Eastern German News


 Newsletter of the Eastern German Studies Association

 #24 (November 1998)

On-line version of the EGSA Newsletter

This is the on-line version of the November 1998 issue. It is not identical with the published version, but it is close.

Table of Contents:


EGSA 1998 Conference Report

Over 50 people participated in the EGSA conference. Attentive readers will note a new abbreviation, EGSA instead of EGSG. The members decided to change the name to Eastern German Studies Association, since President Laurence McFalls reported that the funding sources he found for the conference were initially not sure what to make of a group, whereas they knew what an association was.

The conference had the usual wide range of papers concerning Eastern Germany. If sufficient money remains, a selection will be published. Lively discussion followed most papers, and all agreed that Laurence McFalls had done an excellent job of organizing the gathering.

At the business meeting, Scott Gissendanner reported that we finally have U.S. IRS approval and that the EGSA is solvent. The treasurer's report is as follows:

 Balance: 4/1996    $2.631.17
   Dues 855.00
   Interest and other income 293.29
   Newsletter Postage 330.00
   Travel grant 1995 200.00
 IRS Penalty 31.25
   Deposit, Ritz-Carlton 750.00
 AFTER DEPOSIT RET    3,218.21

The members approved up to $800 in travel grant for graduate students or underemployed participants who had not received other travel support.

Laurence McFalls, who had assumed leadership in 1995 on a platform of working to end the then EGSG, having fulfilled at least part of his promise by encouraging the new name "Eastern German Studies Association," was re-elected president for 1998-2001. Scott Gissendanner, Ellen Anderson and Randall Bytwerk were re-elected as well. New executive committee members are Bradden Weaver and Meredith Heiser. Henry Krish continues by virtue of his status as past president.

After considerable discussion, the members agreed that the Eastern German Studies Association continues to serve a useful role in the scholarly landscape, though it might make sense to "move" the organization to Canada, perhaps placing it under the aegis of the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies. The executive committee was voted the authority to make such changes as it thought best for the organization's future.

The next EGSA conference will be in 2001, probably in Montreal or Toronto.

Call for papers for the 1999 New Hampshire Symposium

The call for papers for the 25th New Hampshire Symposium is available.

Einladung zur internationalen DDR- Forschertagung vom 19.-22.11.1998

"Neue Analysen und Erkenntnisse zur DDR-Geschichte"

Ort: Europäische Akademie Otzenhausen/Saar

Das Sozialwissenschaftliche Forschungsinstitut der Europäischen Akademie Otzenhausen, die Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung und die Union-Stiftung Saarbrücken laden erneut ein zu einer internationalen DDR- und Deutschland-forschertagung vom 19.-22.11.1998.


Donnnerstagabend, 19.11.1998 Eröffnung mit einem Zeitzeugen 1989/90
Freitag, 20.11.1998: Arbeit in Sektionen:
I. Alltag
II. Herrschaft
III. Außenbeziehungen
Samstagvormittag, 21.11.1998: Schwerpunktthema: Kultur und Politik in der DDR
Samstagnachmittag: Plenar: Konzeptionen und Diskussionen über Diktaturen in Deutschland
Sonntagvormittag, 22.11.1998: Die Sowjetunion und ihr Einfluß auf die Entwicklungen in Ost- und Mitteleuropa

Wir bitten für die Arbeit in Sektionen und für die Schwerpunktthemen um Referats-vorschläge mit Dispositionen und bitten um Verständnis, daß wir uns für die Programm-zusammenstellung eine Auswahl vorbehalten. Eine Publikation von eingereichten Vorschlägen ist vorgesehen.

Eine Teilnahme von DDR-Forschern an der Veranstaltung ohne Referat ist auch möglich. Eine phasenweise Teilnahme ist nicht erwünscht. Die Teilnahme ist kostenlos.Wir bitten um Vorschläge und/oder Anmeldungen an:

Prof. Dr. Dr. Heiner Timmermann
Sozialwissenschaftliches Forschungsinstitut
der Europäische Akademie Otzenhausen
66620 Nonnweiler
Tel. 06873/662 266 und 267
Fax 06873/662 250

Bibliographies and Publication Lists Needed

We're happy to post either lists of your publications or useful bibliographies on the EGSA web site. The best way to do this is for people to maintain their own ages, which can be linked from the EGSG site. For those not yet fluent in HTML, however, the newsletter editor will do the work. Email the editor any useful information as well that would be of interest to EGSA members.

Go to table of contents

Conference Announcements and Reports

Report on the 1998 Conway Conference

The report is available here.

Conference on France and Germany in Dialog over the History of East Germany

On June 6, 1998 the Centre Marc Bloc de recherches en sciences sociales hosted a conference on "France and Germany in Dialog over the History of East Germany."

From the conference announcement: The social history of the GDR is the focus of the recently published isue of the French journal Annales sciences sociales et histoire (Vol. 53, Nr. 1). These articles, authored by German historians, reflects the growing interest in France for this new area for research as well as for German historiography in general. The articles makes use of approaches which are also widely used in French historical studies. Thus the history of the GDR can contribute to a dialog between two national traditions of historical writing which have hardly noticed each other until now. Moreover, French interpretations of the GDR history have been enriched by the research like that of the Centre Marc Bloc and of the Centre d'etudes et de recherches allemandes (EHESS, Paris).

The one-day conference consisted of three panels: "The social history of the GDR and its contribution to historical social science"; "Convergence of two national historiographies: three examples"; "French perspectives and their contribution to GDR-History".

The conference announcement lists the following contact partners. Pierre Jardin at the Centre Marc Bloc, Schiffbauerdamm 19, 10117 Berlin; (30) 30874-295; and Thomas Lindenberger at the Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam; (0331)28991 16.

1999 Berlin Conference on the GDR

The Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam is organizing a major conference in early summer, 1999 titled "1949-1989-1999: Getrennte Vergangenheit--gemeinsame Geschichte? Die doppelte Staatsgründung 1949 und die friedliche Revolution 1989: Wegmarken der deutschen Nachkriegsgeschichte." The conference will include scholars, political figures, those from the media, authors and the general public.

Go to table of contents

Miscellaneous News

DEFA Films Now Available

ICESTORM International, a new company, in collaboration with the DEFA film library at the University of Massachusetts, is making available a large variety of DEFA films on video, some with English subtitles. Films already available include Die Mörder sind unter uns, Einer trage des anderen Last..., Jakob der Lügner and Spur der Steine. For further information, contact Hiltrud Schulz or write:

ICESTORM International
78 Main Street
Northhampton, MA 01060
Phone: (413) 587-9334
Email: info@icestorm-video.com

Greg Eghigian, University of Texas at Arlington

This research project examines the uses and cultural assumptions of psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy in West and East Germany in order to assess the extent to which the two societies developed persistently different values and ideals of individualism, human nature, and personal well-being. Archival, library, and oral history sources will all be used.

How do we account for the fissures and tensions that have followed the end of Soviet-style communism? The evidence and observations of social scientists, social critics, and historians suggest that a separate political and economic existence of some forty years nurtured separate ways of experiencing the world. The case of postwar Germany highlights the degree to which the division of West and East was capable of breeding persistently distinctive sets of values. One would thus expect to find expressions of such differences in popular definitions of personal worth and well-being, social conformity, and mental health. In short, the history of contemporary Germany offers an ideal place to explore the extent to which two historically whole, but physically divided, societies
developed different repertoires of individualism and selfhood during the Cold War.

My study shares the view of those social historians who have argued that most Germans experienced, or at least recalled, the 1940s as a profound rupture in "normal" life. I, however, extend this notion by contending that the end of World War II compelled a reconstruction (Wiederaufbau) not only of German society, economy, and politics, but of German individuality and selfhood as well. The postwar Germanies present a window into liberal and communist attempts to recover and rethink the notion of being human
after National Socialism and total war.

I approach this subject by focusing on a set of disciplines that rose to prominence in public debate after 1945: psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy. The very growth of psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy in the last fifty years indicates that Germans have been far from silent on the subject of selfhood. The widespread use and application of psychological explanation and technology since World War II -- by business, social services, law enforcement, the military, and lay people -- attests to a postwar obsession with the inner life of the individual not easily accounted for in the conventional terms of the history of ideas, encroaching social control over deviants, or the professionalization of experts. To be sure, the West and East German states exploited the psychological sciences to sanction specific versions of an "official self." Nevertheless, evidence exists -- for instance, in the drug subculture,
consumer complaints, and the "liberation" and anti-psychiatry movements -- to indicate that lay people were capable of appropriating and/or resisting such ready-made norms. Postwar psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy need to be seen then as providing an historically compelling arena for professionals, consumers, and social groups alike to establish, refine, and contest notions of identity, self-worth, belonging, and community.

The following outline sketches the thematic parameters of the project:

A. The Nazi Legacy
1. Psychological and Psychiatric Explanations of the Third Reich: In the decades after World War II, many observers turned to psychological and psychiatric explanations to understand Nazi violence and excesses. This section examines the contentions of these popular theories about the so-called "authoritarian personality" and "German mind."

B. The Official Self
2. The Social Psychology of the Worker and Consumer: Both postwar states heralded bold new economic programs: West Germany promised "prosperity for all" through a social market economy, while East Germany assured its citizens that building an "advanced socialist society" would bring material progress and social justice. Here I examine the ideals of the economic individual that premised such projects, from the "work psychology" of the shop floor to the social psychology that informed economic policy.
3. Military Psychology and Psychiatry: In this section I explore the application and development of psychology and psychiatry within the West German (Bundeswehr) and East German (Nationale Volksarmee) armies. Areas to be examined include the clinical assessment of fitness for duty and promotion, psychology in military planning, and psychiatric treatment within the armed services.
4. Children, Youth, and Developmental Psychology: The Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic were preoccupied with youth as both a peculiarly vulnerable and a potentially disruptive group in society. Here I explore psychotherapeutic interventions designed to identify and rehabilitate socially "at-risk" children and young people.

C. On the Margins
5. Criminology, Forensic Psychology, Forensic Psychiatry: This is an exploration of those assumptions about personality and human nature that informed the way criminology, forensic psychology, and forensic psychiatry assessed criminal behavior.
6. Institutional Care and the Mentally Ill: Following Nazi eugenic, "euthanasia," and genocidal programs, institutions of confinement in Germany were challenged to find new ways of treating the mentally ill. In this context, I consider how the mentally ill were understood and the nature of psychiatric treatment.
7. Drugs and the Experience of Self: The 1950s witnessed a revolution in psychopharmacology, while "recreational" drug use became an avowed lifestyle of youth movements in the 1960s. From psychedelics to prescription tranquilizers to anti-psychotics, the widespread use of psychotropic drugs brought altered states of consciousness to the forefront of public and professional attention. I discuss the use and marketing of drugs, what kinds of drug experiences were deemed legitimate and illegitimate, and how the problem of addiction was articulated.
8. The Search for Authenticity: This considers the liberationist experience movements of the 1960s and 1970s (anti-psychiatry, feminism, psychoanalysis, and sexual liberation) and the growth of self-help and authenticity movements in the 1980s.

I intend this project to contribute to current discussions in Germany over East-West identities. In particular, I hope to broaden debate beyond questions of state repression and competing economic ideologies to also include less obvious differences of individualization and inwardness (Innerlichkeit). Furthermore, by investigating the postwar establishment of and contentions over norms of subjectivity, this study will contribute to the historiographies of individualism, the human sciences, and the Cold War. Its unique contribution will be in understanding the pervasive preoccupation with the psychological in both East and West as evidence of
contemporary needs to reconstruct ideals of human nature and self. I therefore wish to historicize the boom in psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy after 1945, not in order to debunk it, but rather to see in it a barometer of historical speculation on human worth and conduct.

Greg Eghigian
Assistant Professor of History
Dept. of History
Box 19529
University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, TX 76019-0529
Phone: 817-272-3037
Fax: 817-272-2852
E-mail: gegh@uta.edu

Go to
to table of contents

New Reading

New Books

Materialien zur Erforschung der DDR-Gesellschaft. Quellen, Daten, Instrumente --ed. by Gesellschaft Sozialwissenschaftlicher
Infrastruktureinrichtungen e.V. in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Institut für Soziologie der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena und dem
Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung, Opladen: Leske und Budrich 1998, 396 Seiten, ISBN: 3-8100-2169-5. The
DM. 78. The volume describes the collection of documents, machine readable data both from surveys and censuses, data files available for the study of political prisoners. Added are information on specialized archives and libraries in Germany and a first analysis of the data file "Zentraler Kaderdatenspeicher". A documentary part lists over 700 research projects conducted on GDR topics during 1991-1997 in the German speaking countries and a selected bibliography on "Social Sciences and the Science System in the GDR". It can be ordered from"

Erika Schwefel
IZ Sozialwissenschaften
Abt Informationstransfer Osteuropa
in der Aussenstelle der GESIS
Schiffbauerdamm 19
D-10117 Berlin
Tel +49-30-30874260
Fax +49-30-282 36 92

Peter Barker (ed.), The Party of Democratic Socialism in Germany. Modern Post-Communism or Nostalgic Populism?, Rodopi, Amsterdam - Atlanta GA 1998. (German Monitor no. 42) ISBN: 90-420-0360-X (bound) 90-420-0350-2 (paper). These are the papers from the 1997 Reading conference on the PDS.

Dieter Hoffmann und Kristie Macrakis (Hrsg.), Naturwissenschaft und Technik in der DDR. Berln: Akadamie-Verlag, 1997. An English version from Havard University Press will appear by early 1999 under the title Science under Socialism: East Germany in Comparative Perspective.

Smith, Patricia J. After the Wall: Eastern Germany since 1989, Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998. The book includes essays by Thomas Baylis, Jörg Roesler, David Childs, Laurence McFalls, among other familiar names. It focusses on the institutional, social and cultural changes that have occurred, and provides comparisions with transitions in other East European states.

I have so far seen two titles in a Leske + Budrich series titled "Am Ende des realen Sozialismus":


SAPMO Bibliotheksbriefe

The latest issues of the SAPMO library's list of its holdings include:

Randy Bytwerk can provide a photocopy for those find a particular issue interesting.

Recently Completed Theses and Dissertations

Friedheim, Daniel V. "Democratic Transition Through Regime Collapse: East Germany in 1989," PhD dissertation, Yale University (political science), 1998. UMI no. 9815676

Go to table of contents

Requests and Queries

Roger Tidy is seeking information on East German propaganda aimed at West Germany and the rest of the world. "I am especially interested in the DDR's radio propaganda stations, such as Radio Berlin International, Deutsche Freiheitssender 904 and Deutsche Soldatensender 935, as well as its propaganda toAmerican troops through such radio voices as the Berlin Island Station (active around 1961) and OPS Berlin, on the air from the early to late 60's." He is also looking for information on John Peet, the former Reuters correspondent who defected to East Germany and subsequently became a communist broadcaster and editor of the English-language Democratic German Report.

Peter Bruhn is preparing a bibliography of all publications concerning the 17th of June 1953. It will be published probably next year. He would appreciate references to English-language publications on the topic. His postal address: Batschweg 10, D-14089 Berlin

John Rodden welcomes contributions to an edited book on DDR educational issues focused on textbooks and curricular issues from the Ministry of Education. The title of the book is Textbooks Reds: Ideology and National Self-Legitimation in East German Schoolbooks. It will be published by the University of Nebraska Press. I am especially interested in narrative history and portraits of East German educators and/or students and will respond to all inquiries.

Go to table of contents

Go to EGSA home page

EGSA Officers for 1998-2001


Laurence McFalls
Department de science politique
Université de Montreal
C.P. 6128
succursale Centre-ville
Montréal, Québec H3C 3J7

Email: laurence.mcfalls@umontreal.ca


Henry Krisch
Dept. of Political Science
University of Connecticut
341 Mansfield Road
Storrs, CT 06269-102

Phone: (860) 486-5334
Fax: (860) 486-3347
Email: henryk@uconnvm.uconn.edu


Scott Gissendanner
bei Gnielka
Potsdamer-Str. 82
15711 Koenigs Wusterhausen
Email: gissendanner@t-online.de


Meredith Heiser
707 Laurel Ave.
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Email: mah2369@fhda.edu


Randall Bytwerk
CAS Department
Calvin College
3201 Burton SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Phone: (616) 957-6286
Fax: (616) 957-6601

Members- at-Large:

Bradden Weaver
583 Valley View Dr.
New Holland, PA 17577
Email: bweaver@zedat.fu-berlin.de

Ellen Anderson
Center for German and European Studies
School of Foreign Service
Georgetown University
Washington, DC 20057

Tel. 202-687-8073
Fax 202-687-8359
Email: 75103.371@compuserve.com

In -progress version of the November 1998 EGSA Newsletter
Last updated 16 November 1998
Web Page by Randall Bytwerk
Calvin College
URL: <http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/egsg/latest.htm>