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[X-Post H-German] From: "Andrew Zimmerman" <email@example.com> Subject: ConfRPT: Colonized Politics (GSA 2004) Date: 2 November 2004 Report: German Studies Association 2004 Session Nr.: 69. "Colonized Politics: Resistance, Reform and Radicalism in the German Debate over Empire, 1890-1917" Panelists and Papers: Moderator: Ute Frevert, Yale University "Political Outsiders or Imperialist Reformers? Center-left Opposition, Colonial Sex Scandals, and the Rhetoric of Race, 1890-1902," Bradley D. Naranch, Johns Hopkins University. "From Atakpame to Heirachabis: African Resistance, the Catholic Center and the Reichstag Dissolution of 1906," John S. Lowry, Eastern Kentucky University "The Empire of Ambitions: Professors, Colonial Policy and the Radicalization of German Weltpolitik, 1904-1917," Erik Grimmer-Solem, Wesleyan University Commentator: Andrew Zimmerman, George Washington University This panel analyzed the political debates surrounding German overseas empire, showing that the question of overseas imperialism did not revolve around whether German rule in Africa was in itself just or unjust but rather how imperialism should be carried out. Each of the papers looked at colonial politics beyond the loudmouths in the "Deutsche Kolonial Gesellschaft" (DKG) (German Colonial Society) and the official debates in the German Reichstag. Each showed the impact of the unofficial debates about German overseas empire on official colonial, as well as domestic, policy. By focusing on the contentious politics of colonialism, the panel demonstrated that overseas empire is neither a stable thing, nor a mere ideology of otherness, but rather a historical process of competing interests. Bradley Naranch challenged the common view that Germany experienced a "colonial weariness" in the 1890s, noting that enthusiasm for the DKG had waned but interest in the colonies had grown. Newspapers and other popular literature gave the public information about the colonies independent of the DKG. In the Reichstag, political parties developed imperialist positions independent from the DKG. The Center Party focused on missionary activities against Islam and slavery. Progressives advocated for better training for colonial officials and the application of agricultural science in the colonies. The SPD focused on colonial sex scandals as part of a larger strategy of discrediting bourgeois elites. By 1902 the DKG had itself adopted the Progressivesí call for technocratic colonialism, partly as a response to the increasing public dissatisfaction with the sorts of scandals highlighted by the SPD. Far from "colonial weariness," the 1890s saw a range of public and political actors actively reshaping German colonial policy. John S. Lowry demonstrated the impact of African colonial resistance on the electoral politics of the Reichstag. In doing so he demonstrated the dialectical relationship between Kehrite Innenpolitik and an Aussenpolitik that includes African political actors. In Togo, a colonial Kulturkampf emerged when Catholic missionaries protested on behalf of Togolese subjected to German abuses. As missionaries in Togo came increasingly into conflict with German colonial policy, the Center Party in the metropole came increasingly into opposition to the government. These political scandals only added to Center party ire at the enormous expenses arising from the Herero-Nama uprising, as well as scandals associated with businesses supplying the colonial government. The colonial scandals that led to the Reichstag dissolution and so-called Hottentot elections of 1906-07 resulted, Lowry demonstrates, resulted not simply from scandalous imagery, but rather from the real resistance of African insurgents to German colonialism. Erik Grimmer-Solem focused on the imperialist politics of members of the "Verein fuer Sozialpolitik", especially Gustav Schmoller and his students, to demonstrate the appeal of colonialism to liberals. In doing so, he overturned older models equating enlightenment and liberalism with anti- imperialism and imperialism with irrationalism and illiberalism. Schmoller was directly involved in the 1902 Colonial Congress in which the DKG turned toward a progressive colonialism that appealed to liberal nationalists who came to see overseas colonies as a key to national economic development. At the 1902 Congress Schmoller advocated smallholding for African farmers, much as he had for German farmers in eastern Prussia. Schmollerís approach gained greater prominence through his close contacts to Buelow and to the reforming Colonial Secretary Bernhard Dernburg. Institutionalized in the Hamburg Colonial Institute, this liberal or progressive colonialism recruited far more support than did the bellicose nationalism of the pressure groups. It helped ensure the place of colonial ambitions within German national identity well beyond the Great War In his commentary, Andrew Zimmerman highlighted how each of the papers gave a far richer and more persuasive analysis of colonial politics by focusing on the debates among advocates of colonialism rather than on the question of yes-or-no support for empire. He noted that each of the speakers focused more on political debates than on political economic debates. Most contemporary commentators on colonialism worried as much about questions of class formation, capital accumulation and technological development as they did about questions of sovereignty. A political economic approach would have the advantage, the commentator suggested, of bringing in an even broader range of conflicts in Africa to the larger debate around colonialism. The ensuing discussion focused on the importance of debates within colonialism, the contradictions within many of the individual colonial positions, and the dynamic relationship between metropole and colony in the history of colonial and domestic politics of the Kaiserreich. Andrew Zimmerman History Department George Washington University For a complete listing of all sessions at the 2004 German Studies Association Conference, please visit <http://www.g-s-a.org>.