"Representation of Imperial Claims in
Berlin and New York"
This project tries to analyse the staging, exhibition and representation of imperial claims in the two metropolises of Berlin and New York. In this process any try of both urban and national institutions and actors to make a worldwide impact and demand power or rule in a transnational context or global scale will be understood as imperial claim. This will be studied within the regional framework of the metropolis – which can be seen as an extraordinarily dense room of action and showcase of the nationstate alike. In total four examples will be provided, two for each city.
These examples will be a building (the Berlin Siegessäule/victory pillar, completed 1873, which also played a role in the nazi planning for the “world-captial Germania” and was therefore relocated and New York’s Empire State Building, opened in 1931) and a public parade (the one of the few soldiers returning to Berlin from the former colony of East Africa after First World War in 1919 und the parade honouring the Apollo 11 mission (moon landing) in New York in 1969). Each of these four examples can be connected to a wider understanding world and to massive imperial claims of the nation in question. Thus, at the same time the examples do not stand solely but can be interconnected and compared. Following this path both specific aspects and chronologies of national imperialist styles and certain peculiarities the metropolis as urban center can be shown.
The project is especially concerned with questions of interaction between imperial desires and their physical realisation in the metropolis. How can the claim to global power and imperial rule be articulated in the complex social, cultural and architectonic surrounding of the urban area? Which facts have to be given as a precondition to allow a city to imagine itself as a “worldcity” – and to be understood as such by others? Are national, global or much more local initiatives and actions needed?
Summing up this project tries to bring together new scholarly ideas on globality, transnationalism, and imperial linkage with the questions of urban and metropolitan research. In doing so the project is aiming at a relocation and reconstruction of the city and in particular of Berlin and New York within a globalised and imperially dominated world.
DFG-Fellow at the Transatlantic Graduate Research Program Berlin – New York (TU Berlin)
Projectwork with Prof. Sebastian Conrad; Prof. Klaus Schröder
M.A. (Magister Artium) Free University Berlin
European Studies; University of Sussex, Brighton
History, New German Literature, Politics; Free University Berlin