". . . a rich and important scholarly work, clearing promising new territory for cultural historians and identity theorists."
---Theatre Research International
". . . an enticing, superbly documented, and exceptionally well-written account of the phantasmatic self-representations and impersonations of ethnicity in late-twentieth-century Germany. . . . Embedding her analysis in feminist, queer, and critical race theory, Sieg shows how the German emulation and usurpation of ethnicities is linked not only to radical reification but also to performative attempts at transformation. . . . It ought to be read by all scholars interested in German studies, whether in the humanities or social sciences."
---Uli Linke, H-Net Reviews
The Holocaust is considered a singularly atrocious event in human history, and many people have studied its causes. Yet few questions have been asked about the ways in which West Germans have "forgotten," unlearned, or reconstructed the racial beliefs at the core of the Nazi state in order to build a democratic society. This study looks at ethnic drag (Ethnomaskerade) as one particular kind of performance that reveals how postwar Germans lived, disavowed, and contested "Germanness" in its complex racial, national, and sexual dimensions.
Ethnic Drag is an accessible and sophisticated, critical and entertaining book that examines the phenomenon of cultural masquerade in order to examine racial feeling, thought, and behavior in postwar German culture. Contributing to considerations of drag in postcolonial, feminist, and queer scholarships, this book will be of interest to people in German studies, theater performance, ethnic studies, and women's/queer studies.
Katrin Sieg is Associate Professor, Department of German and Center for German and European Studies, Georgetown University.