HomeGermany and its Images in World Exhibitions

Germany and its Images in World Exhibitions

L’Allemagne et son image dans les expositions universelles

Selbstbild und Image Deutschlands in den Weltausstellunge

*  *  *

Published on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 by João Fernandes

Summary

The very first World Exhibition, held in London in 1851, presented industry as a thriving sector, a dreamworld offering man endless possibilities. This theme was a constant in subsequent Exhibitions, culminating in the Paris Exhibition of 1900, which represented a new highpoint for technological achievement. It was at this time, between 1880 and 1914, that Germany sought to impose itself as an industrial giant. By the time of the Exhibition of 1904, held in the American city of St Louis[1], German industrialists were working harder than ever to achieve recognition from their peers around the world.

Announcement

Argument

The very first World Exhibition, held in London in 1851, presented industry as a thriving sector, a dreamworld offering man endless possibilities. This theme was a constant in subsequent Exhibitions, culminating in the Paris Exhibition of 1900, which represented a new highpoint for technological achievement. It was at this time, between 1880 and 1914, that Germany sought to impose itself as an industrial giant. By the time of the Exhibition of 1904, held in the American city of St Louis[1], German industrialists were working harder than ever to achieve recognition from their peers around the world.  Although German industrial output first overtook that of its competitors in 1990, the country had to wait until 2000 to hold its own World Exhibition. In the hundred years separating those two dates, Paris held no fewer than six such Exhibitions.  And yet, with rare exceptions, Germany took an active part in each World Exhibition.

The Nazi pavilion of 1937, located opposite the Soviet pavilion at the Trocadero, was undoubtedly the most striking of all. This was, however, the only time that the German state took control of the design of its pavilion. On all other occasions, it was German firms which financed the building of the country’s pavilion, in order to draw attention to themselves. The lack of involvement of the German state itself in the design of successive German pavilions is no doubt one of the main reasons why there exists no scholarly work dedicated to the history of German participation in the World Exhibitions (in stark contrast with the situation regarding France, for example). But what makes this question even more interesting is the fact that during all this time the German state had no clear, stable definition of itself as a state. Which Germany would she have shown to the world? The fragmented Germany that existed before the creation of the German Confederation in 1866, the Second Reich of Bismarck and William II, the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany of the Third Reich, the divided Germany of the Cold War era, or the reunited Germany of the 21st century?

Drawing on the growing scholarly literature on exhibitions and the representation of national identity[2], this volume will examine the different ways in which Germany sought to represent itself at these Exhibitions, as well as the ways in which these representations were themselves perceived by visitors and commentators from those countries which took part in, and organised the Exhibitions themselves. The different chapters will contribute towards a better understanding of the role Germany saw itself playing in the world community of industrialised nations. In this respect, they will build on the work of scholars such as Abigael Green who has studied the Exhibitions between 1851 and 1862[3], a time when Germany was only unified in the economic sense (and even then only partially), thanks to the Zollverein[4]. The contributions will also contrast the position Germany sought to occupy and the different reactions of visitors to the pavilions, visitors who themselves came from a broad variety of political contexts. The volume will also shed light on the reasons why, and the ways in which Germany was able to impose itself on the world stage as a great industrial power, at a time when it was not a great political power.

Submission guidelines

Contributions of between 3,500 and 5,000 characters (including spaces) should be sent to the following email address: pcohen-avenel@u-paris10.fr

by 6 November 2015

If accepted for publication, the deadline for final versions is 30 April 2016. Contributions may be written in German or in English.

The volume will be published by Koenigshausen & Neumann, Würzburg, Germany.

Editor

Prof. Pascale Cohen-Avenel (editor), Université Paris-Ouest-Nanterre-La-Défense, Centre de Recherche Plurildisciplinaire Multilingue (CRPM – EA 4418)

Scientific committee

  • Jean-Robert Raviot, PR à l’université Paris Ouest Nanterre, études russes et post-soviétiques, directeur du Centre de recherche Plurildisciplinaire Multilingue (CRPM – EA 4418), université Paris Ouest Nanterre
  • Brigitte Krulic, PR à l’université Paris Ouest Nanterre, études germaniques, CRPM
  • Bernd Zielinski, PR à l’université Paris Ouest Nanterre, études germaniques, CRPM
  • Graham Roberts, MCF à l’université Paris Ouest Nanterre, études russes et post-soviétiques, CRPM
  • Dorothée Cailleux, MCF à l’université Paris Ouest Nanterre, études germaniques, CRPM

Date(s)

  • Friday, November 06, 2015

Keywords

  • représentations nationales, expositions universelles, industrie

Contact(s)

  • Pascale Cohen-Avenel
    courriel : pcohen-avenel [at] u-paris10 [dot] fr

Information source

  • Pascale Cohen-Avenel
    courriel : pcohen-avenel [at] u-paris10 [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Germany and its Images in World Exhibitions », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, August 09, 2017, http://calenda.org/335146