Date: 20 September 2011
Dr Rebecca Braun (Department of European Languages and Cultures) has been awarded the 2010 Max Kade Prize for the best essay published in the leading US journal German Quarterly throughout 2010. The American Association of Teachers of German will formally award the prize of $1500 at a ceremony on 19 November 2011 in Denver, Colorado.
The essay, '1967-2007: The Gruppe 47 as a cultural Heimat', looks in detail at how the high-profile post-war German authorial grouping, Gruppe 47 (Group 47), has been presented in the media since its official demise in 1967, and considers why the group still has a high level of symbolic capital decades after its active participation in the German literary field. Focusing on previously unresearched TV documentary material from the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s, it posits that the group's enduring importance in the German cultural landscape can be traced to the way it has been narratively and visually reconstructed within the mythologizing, emotive, and widely resonant terms of the Heimat discourse. Drawing on various philosophical and conceptual approaches to Heimat, a particularly German term that evokes both a physical homeland and a spiritual sense of belonging, it conceives of the Gruppe 47 as a "cultural Heimat" for the economically and culturally dominant white, middle class German literary field. In so doing, it shows how a specifically literary culture can be repackaged in the age of mass media to carry important debates about national identity and symbolize the search for an elusive collective cultural heritage.
Associated departments and research centres: European Languages and Cultures