This chapter examines views of the 1918–19 Revolution during the transition from Cold War division to German reunification in the late 1980s. It also takes the reader through the 1990s, a decade dominated by debates on the Holocaust rather than the First World War, and into the early years of the twenty-first century, a time of transition. It demonstrates that parts of the intellectual baggage of the Cold War were already being jettisoned in the period before the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, while other aspects took until 2009 or even later to cease casting a shadow over scholarly debates. Meanwhile, the peaceful revolutions in the GDR and across the Soviet bloc in 1989 also reshaped the way in which the ‘problem’ of revolution in German history – including in 1918–19 – was categorised, with less emphasis now placed on national narratives and frameworks. The chapter’s last section looks at what remains of other East German classical leftist interpretations from the mid-twentieth century, charting their continuing, albeit far from complete or irreversible, decline in the years since the end of the GDR.
This chapter focuses on Varda’s key fiction films up to Vagabond (1984): La Pointe Courte (1955), Cléo from 5 to 7 (1961), Le Bonheur (1964) and One Sings, the Other Doesn’t (1978). Where Varda’s career begins with an advocacy of couples in love – in La Pointe Courte and Cléo from 5 to 7 – the conception of the couple takes an extraordinary turn in Le Bonheur: a husband betrays his wife, only to then ask her to consent to his affair. Varda’s film is not necessarily critical of the husband’s actions, but nor does it endorse those actions. Rather, a guiding ethos of Varda’s works is that of refraining from judgement. The chapter expands on distinctions, introduced in earlier chapters of the book, between what Stanley Cavell calls acknowledgment and what Leo Bersani describes as connectedness. The chapter argues that Varda’s earlier films frame acknowledgment in a positive way, but, as her career progresses, the films move more and more towards an outlook that endorses connectedness.
This chapter focuses on Resnais’s Last Year in Marienbad (1961) by raising the possibility that this film can be considered a remarriage comedy. From this perspective, the woman (A) leaves her husband (M) at the end of the film in order to flee from the château with the man she met last year at Marienbad (X). The chapter offers a very close reading of the film. While this reading of the film could not be called definitive in any way, the chapter proposes it as a possible and convincing reading of the film. Besides being guided by Stanley Cavell’s notions of remarriage comedy, the chapter also discusses Marienbad in the light of Henrik Ibsen’s play, Rosmersholm, a key reference for the film. The chapter is also guided by Toril Moi’s Cavellian interpretation of Ibsen (in her book Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism).
This chapter explores how the German left from the early 1930s through to the late 1940s sought to incorporate interpretations of the 1918–19 Revolution into rival visions of a post-Nazi, anti-Fascist Germany. A vast array of German leftists found themselves scattered across Europe and America as a result of political persecution at home and the outbreak of the Second World War. However, only for a brief moment, in 1943–44, did anything like a joined-up narrative bringing together social democrat, Communist and dissident Marxist views begin to emerge. Ideological tensions had already returned by 1945–46, and grew more intense as a result of political developments in early postwar Germany and Berlin. The chapter ends with a discussion of how the centenary of the 1848 Revolution and the thirtieth anniversary of the 1918–19 revolution were marked on different sides of the East–West divide in 1948.
This chapter focuses on the unique ways that TV series contribute to screen borders. Ongoing series are able to adapt progressively to the changing political and social contours of Europe, and in some cases changing borders, as was the case with UK co-productions after Brexit. This chapter argues that the ‘border series’ has become a genre category of its own in contemporary Europe, and traces the most prominent characteristics of this vein of television. The first part examines key tropes, settings, and approaches in series that collectively represent what I identify as the European ‘border series’. European series from diverse locales on the continent share strikingly similar border imaginaries. The second half zooms in on three specific series that exemplify the mapping function of border series from three very different positions. All are also partially francophone, relating to and engaging with French or France in different ways. Capitani (2019–), the first series from Luxembourg distributed by Netflix (and the country’s first crime series), looks at Europe from a small but central perch. Occupied (2015–), a co-production of the Franco-German broadcaster Arte and Norwegian TV2, tells the story of an EU-endorsed Russian invasion of Norway in the near future as a response to that nation’s decision to halt all oil and gas production. Last, I consider the 2019 Arte limited series Eden, directed by Dominik Moll, who describes himself as a Franco-German individual but a ‘French’ director. The series traces five interwoven trajectories related to Europe’s refugee crisis.
Carbon emissions are the greatest environmental threat facing the planet and have been subject to ever more stringent regulation in recent decades. The UK, EU, and even the notoriously lagging US have made significant strides in changing the direction of their emissions, apparently bending down curves that had strained ever upwards for centuries. Yet the majority of these gains are a fallacy: a product of richer nations diminishing their share of global industry and ‘outsourcing’ carbon-intensive processes to the global South. These outsourced emissions now account for a quarter of global CO2 emissions, a figure that highlights the scale of wealthy nations’ ability to move emissions off their environmental books. There is even a name for this practice. The ability to effectively outsource emissions from richer to poorer nations has been described as ‘carbon colonialism’. Wealthier countries, overwhelmingly responsible for climate change both historically and currently, have set the terms of carbon mitigation at the negotiating table. Naturally, these terms favour the biggest emitters, allowing larger economies to offshore production processes to smaller ones, whilst maintaining the economic fruits of that production. In an era of global climate breakdown, this is as avoidable as it is pointless, yet the persistence of this line of thinking speaks to a centuries-old mindset. In a globalised system of unequal power, it is sufficient simply to outsource environmental problems like carbon. Bring in what is necessary and out, across the border goes (or stays) the rest.
Around the world, leading economies are announcing significant progress on climate change. World leaders are queuing up to proclaim their commitment to tackling the climate crisis, pointing to data that show the progress they have made. Yet the atmosphere is warming at a record rate. Arctic sea ice is reaching record low levels. Climate-linked poverty and precarity are rapidly increasing. Why, then, are the green achievements of the rich world not matched by the reality on the ground? As this book argues, the complexity of our globalised economy allows our worst environmental impacts to happen out of sight and out of mind. Rich nations’ environmental footprints are now primarily generated overseas, where limited regulation makes it increasingly easy to conceal. The result is a system of carbon colonialism, in which emissions, waste and environmental degradation are exported from rich countries to poor ones as the price of economic growth.
Building on the conceptualization of the radical right party family and impact as interaction effect, the chapter elaborates the idea that any political actor’s impact is tied to its environment; that is, the arena of interaction. The chapter, therefore, identifies the characteristics of the electoral arena in the region according to the power configurations in the party system. The key context factors discussed here concern the particular historical legacies (late nation-building, lack of democratic experience, communist legacy), the Brubakerian “triad” coming from the particular trajectories of nation-building and the accompanying cultures, and the structural patterns of underdeveloped electoral cleavages and underinstitutionalized party systems. The particular focus in the chapter is on the strength and electoral success of the radical right and the varying significance of ethnic and national minorities as well as refugees and asylum-seekers in the respective countries. Building on previously existing and novel survey data, the prevalence of xenophobic attitudes in the region and the salience of the radical right’s traditional and new-found scapegoats – that is, of ethnic and national minorities as well as asylum-seekers and refugees – are discussed to further specify existing opportunity structures. The chapter concludes with a brief overview of the main actors of the radical right scene in the seven countries from the regime change until 2016.
Opening with Toni Morrison’s explanation of how racialised systems and institutions recycle themselves, this chapter discloses the underbelly of White Mindfulness. It expands on the social forces that shape the Mindfulness Industry and explains how, given its disengagement with these deep societal dynamics, it comes to slot seamlessly into the US and UK. An insistence that all practitioners share a common humanity disguises an infusion in postracialism, neoliberalism, and whiteness that keep People of the Global Majority socio-politically and economically marginalised. This unquestioning of dominant narratives and norms partly explains White Mindfulness’ success and may account for an intransigence around change. Discussion of attempts at diversity and inclusion reveal tactics like spiritual bypassing that entirely evade transformation and reinforce the status quo. More importantly, social normativity exposes the invisibilisation of whiteness and postracial neoliberalism to those captaining the White Mindfulness ship. Drawing on Sara Ahmed’s On Being Included, diversity is addressed from all angles, most especially its co-option in making institutions believe they are allies of anti-discrimination. Ahmed’s work helps address the question ‘inclusion into what?’ by showing how easily diversity work becomes non-performative. Still, entering White Mindfulness spaces, while remaining tethered to the margins, presents prospects for subversion. In this context, Lorde’s master’s tools point to the requirements for real transformation and question whether diversity is a soft option compared to decolonisation.
We are used to the idea that climate vulnerability depends on geography, that certain parts of the world are more exposed to floods, droughts, or sea-level rise, and their populations are more exposed as a result. Yet, in reality, geography is only a part of the story. Within any given place, whether it be London or the Sri Lankan highlands, our experience of the climate is far from universal. Monsoon rains, even landslides, mean something quite different to someone surrounded by sturdy walls than they do to a person whose ceiling is in danger of collapsing. Economic inequality, the result of a long history of unequal accumulation, is the single biggest determinant of how climate change impacts the world’s populations. The poorer you are, the more vulnerable to climate change you are. If your livelihood is precarious, then you are climate precarious. Whether shivering in the safety of a London flat or braving the frontline of the climate crisis in the monsoon-lashed highlands of Sri Lanka, the environment we experience depends upon who we are and what we have.