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Virtual Walls?: Political Unification and Cultural Difference in Contemporary Germany
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Virtual Walls?: Political Unification and Cultural Difference in Contemporary Germany (Hardback)

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On October 3, 1990, just a year after the Berlin Wall fell, the German Democratic Republic was absorbed into the Federal Republic of Germany, officially ceasing to exist. What was the GDR and how do we remember it? According to the dominant Western narrative, it was a country that brought neither unity nor justice nor freedom to its citizens. But if so, why does a virtual wall still seem to exist in Germany today between the erstwhile citizens of the GDR and FRG? The GDR very much remains in the public debate, and while political integration is well on its way, the cultural integration of the two former states has proven much more challenging.

This volume analyzes the cultural transformation - or lack thereof - that has followed political unification. The contributions are interdisciplinary: essays on history and politics provide a framework and others on art, film, literature, museums, music, and education provide specific examples. These case studies allow us to examine the state of unification beyond statistics, opinion polls, and glib generalizations. The volume, then, is a reassessment of the journey Germans in East and West have taken during the past two and a half decades. Even today, it is an open-ended, unfinished journey. But such journeys tend to be the most interesting.

Contributors: Kerstin Barndt, Stephen Brockmann, Michael Dreyer, Andreas Eis, April A. Eisman, Peter Hayes, Franziska Lys, Charles S. Maier, Andreas Niederberger, Mary-Elizabeth O'Brien, Daniel Ortuno-Stuhring.

Franziska Lys is Professor of German at Northwestern University. Michael Dreyer is Professor in the Institute for Political Science at the University of Jena.

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