The reunification of Germany in 1989 may have put an end to the experiment in East German communism, but its historical assessment is far from over. Where most of the literature over the past two decades has been driven by the desire to uncover the relationship between power and resistance, complicity and consent, more recent scholarship tends to concentrate on the everyday history of East German citizens.
This volume builds on the latest literature by exploring the development and experience of life in East Germany, with a particular view toward addressing the question: What did modernity mean for the East German state and society? As such, the collection moves beyond the conceptual divide between state-level politics and everyday life to sharply focus on the specific contours of the GDR's unique experiment in Cold War socialism. What unites all the essays is the question of how the very tensions around "socialist modernity" shaped the views, memories, and actions of East Germans over four decades.
"An impressive volume drawing together rich, diverse essays by some of the most interesting, well-known, and experienced scholars on the GDR in the field, on both sides of the Atlantic."
---Dr. Jan Palmowski, Senior Lecturer in European Studies at King's College London, and Review Editor for German History
"Delving into many sides of the GDR modern, Pence and Betts present both new empirical evidence and offer insightful theoretical perspectives. The idea of the 'Socialist Modern' provides an excellent conceptual framework; the focus on culture fills a hole in the literature, the introduction is theoretically sophisticated and well-grounded in the historiography, and the span and heterogeneity of the articles are impressive."
---Donna Harsch, Associate Professor of History, Carnegie Mellon University
Katherine Pence is Assistant Professor of History, Baruch College, City University of New York.
Paul Betts is Reader in Modern German History, University of Sussex, Brighton, England.