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Constructing a German Diaspora : The 'Greater German Empire,' 1871-1918

ISBN: 9780415892261 | 0415892260
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Routledge
Pub. Date: 6/10/2014

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German unification in 1871 had a significant impact on those Germans who found themselves living outside, or migrating across, the borders of the newly founded Empire. Migrants' redefined their relationship with their country of origin and were increasingly represented as outposts of 'Germanness' whose ethnic links with the mother country had to be preserved for their own and the Empire's benefits. Germans worldwide underwent a redefinition from geographically scattered and disparate groups to being a unified transnational 'community of spirit'. This book is the first to specifically focus on the construction of an imagined homogeneous and Reich -focused diaspora through public discourse.It brings together constructivist approaches to ethno-national identity formation and transnationalist approaches to understanding the German Empire within its global entanglements. Based on local sources from a variety of countries, as well as transnational correspondence, the 'glocal' perspective adds new insight to existing studies with a geographical focus. A range of case studies serves to depict the mechanics, spread, and nature of nationalist thinking abroad, including colonial Namibia, transnational correspondence of the Central League for German Navy Clubs Abroad, South America, Colombo, and Bangkok, where "Germanness [was] in very good shape", that have never been the subject of scholarly analysis. This book shows the ways in which the 'Greater German Empire' did not remain a fictitious construct but became embedded in migrants' sense of national belonging and ethnic identity.


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