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German Studies Association, Pittsburgh, 2006 Panel 89. Rethinking the Nineteenth Century: Mediated Expectations. Monarchy and Public Culture in the Nineteenth Century Moderator: David E. Barclay, Kalamazoo College Commentator: Jennifer Jenkins, University of Toronto "Creating a Bavarian National Past: Maximilian II and the Constraints of Monarchical Particularism" Eve Duffy, Trinity University "Image as Object: Social Praxis and the Use of Royal Memorabilia" Eva Gilloi, Rutgers University "From Kaiser to Fuehrer: Wilhelm II, Mass Media and the Transformation of Monarchy" Martin Kohlrausch, Deutsches Historisches Institut Warsaw Report from Jennifer Jenkins, University of Toronto This fifth panel in the series "Rethinking the Nineteeth Century" focused on the interactions between monarchy and the media from mid century to 1914. Starting with an analysis of the new forms of communication and consumption that emerged in the 1850s and both expressed and empowered a new public, the papers in this session traced the effects engendered by these cultural forms on the conduct of political life. Combining histories of the media with the history of high politics, with the explicit aim of critiquing the latter, they aimed to show how the emergence of a new consuming public affected the highest institution of political authority, the monarchy. New forms of media, they emphasized, and the ways in which they empowered a growing public, changed the way that monarchical authority was both presented and responded to. Specifically, the new media, including royal spectacles and carte de visite, were seen by the three presenters as changing the conduct of politics by creating new avenues for political expression. Eve Duffy began her paper with a familiar form of royal spectacle, the dynastic marriage. The wedding of Crown Prince Maximilian of Bavaria to Marie, the niece of the Prussian King, was a grand affair, including the presence of two hundred couples drawn from throughout Bavaria who appeared in so-called traditional costumes. As she claimed, this was an 'invented tradition,' chosen to show the king's appeal toward Bavarian nationalism and popular tradition. Her paper looked at numerous examples of the King's attempts to address public opinion, through symposia, a survey of the press and the collecting and preserving of Volk traditions. Via the 'theatrical representation of his rule' Maximilian attempted to recode and restore royal authority by appealing to the public. The commentator queried this point, as it appeared that rather than the monarchy being mediated for the public, it was the public which was being mediated for the monarchy. The monarch saw only portions of the public; he endeavored to see a tamed and domesticated public rather than one characterized by change and volatility. Eve Duffy's paper showed that the monarch's attempts to know and see the public could always be only partially successful. Throughout her paper one glimpsed a King obsessively attempting to know, to see and to gesture toward a public he sensed but did not see in its entirety. The populist sentiments he appealed to, as Eve Duffy claimed, were potentially explosive, and his concern and interest—the setting up of press offices to survey what was being written about him in the newspapers, were testimony to his awareness of potential volatility and his desire for control. Moving further into the nineteenth century and north by a few hundred kilometers, Eva Gilloi analyzed the emergence and popularity of royal collectibles in Prussia and their effects upon how the monarchy was perceived and its aura consumed. Specifically she explored the mass produced carte de visite royal photograph, introduced in 1854 and masterfully used by the Prussian King Wilhelm I. Widely collected, it presented a stiff, but surprisingly intimate, image of the monarch for common consumption. By analyzing the carte de visite, and the image of the monarch it could bring close to the subject, she tracked a changing relationship between monarch and public. During the nineteenth century, she wrote, 'subjects' transformed into an audience, defined by their self awareness and their expectations toward the monarchy they viewed. Through the widespread presence of carte de visite, a growing number of people claimed a new relationship to the King, namely one of familiarity. They felt that they 'knew' the monarch, a belief which had favorable consequences for Wilhelm I but not for his successor Wilhelm II, who rejected such forms of intimate address in favor of a more resplendent display of royal power. Martin Kohlrausch's paper, by contrast, raised a different set of issues. It also started with a different image of Wilhelm II. In contrast to Eva Gilloi, Martin Kohlrausch claimed that Wilhelm II was a media savvy monarch with "a strong sense for the new demands of the media." (1) He interacted with a daily press which drew sustenance from the language of sensation and melodrama and created himself as a media personality. He thus "commanded a base for public visibility none of his contenders could compete with" (2). He was confronted with a growing mass based public that aggressively approached the monarch and claimed to reach him directly. Martin Kohlrausch emphasized that the new media created the means through which the monarch could be conceptualized as a "Fuehrer." He defined a Fuehrer as "a leader who was neither legitimized in the traditional way of a monarch nor by institutionalized processes of a strictly democratic kind."(1). Rather, he emphasized the force of the media in this process over political movements such as radical populism or nationalism. In her commentary Jennifer Jenkins began with the changes in the public sphere at mid-century. The mass circulation journal Die Gartenlaube, for example, which started publication in 1853, pioneered a new form of address to a general public. She emphasized that the three authors conceived of the interaction between the public and the monarchy as a two way process, with the media providing the conduit through which the two approached each other. All emphasized the volatility of this process, its unpredictable outcomes. Throughout the monarchy was analyzed in relation to larger processes of social and political transformation. She connected the papers by looking at the three concepts they had in common—monarchy, media and public. By looking at their combinations one could trace a simple arc through the papers: In Eve Duffy's paper a monarch controlled the public, or attempted to do so, through a mixture of old and new tactics. Eva Gilloi's paper described a monarch benefiting from the introduction of new media, specifically the royal collectible. Finally, in Martin Kohlrausch's paper the monarch eventually lost control because of the power of the new media. Her questions fell into two groups: the first addressing the "invention of tradition" and the second analyzing the ways that the public could react to the monarchy. The papers had conceptualized this dynamic in a strong sense: namely that the reactions of the public would change the monarchy (thus they pointed toward, she said, an idea of political participation). Clearly, she said, a changing public sphere—its expansion, its vitality, the multiple publics that arose and the languages and associations that addressed them and through which they worked—clearly this public sphere had long term transformative effects on political structures and changed the exercise of power. But what kind of change did it have? How can we conceptualize it? What do we mean by participation and effect? What kind of participation, what kind of effect? She argued that more specific terms are needed for describing and analyzing these processes and that perhaps we are looking at how the media changed expectations of power and authority rather than seeing their consumption as a form of political participation per se. The invention of tradition, she emphasized, was about more than fabricated rituals. It was a political strategy. The concept addressed the changing forms of control exercised by a monarch or a centralized authority in response to an expanding audience, in response to a newly enfranchised public. According to Hobsbawm and Ranger, it was precisely the emergence of mass and newly enfranchised and active publics in the mid to late nineteenth century that created the need to invent traditions by the central authorities—often these rituals were done by nationalizing states, coalescing into what Benedict Anderson has called forms of 'official nationalism.' The invention of tradition was about the relationship between monarchy and public, she claimed, but it was about the grounds on which participation by the public would be recognized and granted by the monarchy. Moreover, it was an attempt at seeing and control that could only be partially successful and always had to be made and remade. Secondly, she asked the paper presenters how one could think of the consumption of media in terms of political participation. Acts of consumption are clearly acts of participation but of what sort? Can we think of the new control that consumers exercised in the viewing of images of the King (through the cartes de visite) as political participation? To participate in consuming images of the monarch is certainly to participate in social life, but how does this act constitute political participation? Does it move from acts of acts of individual consumption to forms of collective expression? Simply to say that to consume is to participate short circuits this process of meaning production. She suggested that the carte de visite perhaps prepared the way for later political expressions. It altered the distance between subject and monarch and changed the expectations the former had of the latter. Continuing this line of thinking she asked Martin Kohlrausch to further elaborate on his term "direct monarchy." Did the media have causal force in this context as he claimed they did? Are they the most important factor? This well-attended session ended with discussion on these points. The paper presenters emphasized the complexities of this interaction and its historical specificity. Along those lines they pointed out that the image of the media consuming public drawn from novels such as Heinrich Mann's Der Untertan (Diderich Hessling as mesmerized by the spectacle of royal power) are satirical as well as historically inaccurate. For a complete listing of all sessions at the 2006 German Studies Association Conference, please visit https://www.thegsa.org/conferences/2006/index.asp