German Culture

"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

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Product Details

Cornell University Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.00(d)

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