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Der Donnerstagsphilosoph

Blog by Markus Wahl, Historian of Modern German and Medical History

Month

February 2016

Due to current circumstances…

“To be apolitical means to be political, without realising it”

Rosa Luxemburg

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Doctors in East Germany after 1945 – Part I:

Investigating GDR history, one would encounter the claim of being ‘apolitical’ quite frequently – a claim, which describes the notion of being somehow removed from ‘big’ politics as well as the everyday political penetration of the private sphere by the socialist state. Historians in the past postulated that this notion was a typical reaction of the people towards the politicisation of their lives, establishing so-called ‘niches’ of retreat – some might claim it was the second ‘Biedermeier‘ era. Unsurprisingly, with this assumption the picture of the so-called ‘Gartensparten‘, or ‘Dachas‘ in Soviet Russia, was connected, which offered exactly the desired private realm, supposedly removed from politics.

However, this is only one part of the story. Augustine L. Dolores study about the ‘technical intelligentsia’ and my research about the ‘medical intelligentsia’ surfaced a multifaceted picture of why these two professions, in particular, claimed to be ‘apolitical’. Continue reading “Doctors in East Germany after 1945 – Part I:”

Deutschland 83 – A Recommendation

 

A highly entertaining and well-made TV series about an East German spy in a West German military base in the context of the arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States of America in 1983.

Medical Memories and Experiences – Part I of a Concept

Memory studies and the invention of new terminology, which supposedly captures different facets of the complex structure of remembrance, are booming since the last couple of decades. Not least, it is the connection with psychology and new insights in neuroscience, which enriches this field of historical research and provides fruitful approaches. However, many of its terms – like ‘cultural memory’, ‘collective memory’, etc. – remain blurry, and most authors in this field offer their interpretations and definitions, tailored towards their studies. Subsequently, one may ask if ‘medical memories and experiences’ is just another one of these terms, only useful for my dissertation.

However, the purpose of my Ph.D. thesis is to develop an analytical tool, which can be applied to different contexts and time periods. To achieve versatility in the concept, the creation of this tool occurs throughout the dissertation, within different settings in post-war East Germany (1945-1961):  Continue reading “Medical Memories and Experiences – Part I of a Concept”

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