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New Thinking: Rubble culture to techno in post-war Germany

Post-war and post-wall stories from cultural diplomats to reunified dancefloors. Lara Feigel, Grace Huxford and Tom Smith talk to Tom Charlton about their new Germanic research

As the 30th anniversary of the Berlin wall falling is marked on November 9th we rummage for stories amid the rubble. What were school teachers in Berlin pre-occupied with when the checkpoints were overrun? What would happen to the dogs of British forces families if the Cold War kicked off? Why was the poet Stephen Spender tasked with the ‘de-Nazification’ of German universities? And how does any of this relate to a 90s techno club in an air raid shelter?

Our host, New Generation Thinker Dr Tom Charlton, weaves together new research on different aspects of post-war and post-wall Germany.

Professor Lara Feigel from Kings College London is the Principal Investigator of Beyond Enemy Lines – a project looking at British and American writers and filmmakers involved in the reconstruction of Germany, 1945-49. The project is supported by the European Research Council http://beyondenemylines.co.uk/

Dr Grace Huxford from the University of Bristol is leading an oral history project on British military communities in Germany (1945-2000), exploring the experiences of service personnel, families and support workers living in bases. In 2019-20, Grace is leading the project as an AHRC Leadership Fellow (early career) https://britishbasesingermany.blog/

Dr Tom Smith from the University of St Andrews is currently exploring experiences of marginalisation in Germany’s techno scene. The first stage of the project is entitled Afrogermanic? Cultural Exchange and Racial Difference in the Aesthetic Products of the Early Techno Scenes in Detroit and Berlin. The first stage of the project has been funded by a Research Incentive Grant from the Carnegie Trust. Tom is also a New Generation Thinker https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/modlangs/people/german/smith/

This episode is one of a series of conversations - New Thinking - produced in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UK Research & Innovation.

New Generation Thinkers is an annual scheme to showcase academic research in radio and podcasts. You can find more information on the Arts and Humanities Research Council website https://ahrc.ukri.org

Producer: Karl Bos

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44 minutes

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