German Colonialism in a Global Age

German Colonialism in a Global Age

Politics, History, and Culture

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Book Pages: 432 Illustrations: 25 illustrations Published: December 2014

History > European History, World History, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

This collection provides a comprehensive treatment of the German colonial empire and its significance. Leading scholars show not only how the colonies influenced metropolitan life and the character of German politics during the Bismarckian and Wilhelmine eras (1871–1918), but also how colonial mentalities and practices shaped later histories during the Nazi era. In introductory essays, editors Geoff Eley and Bradley Naranch survey the historiography and broad developments in the imperial imaginary of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Contributors then examine a range of topics, from science and the colonial state to the disciplinary constructions of Africans as colonial subjects for German administrative control. They consider the influence of imperialism on German society and culture via the mass-marketing of imperial imagery; conceptions of racial superiority in German pedagogy; and the influence of colonialism on German anti-Semitism. The collection concludes with several essays that address geopolitics and the broader impact of the German imperial experience.

Contributors. Dirk Bönker, Jeff Bowersox, David Ciarlo, Sebastian Conrad, Christian S. Davis, Geoff Eley, Jennifer Jenkins, Birthe Kundus, Klaus Mühlhahn, Bradley Naranch, Deborah Neill, Heike Schmidt, J. P. Short, George Steinmetz, Dennis Sweeney, Brett M. Van Hoesen, Andrew Zimmerman


"[T]he authors of this remarkable collection provide valuable accounts of such issues as Germany’s role in colonial medical projects (Deborah Neill), the ambiguous coastal 'semicolony' of Kiaochow in China (Klaus Mühlmann), and pre–World War I German and American naval strategy (Dirk Böhner)."  — Ralph A. Austen, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"German Colonialism in a Global Age is a solid contribution to the study of German imperialism. It expands the study of Germany’s colonialist past beyond earlier scholarship. However, its greatest contribution is to provide the wider community of scholars a window (or perhaps more accurately, a number of windows) into current research into the nature of German colonialism as part of the larger European colonial venture."  — Theodore Nitz, H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews

"This excellently edited collection summarizing the latest research on German colonialism will be extremely useful for faculty and students alike. . . . Highly recommended." — M. Deshmukh, Choice

"The collection incorporates creative scholarship that offers insight into previously unexamined or underexamined dimensions and agents of German colonialism. . . . German Colonialism in a Global Age is a welcome addition to the growing literature on German imperialism." — Daniel J. Walther, Central European History

"How to summarise an anthology of sixteen articles, which throw light on various aspects of German colonialism? German Colonialism in a Global Age makes the task astonishingly easy, owing to the editors’  careful selection and thorough arrangement of the contributions. Bradley Naranch and Geoff Eley, who stand for the book’s fusion of innovative approaches and authoritative tradition, offer nothing less than a comprehensive overview of the state-of-the-art in German colonial history." — Florian Wagner, European Review of History

"This edited volume does an admirable job of tackling the task set before it and by widening the definitions of what colonialism meant for those who imagined themselves as colonialists, invites us to reconsider imperial history and the global interactions that played a fundamental role in shaping it." — Mahon Murphy, LSE Review of Books

"These essays succeed magnificently in documenting the new vitality of German colonial studies. Naranch and Eley are to be congratulated on a volume that will be the starting point for all future research on the subject." — Joachim Whaley, Journal of European Studies

"German Colonialism in a Global Age is a thoughtful and innovative collection of essays that should be of interest to any scholar of modern Germany. The themes and questions raised by the contributors would also make the individual essays excellent discussion pieces for advanced undergraduate and graduate level courses on the history of modern Germany and imperialism." — Edward Snyder, H-TGS, H-Net Reviews

"This landmark collection showcases the latest research in many areas of German colonialism. As a state-of-the-art expression of a vibrant field, German Colonialism in a Global Age will set a new benchmark and become a standard reference." — A. Dirk Moses, author of German Intellectuals and the Nazi Past

"The volume offers both sophisticated historiographical reflection and rich empirical contributions. It is the best single volume on German colonialism."
— Lora Wildenthal, author of German Women for Empire, 1884–1945


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Bradley Naranch is Visiting Assistant Professor of History at the University of Montana.

Geoff Eley is the Karl Pohrt Distinguished University Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Nazism as Fascism: Violence, Ideology, and the Ground of Consent in Germany, 1930–1945, and A Crooked Line: From Cultural History to the History of Society.

Table of Contents Back to Top


Introduction. German Colonialism Made Simple / Bradley Naranch

1. Empire by Land or Sea? Germany's Imperial Imaginary, 1840–1945 / Geoff Eley

2. Scientific Autonomy and Empire, 1880–1945: Four German Sociologists / George Steinmetz

3. Science and Civilizing Missions: Germans and the Transnational Community of Tropical Medicine / Deborah J. Neill

4. Ruling Africa: Science as Sovereignty in the German Colonial Empire and Its Aftermath / Andrew Zimmerman

5. Who Is the Master Colony? Propriety, Honor, and Manliness in German East Africa / Heike I. Schmidt

6. A New Imperial Vision? The Limits of German Colonialism in China / Klaus Mühlhahn

7. Experts, Migrants, Refugees: Making of the German Colony in Iran, 1900–1934 / Jennifer Jenkins

8. Classroom Colonialism: Race, Pedagogy, and Patriotism in Imperial Germany / Jeff Bowersox

9. Mass-Marketing the Empire: Colonial Fantasies and Advertising Visions / David Ciarlo

10. Colonialism, War, and the German Working Class: Popular Mobilization in the 1907 Reichstag Elections / John Phillip Short

11. Colonialism and the Anti-Semitic Movement in Imperial Germany / Christian S. Davis

12. Internal Colonialism in Germany: Culture Wars, Germanification of the Soil, and the Global Market Imaginary / Sebastian Conrad

13. Pan-German Conceptions of Colonial Empire / Dennis Sweeney

14. Maritme Force and the Limits of Empire: Warfare, Commerce, and Law in Germany and the United States before the First World War / Dirk Bönker

15. The Rhineland Controversy and Weimer Postcolonialism / Brett M. Van Hoesen

16. Colonialism, Imperialism, National Socialism: How Imperial Was the Third Reich? / Birthe Kundrus


List of Contributors

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5723-0 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5711-7
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