Life among the Ruins: Cityscape and Sexuality in Cold War Berlin (Genders and Sexualities in History)

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9780230202016: Life among the Ruins: Cityscape and Sexuality in Cold War Berlin (Genders and Sexualities in History)
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As home to 1920s debauchery and excess and Hitler's Final Solution, Berlin's physical and symbolic landscape was an important staging ground for the highs and lows of modernity. Life among the Ruins asks how postwar attempts to rebuild infrastructure and identity necessitated an engagement with past practices set in motion long before 1945. Berliners were forced to adapt swiftly to changing historical circumstances. City spaces could be enabling as well as restrictive, sites of danger and desire, places of crime and adventure. As expats, soldiers, visitors, and citizens navigated the ruined urban landscape in search of what once was, they discovered signs of destruction but also signs of life. Although a symbol of defeat and destruction, the rubble gave refuge to a reemerging gay and lesbian scene, while youth gangs, prostitutes, hoods, and hustlers sought shelter and community there. As a metaphor for a modernity both feared and desired, the book questions what became of this history in the years leading up to the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 when Cold War confrontation meant the city continued to occupy a unique place in 20th century European history.

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About the Author:

JENNIFER V. EVANS is Professor of History at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canadawhere she teaches courses in the history of Europe, sexuality, populism, andvisual culture. Alongside her monograph Life among the Ruins: Cityscapeand Sexuality in Cold War Berlin (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), she hasco-edited Queer Cities, Queer Cultures: Europe since 1945 (ContinuumPress, 2014) with Matt Cook, Was ist Homosexualität? (Männerschwarm,2014) with Florian Mildenberger, Jakob Pastoetter,and Rüdiger Lautmann and The Ethics of Seeing: 20th Century GermanPhotography with Paul Betts and Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann (Berghahn, 2017). In August 2016, she edited a special theme issue of the journal GermanHistory on "queering German history." Her collaborativemonograph Holocaust Memory in the Digital Mediascape will be published by Bloomsbury in 2018. Evans is a member of the College of New Scholars, Royal Society of Canada.

Review:

"In this excellent and pathbreaking monograph Evans sets a new benchmarkfor studies of Cold War Berlin. Hers will be a tough act to follow." - Mark Fenemore, American Historical Review.

"From mothers sheltering in bunkers, children playing in the ruins, andrent boys plying their trade at train stations, to teenagers courting at the Wannsee, Jennifer Evans brings the experiences of Berliners alive.This is a fascinating book, which should be read by all those with aninterest in the social history of the early Cold War." - JosieMcLellan, University of Bristol

"A compelling and imaginative experiment in joining the history of urban space with the histories of social deviance and culturalreconstruction, Evans' book provides a richly detailed portrait of aradically dislocated world." - Dagmar Herzog, author of Sexuality in Europe: A Twentieth-Century History

"Evans's analysis of the available visual material proves to be innovative and illuminating." - Malte Zierenberg, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany

"Greatly aided by her eloquent storytelling, the book reaches out across disciplines and appeals not only to historians of postwar Germany but also to geographers as well as scholars of film, literature, and gender studies." - Yuliya Komska, Dartmouth College, United States

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