CIAO DATE: 10/07
Oddly enough, the Frankfurt School's relationship to Columbia University has been somewhat neglected by its many historians. It is not hard to understand why the Horkheimer circle would have desired to settle at Columbia, but it is peculiar that the Frankfurt School would have received an invitation from Columbia. After all, why would Columbia University's conservative president, Nicholas Murray Butler, and its sociology department extend an invitation to a group of predominantly German-speaking social philosophers with strong links to the Marxian left?
As the current debates about the headscarf in Germany and France demonstrate, "Islamic" veils and headscarves garner attention for minority women in Europe to an unparalleled degree. For centuries, Islamic veils and headscarves have served as powerful symbols in Orientalist discourse, functioning as markers of the Oriental woman's supposed eroticism as well as convenient tropes for philosophers. Recent kidnappers' demands in Iraq that France lift its headscarf ban demonstrate the complex appropriations of Muslim women for fundamentalist discourses as well.
Although governing coalitions in Germany often win reelection, many observers were surprised by the victory of the red-green coalition in 2002. Earlier that year, the polls had shown strong support for a potential coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU), together with the Free Democratic Party (FDP). In the summer of 2002, however, the SPD and the Greens began to gain ground; and finally, the red-green coalition won the majority of seats in the election to the German parliament, the Bundestag, on 22 September 2002.
Cultural diversity has been one the most pressing challenges to present-day Germany. Issues of diversity and, its corollary from the perspective of the recipient society, the practice of toleration -as opposed to the personal attitude of tolerance- are being paradigmatically debated around the fate of Muslims. Although not new, Muslims presence and public claims, such as the claim for legal recognition of Islam and religious instruction in public schools, have undoubtedly raised the issue of diversity anew.
Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan, eds., The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003)
Jan-Werner Müller, ed., Memory and Power in Post-War Europe: Studies in the Presence of the Past (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002)
Kenneth Dyson and Klaus Goetz, eds., Germany, Europe, and the Politics of Constraint (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004)
Review by Craig Parsons
Todd Kontje, German Orientalisms (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004)
Review by Katrin Sieg
Paul Betts, The Authority of Everyday Objects: A Cultural History of West German Industrial Design (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004)
Review by Kathleen James-Chakraborty
Nick Thomas, Protest Movements in 1960s West Germany: A Social History of Dissent and Democracy (Oxford: Berg, 2003)
Review by Jeremy Varon
Jeannette Z. Madarász, Conflict and Compromise in East Germany, 1871-1989: A Precarious Stability (Houndmills: Palgrave MacMillan, 2003)
Review by Peter C. Caldwell