"Treating the German railway as both an iconic symbol of modernity and a crucial social, technological, and political force, Presner advances a groundbreaking interpretation of the ways in which mobility is inextricably linked to German and Jewish visions of modernity. Moving beyond the tired model of a failed German-Jewish dialogue, Presner emphasizes the mutual entanglement of the very categories of German and Jewish and the many sites of contact and exchange that occurred between German and Jewish thinkers." "Rather than a conventional, linear history that culminates in the tragedy of the Holocaust, Presner produces a cultural mapping that articulates a much more complex story of the hopes and catastrophes of mobile modernity. By focusing on the spaces of encounter emblematically represented by the overdetermined triangulation of Germans, Jews, and trains, he introduces a new genealogy for the study of European and German-Jewish modernity."--Jacket.
Though the history of the German railway system is often associated with the transportation of Jews to labor and death camps, Todd Presner looks instead to the completion of the first German railway lines and their role in remapping the cultural geography and intellectual history of Germany's Jews. Treating the German railway as both an iconic symbol of modernity and a crucial social, technological, and political force, Presner advances a groundbreaking interpretation of the ways in which mobility is inextricably linked to German and Jewish visions of modernity. Moving beyond the tired model of a failed German-Jewish dialogue, Presner emphasizes the mutual entanglement of the very categories of German and Jewish and the many sites of contact and exchange that occurred between German and Jewish thinkers. Turning to philosophy, literature, and the history of technology, and drawing on transnational cultural and diaspora studies, Presner charts the influence of increased mobility on interactions between Germans and Jews. He considers such major figures as Kafka, Heidegger, Arendt, Freud, Sebald, Hegel, and Heine, reading poetry next to philosophy, architecture next to literature, and railway maps next to cultural history. Rather than a conventional, linear history that culminates in the tragedy of the Holocaust, Presner produces a cultural mapping that articulates a much more complex story of the hopes and catastrophes of mobile modernity. By focusing on the spaces of encounter emblematically represented by the overdetermined triangulation of Germans, Jews, and trains, he introduces a new genealogy for the study of European and German-Jewish modernity.
Mobile Lifeworlds illustrates how the imaginaries and ideals of Western travellers, especially those of untouched nature and spiritual enlightenment, are consistent with media representations of the Himalayan region, romanticism and modernity at large. Blending tourism and pilgrimage, travel across Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and Northern India is often inspired and oriented by a search for authenticity, adventure and Otherness. Such valued ideals are shown, however, to be contested by the very forces and configurations that enable global mobility. The role ubiquitous media and mobile technologies now play in framing travel experiences are explored, revealing a situation in which actors are neither here nor there, but increasingly are ‘inter-placed’ across planetary landscapes. Beyond institutionalised religious contexts and the visiting of sacred sites, the author shows how a secular religiosity manifests in practical, bodily encounters with foreign environments. This book is unique in that it draws on a dynamic and innovative set of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives, especially phenomenology, the mobilities paradigm and philosophical anthropology. The volume breaks fresh ground in pilgrimage, tourism and travel studies by unfolding the complex relationships between the virtual, imaginary and corporeal dynamics of contemporary mobile lifeworlds.
Moving Places draws together contributions from Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa, exploring practices and experiences of movement, non-movement, and place-making. The book centers on “moving places”: places with locations that are not fixed but relative. Locations appearing to be reasonably stable, such as home and homeland, are in fact always subject to practices, imaginaries, and politics of movement. Bringing together original ethnographic contributions with a clear theoretical focus, this volume spans the fields of anthropology, human geography, migration, and border studies, and serves as teaching material in related programs.
This book analyses three of the most prevalent illnesses of late modernity: anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s disease, in terms of their relation to cultural pathologies of the social body. Usually these conditions are interpreted clinically in terms of individualized symptoms and responded to discretely, as though for the most part unrelated to each other. However, these diseases also have a social and cultural profile that transcends their particular symptomologies and etiologies. Anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s are diseases related to disorders of the collective esprit de corps of contemporary society. Multidisciplinary in approach, the book addresses questions of how these conditions are manifest at both the individual and collective levels in relation to hegemonic biomedical and psychologistic understandings. Rejecting such reductive diagnoses, the authors argue that anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other contemporary epidemics, are to be analysed in the light of individual and collective experiences of profound and radical changes in our civilization. A diagnosis of our times, Late Modern Subjectivity and its Discontents will appeal to a broad range of scholars with interests in health and illness, the sociology of medicine and contemporary life.
This book examines temporal and formal disruptions found in American autobiographical narratives produced during the end of the nineteenth century. It argues that disruptions were primarily the result of encounters with new communication and transportation technologies. Through readings of major autobiographical works of the period, James E. Dobson argues that the range of affective responses to writing, communicating, and traveling at increasing speed and distance were registered in this literature’s formal innovation. These autobiographical works, Dobson claims, complicate our understanding of the lived experience of time, temporality, and existing accounts of periodization. This study first examines the competing views of space and time in the nineteenth century and then moves to examine how high-speed train travel altered American literary regionalism, the region, and history. Later chapters examine two narratives of failed homecoming that are deeply ambivalent about modernity and technology, Henry James’s The American Scene and Theodore Dreiser’s A Hoosier Holiday, before a reading of the telephone network as a metaphor for historiography and autobiography in Henry Adams’s The Education of Henry Adams.
Images of ruins may represent the raw realities created by bombs, natural disasters, or factory closings, but the way we see and understand ruins is not raw or unmediated. Rather, looking at ruins, writing about them, and representing them are acts framed by a long tradition. This unique interdisciplinary collection traces discourses about and representations of ruins from a richly contextualized perspective. In the introduction, Julia Hell and Andreas Schönle discuss how European modernity emerged partly through a confrontation with the ruins of the premodern past. Several contributors discuss ideas about ruins developed by philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, Georg Simmel, and Walter Benjamin. One contributor examines how W. G. Sebald’s novel The Rings of Saturn betrays the ruins erased or forgotten in the Hegelian philosophy of history. Another analyzes the repressed specter of being bombed out of existence that underpins post-Second World War modernist architecture, especially Le Corbusier’s plans for Paris. Still another compares the ways that formerly dominant white populations relate to urban-industrial ruins in Detroit and to colonial ruins in Namibia. Other topics include atomic ruins at a Nevada test site, the connection between the cinema and ruins, the various narratives that have accrued around the Inca ruin of Vilcashuamán, Tolstoy’s response in War and Peace to the destruction of Moscow in the fire of 1812, the Nazis’ obsession with imperial ruins, and the emergence in Mumbai of a new “kinetic city” on what some might consider the ruins of a modernist city. By focusing on the concept of ruin, this collection sheds new light on modernity and its vast ramifications and complexities. Contributors. Kerstin Barndt, Jon Beasley-Murray, Russell A. Berman, Jonathan Bolton, Svetlana Boym, Amir Eshel, Julia Hell, Daniel Herwitz, Andreas Huyssen, Rahul Mehrotra, Johannes von Moltke, Vladimir Paperny, Helen Petrovsky, Todd Presner, Helmut Puff, Alexander Regier, Eric Rentschler, Lucia Saks, Andreas Schönle, Tatiana Smoliarova, George Steinmetz, Jonathan Veitch, Gustavo Verdesio, Anthony Vidler
Examining the notion of migration and transnationalism within the life and work of Joseph Conrad, this book situates the multicultural and transnational characters that comprise his fiction while locating Conrad as a subject of the Russian state whose provenance is Polish, but whose identity is that of a merchant sailor and English country gentleman. Conrad's characters are often marked by crossings – changes of nation, changes of culture, changes of identity – which refract Conrad's own cultural transitions. These crossings not only subjectivise the experience of the migrant through the modern complexities of technology and speed, but also through cross-cultural encounters of food and language. Collectively, these essays explore the experience of the migrant as exile; the inescapable intermeshing of migration, modernity and transnationalism as well as Conrad's own global and multicultural outlook. Conrad's work writes across historical, political and ethnic borders speaking to a transnational reality that continues to have relevance today.
In the wide-ranging and innovative essays of Cultures in Motion, a dozen distinguished historians offer new conceptual vocabularies for understanding how cultures have trespassed across geography and social space. From the transformations of the meanings and practices of charity during late antiquity and the transit of medical knowledge between early modern China and Europe, to the fusion of Irish and African dance forms in early nineteenth-century New York, these essays follow a wide array of cultural practices through the lens of motion, translation, itinerancy, and exchange, extending the insights of transnational and translocal history. Cultures in Motion challenges the premise of fixed, stable cultural systems by showing that cultural practices have always been moving, crossing borders and locations with often surprising effect. The essays offer striking examples from early to modern times of intrusion, translation, resistance, and adaptation. These are histories where nothing--dance rhythms, alchemical formulas, musical practices, feminist aspirations, sewing machines, streamlined metals, or labor networks--remains stationary. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Celia Applegate, Peter Brown, Harold Cook, April Masten, Mae Ngai, Jocelyn Olcott, Mimi Sheller, Pamela Smith, and Nira Wickramasinghe. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.
How aluminum enabled a high-speed, gravity-defying American modernity even as other parts of the world paid the price in environmental damage and political turmoil. Aluminum shaped the twentieth century. It enabled high-speed travel and gravity-defying flight. It was the material of a streamlined aesthetic that came to represent modernity. And it became an essential ingredient in industrial and domestic products that ranged from airplanes and cars to designer chairs and artificial Christmas trees. It entered modern homes as packaging, foil, pots and pans and even infiltrated our bodies through food, medicine, and cosmetics. In Aluminum Dreams, Mimi Sheller describes how the materiality and meaning of aluminum transformed modern life and continues to shape the world today. Aluminum, Sheller tells us, changed mobility and mobilized modern life. It enabled air power, the space age and moon landings. Yet, as Sheller makes clear, aluminum was important not only in twentieth-century technology, innovation, architecture, and design but also in underpinning global military power, uneven development, and crucial environmental and health concerns. Sheller describes aluminum's shiny utopia but also its dark side. The unintended consequences of aluminum's widespread use include struggles for sovereignty and resource control in Africa, India, and the Caribbean; the unleashing of multinational corporations; and the pollution of the earth through mining and smelting (and the battle to save it). Using a single material as an entry point to understanding a global history of modernization and its implications for the future, Aluminum Dreams forces us to ask: How do we assemble the material culture of modernity and what are its environmental consequences? Aluminum Dreams includes a generous selection of striking images of iconic aluminum designs, many in color, drawn from advertisements by Alcoa, Bohn, Kaiser, and other major corporations, pamphlets, films, and exhibitions.