21st Annual Symposium of the Friends of the GHI

Presentation of the Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize

November 9, 2012, 11:00 a.m - 1:00 p.m.
Symposium at the GHI - Directions

  • Event Report

    The twenty-first Annual Symposium of the Friends of the GHI featured the award of the 2012 Fritz Stern Dissertation Prizes to Adam Rosenbaum (Colorado Mesa University) for his dissertation "Timeless, Modern, and German? The Re-Mapping of Bavaria through the Marketing of Tourism, 1800-1939" (Ph.D., Emory University, 2011) and to Sarah Thomsen Vierra (New England College) for her dissertation "At Home in Almanya? Turkish-German Spaces of Belonging in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1961-1990" (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2011). The prize selection committee was composed of Ann Goldberg (University of California, Riverside), Maria D. Mitchell (Franklin & Marshall College), and Ulrike Strasser (University of California, Irvine). After introductory remarks by Hartmut Berghoff, director of the GHI, the award ceremony was chaired by David Blackbourn (Vanderbilt University), President of the Friends of the GHI. After the presentation of the awards, the two Stern Prize winners gave lectures about their dissertation research.

    Adam Rosenbaum offered a broad overview of his dissertation, which examines the connections between Bavarian tourism and the turbulent experience of modernity during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After briefly considering Bavaria's contemporary status as both a bona fide tourist destination and an international symbol of German identity, Rosenbaum elaborated on his central argument: that between 1800 and 1939, the Bavarian tourism industry consistently promoted an image of "grounded modernity," a romanticized version of the present that reconciled tradition with progress, continuity with change, and nature with technology and science. This alternative vision, he argued, provided travelers with a taste of stability and a glimpse of authenticity, and helped to make the experience of modernity more tangible by linking impersonal and abstract ideas, such as national identity, with familiar experiences and concrete sights. Excursions to rural destinations like "Franconian Switzerland" and vacations in health resorts like Bad Reichenhall provided visitors with an antidote to their hectic, dirty, and stressful urban existence. Conversely, trips to cities such as Augsburg, Munich, and Nuremberg allowed Germans to reacquaint themselves with the historical roots of the fatherland, in addition to providing a new perspective on the modern nation-state, defined by industrial progress and political triumph. Tourism, he concluded, was always in the shadow of the present, even when it was seemingly fixated on the natural environment and the past.

    Sarah Thomsen Vierra explained that her dissertation combines a spatial approach with German- and Turkish-language sources to examine how members of the Turkish-German community actively made themselves "at home" in German society by constructing spaces of belonging within and alongside of it. Vierra charted the development of these spaces within the everyday landscapes of Turkish immigrants and their children, arguing that the personal relationships and community dynamics in these spaces played a fundamental role in Turkish integration. By examining their spatial practices, Vierra demonstrated how the first and second generations worked around established power structures to create and recreate spaces in order to address their own wants and needs. While some of these spaces facilitated closer connection to German society, others encouraged or enforced a separate Turkish identity. Over time, Vierra noted, the reciprocal nature of integration led to a hybridization not only of the immigrant community but also of German society itself, in which its diverse members created wholly new spaces of interactions.

    The presentations were followed by a commentary by Fritz Stern and a lively discussion with the audience. Articles based on the two dissertations will be published in the Spring 2013 issue of the GHI Bulletin.

    RFW

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  • 21st Annual Symposium of the Friends of the GHI: Presentation of the Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize

    November 9, 2012, 11:00 a.m - 1:00 p.m.
    Symposium at the GHI - Directions

    Prize Winners

    • Adam Rosenbaum (Colorado Mesa University): Timeless, Modern, and German? The Re-Mapping of Bavaria through the Marketing of Tourism, 1800-1939 (Ph.D. dissertation, Emory University, 2011)
    • Sarah Thomsen Vierra (New England College): At Home in Almanya? Turkish-German Spaces of Belonging in West Germany, 1961-1990 (Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2011)

    Please RSVP (acceptances only) by Tel. 202.387.3355, Fax 202.387.6437, or E-mail.

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