Natalie Scholz, born in Soest, Germany, in 1972. Ph.D. from the University of Münster. Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Amsterdam.
Fellow (1 September 2013 – 30 June 2014)
NEGOTIATING THE MODERN, REWORKING THE PAST. THE POLITICAL MEANINGS OF EVERYDAY OBJECTS IN WEST GERMANY (1945-1965)
How did everyday objects such as furnishings and automobiles acquire political meanings that contributed both to the establishment of a new West German identity and to dealing with the recent German past?
In post 1945 Western societies, the material remodelling of everyday life went hand in hand with a definition of the period as a definitive ‘New Age’. In West Germany, this undertaking was coloured with the particular urgency to dispose of the National Socialist legacy. The core idea of the project is to make a systematic connection between the ability of material things to contribute to the establishment of (new) identities and their ability to maintain or embody memories and/or traditions. Instead of asking what was ‘modern’ and what ‘traditional’, the aim is to investigate how the past was perceived and processed in that which was explicitly ‘new’ and how change was perceived and processed in that which was apparently ‘old’.
1) Natalie Scholz, ‘La démocratie et ses objets ou Repenser la représentation symbolique du politique à l’époque contemporaine’, Les Cahiers du CEVIPOF (in print).
2) Natalie Scholz and Milena Veenis, ‘Cold War Modernism and Postwar German Homes. An East-West Comparison’, in: Joes Segal and Peter Romijn (eds.), Divided Dreamworlds. The Cultural Cold War in East and West (Amsterdam University Press 2012), 155-180.
3) Natalie Scholz, ‘The “Modern Home” during the 1950s. West-German Cultural Reconstruction and the Ambivalent Meanings of Americanization’, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 121 (2008) 3, 296-311.