"German Bodies" explores the cultural representations of German identity and citizenship before and after World War II, and offers a critical analysis of race, violence, and modernity in German history and contemporary German society. Uli Linke examines how Germans invested the body with meanings that had significance for the larger body politic and investigates how this fits within the larger consumer culture, social memory and the postwar democratization of the country.
The book is divided into three sections discussing different aspects of the German cult of the body: Aryan aesthetics, as in the postwar obsession with white nudity; blood aesthetics, as in the demonization of immigrants as a blood-contagion; and cultural violence, as in the images of genocide and dismemberment evoked in political protests during German reunification.
"This is a marvelously evocative and worthwhile work of interpretation."
"Uli Linke's book provides the most comprehensive look in English at the fantasies about the "German" body in German thought and politics after the Shoah. Superbly illustrated, intelligently structured, Linke's study provides the sort of primer that has been missing to understand the basic concepts of Germanness which formed and continue to form the self-image of the "German" in a reunified Germany. A standard book for all interested in contemporary German Studies."
-Sander L. Gilman, Henry Luce Professor of the Liberal Arts in Human Biology, University of Chicago
""German Bodies offers a detailed and stimulating analysis of how the essentialisms of gender, blood, and race continue to operate in German cultural memory. This "anatomy of German nationhood," as Linke calls it, challenges many conventional assumptions, including my own, about discontinuities in German society following World War II. It is sure to provoke widespread debates."
-John Borneman, author of "Settling Accounts: Violence, Justice and Accountability in Postsocialist States
"Much of the wisdom that could be extracted from Linke's thought-provoking notions will be lost on readers who are not familiar with postmodern terminology and usage. On the other hand, those who take the book seriously will have new tools with which to view the changing, but historically burdened and burdensome, Germany.."
-"Journal of Anthropological Research
"Exploring the cultural representations of German identity and citizenship across the political divide of 1945, Linke provides us with a fascinating prism through which toinvestigate continuity and change in modern Germany. This reassessment of Nazi visions of the Aryan body, its impact on the construction of national identity in the Third Reich, and its relationship to the public imagery of citizenship in postwar Germany elucidates one of the most crucial issues of German history from an entirely new angle. This work will doubtlessly be welcomed by historians, sociologists, and political scientists grappling with questions of citizenship, national identity, and political-cultural discourse in modern Western societies."
-Omer Bartov, Professor of History at Rutgers University and author of "Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich (1991) and "Murder in Our Midst: The Holocaust, Industrial Killing