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Project Paletschek/Reusch

 

History in German Illustrated Magazines of the 19th Century (ca. 1850-1914/18)

 

In the middle of the 19th century, illustrated family magazines developed as the first form of modern mass media. These magazines, offering both entertainment and instruction at the same time, played an important role for the circulation of images of history. The new interest in history that emerged in the 19th century took place throughout various popular print media – not only in magazines for the bourgeoisie, but also in those for lower classes, across all generations and in both genders. This project analyzes the forms of historical representation in German illustrated magazines from 1850 until 1914 as well as the topics and eras which are depicted. One main focus will be on the function of this popular writing of history.

These specific images of history can be read as documents of the culture of history in which mentalities, ideals and needs of orientation are reflected. The concern with one’s own history is an important aspect in the construction of identities, especially in an era in which a German national consciousness – the basis on which the discovery and construction of a national German past is founded – develops. Moreover, the representations of history in 19th century journals shed light on how people coped with the challenges of modernity and the changing structures of society, such as new relations between classes and genders. Therefore, we will not only analyze how history is presented but also the contexts and conditions of the production and the reception of illustrated magazines.

 

Project Director: Prof. Dr. Sylvia Paletschek (Modern History)

Assistants: Nina Reusch, M. A. (Modern History), Student Assistant Christian Kercher (Modern History)

 

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