Transnationale Perspektiven um 1900. Einleitung
Bilder der ‚eigenen‘ Geschichte im Spiegel des kolonialen ‚Anderen‘ – Transnationale Perspektiven um 1900.
Vol 19 No 5 (2009)
Herausgegeben von Claudia Bruns
Transnationale Perspektiven um 1900. Einleitung
Ambivalenzen einer Mimikry an die kolonialen ‚Anderen’
Wilhelmine Citizens and “Germanic Aryans” in the Mirror of the “Primitive” – Ambivalences of a Mimicry of the Colonial ‘Other’
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, ethnology was on the threshold of being established as a university discipline. Anthropologists and ethnographers endeavored to lend the new discipline stronger legitimacy and to explain its relevance to their contemporaries. The function of the “primitive” in all this was in many respects ambivalent. On the one hand, from an evolutionist perspective, the social order of indigenous peoples marked an earlier stage of development within a long civilizing process that culminated in western societies. To the degree that the indigenous Other was declared to be the origin and likeness of the western Self, however, the difference between the “primitive” beginning and the “civilized” end melted away. While the discourse on male societies (Männerbund) – which was continued in the “ritualist school” of German studies and archaeology at the University of Vienna – claimed to have discovered universally applicable types, thus implying a fundamental sameness between European and non-European cultures, that very discourse also propagated the racial uniqueness of the “Germanic Aryan,” which stood in direct contradiction to the assumption of universality. Following Homi Bhabha, my contribution is concerned less with dismissing such ambivalences as irrational and absurd than with identifying them as integral components of the colonial discourse and uncovering their mechanics and effects.
Zur Funktion der Krim als russischer Süden und des južanin (Südländers) im russischen Krim-Diskurs des Zarenreichs
As cultural studies have shown, the South is – like the East or the Orient - more than simply a magnetic orientation. The South stands simultaneously for both backwardness and passivity whilst also for authenticity, naturalness, and an exotic touch. The same is also true for the Russian colonial discourse of the Crimean peninsula which was annexed in 783. This article describes and analyses the ambiguity of the recording of the Crimean South in colonial debates: The Northern Russian power, located in the cold, attempted to ´find´ a warm and beautiful supplement on the peninsula. Moreover the annexing of the peninsula was also intended to demonstrate the Russian ability to ´civilise´ the ´backward´ former Crimean Khanate with its Muslim population.
Umwälzungen in China als Folie missionarischer Geschichtskonstruktionen, 1900–1912
In contrast to other agents of imperialism, Protestant missionaries were not (or at least not primarily) committed to a modern, secular concept of history in the Enlightenment tradition. Rooted, for the most part, in pietism or evangelicalism, they saw world history as part of a much wider history of salvation that was ultimately a divine project. Salvation history implied a teleology that would inevitably culminate in the establishment of the Kingdom of God. World history, on the other hand, was not meaningless: For those who were able to “read” it, historical events provided clues to God’s eschatological programme; at the same time, they testified to the intervention of God in human history. In the missionary discourse, confrontations with the colonial ‘Other’ had the same function of providing examples to corroborate the construction of a history beyond human history. This becomes evident in my analysis of a case study from China, a country that was not formally colonized, but which was subjected to “Western” dominance. The coverage of two events (the Boxer War of 1900 / 01 and the Republican revolution of 1911/12) in the periodical Chinese Recorder, notwithstanding differences, shows how contemporary events were regarded as proving divine immanence in history. In so doing, it not only points to ways of coping with imperialistic anxieties, but also calls for a more nuanced understanding of colonial modernity as a formation that includes the seemingly premodern.
Geschichtsbilder auf der Weltausstellung von St. Louis, 1904
Ethnographic displays were an integral feature of many of the World’s Fairs and international expositions. The display of ‘exotic’ races typically advanced powerful messages of civilizatory supremacy intended to provide imperial self-assurance and entertainment for the colonial metropolis. At the St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904 such anthropological exhibits reached unknown heights. The fair’s organizers hoped to introduce visitors to a coherent re-interpretation of the nation’s history of expansion and thus emphasized the perceived differences between European and U.S. approaches to colonial state-building.
By grouping native Americans and Filipinos side-by-side, the fair underlined the benefits of a paternalistic ideology of uplift through education and re-interpreted the colonial project as an anti-colonial civilizing mission. Despite this emphasis on the perceived merits of the ‘benevolent assimilation’ of the colonial ‘other’, however, the fair’s daily reality with its pervasive racism and strong exoticism subverted, complicated, and contradicted this exercise in colonial imagination.
– Zur Exposition Coloniale Internationale, Paris 1931
The highly ambivalent modernist discourse about a progressive colonialism (“colonialisme de progrès“) climaxes with the “Exposition Coloniale Internationale“ in 1931. This contribution argues that its struggle for a ‚partnership‘ between the colonial population and the simultaneous supreme power of the metropolis (in a political sense as well as in an economical and cultural) prefigures the decay of the colonial era. The ambivalences between “citoyen“ and “sujet“ are discussed as a crisis of the interpellation by “La Plus Grande France“ which draws through the field of the visible and thus the spectacular within the “exhibition complex.“ By means of contemporary photographs and police files, both pointing especially to the role of the „indigènes“ working and performing on the exhibition ground, this contribution tracks the emerging formation of anti-colonial movements and resistances.
Zur europäischen Ideologie der „Erschließung“ im ausgehenden 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert
Several generations of geopolitically influenced experts were overwhelmed by the infrastructural achievements of the late 19th century. The whole world appeared to be partitioned into spheres of influence by means of technology. The power of opening up and developing foreign territories seemed to demonstrate a superior historical position of the ‘white race’. The Europeans felt reconfirmed in assuming the prevailing position being entitled to the principles of efficiency. Consequently the indigenous people as antipodes were often described in terms of laziness or with the need to be awakened to productive labour. However, the ideology of ‘development’, understood as a ‘civilizing mission’ that was based in an almost religious belief in the supremacy of European technology, did not merely spark competition among the colonial countries, its advancement also contributed to the imagination of a possible European ‘decline’ in the future. This article seeks to assess the ‘technocratic approach’ within the history of globalisation and its interrelation to images of European ‘progressive technology’ as mirrored in the colonial ‘other’.
Miroslav Hroch zum 75. Geburtstag
The founding father of comparative research on nationalism, Ernest Renan, has recently been re-discovered by a culturalist mainstream dealing with identity and memory. And indeed can his famous Sorbonne lecture of 1882 “What is a nation?“ be read as an answer to the question of “What is memory?”. The article exemplifies Renan’s influence as a theoretician of ‘memories’ (souvenirs) and ‘oblivion’ (l’oubli) by three recent texts. These are the revised and extended edition of 1991 of Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, an essay by Jakob Tanner on Renan in the context of on ‘nation’, ‘communication’ and ‘memory’, published in 2001, as well as Aleida Assmann’s book of 2006 on cultures of remembrance and politics of history. As in the case of the ‘nation’ also concerning ‘memory’ Renan turns out to be an original though not systematic thinker well ahead of his time.