Remembering the Possible. Literature, Affect and Activist Memory in Germany, 1848-1900.
This project will map and analyse literary forms of activist memory in Germany, written in the period from 1848, when socialist activists started to regroup after the failed revolution, up to 1900. This project aims to achieve two main goals. First, it will argue that literature is a particularly well-suited discourse to explore the activist political mind. Specifically, this project will profoundly change our image of the German labour movement’s culture, history and politics, by exploring a prolific body of literary texts that critically represent former activists and historical protest movements. Second, this project will use literature as a testcase to develop a new comprehensive method to examine activist memory cultures and to explore how socio-political change is imagined. The literary corpus of this project is a constitutive element of a broader memory culture which consists of various multimedial practices of recollection. Among these, literature plays a prevalent and decisive role as an interdiscursive medium. Against this background, this project will explore activist memories as dynamic images of collective agency which are characterized by their mobilizing use of political affects and visions of historical changeability. In its pursuit of these two goals, this project will pilot future and interdisciplinary research in the culture and discourses of social movements.
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