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Reexamining how East Germans constructed their present and future subjectivities


Socialist Subjectivities works within the logics of queer time to reanimate East German subjectivities in the 1970s and 1980s beyond the narrative of the German Democratic Republic’s long march towards demise. While East Germany certainly ended in dissolution, not all East Germans experienced late socialism in a singular manner. Rather, even after a generation of building socialism, East Germans under Honecker continued to pursue a range of socialist presents and a multiplicity of socialist futures up to and beyond 1989. This edited volume utilizes queer temporalities to interrogate how individuals lived non-normative possibilities in a highly normative world.

Whether one was an apparatchik, artist, or alcoholic, the everyday interactions, experiences, and rituals of late socialism proved crucial to establishing the conditions around which subjecthood was constructed. Despite stereotypes of apathy and inertia, East Germans lent a considerable dynamism to their society, and by generating a cacophony of opinions and a heterogeneity of ideas, they constantly transformed state socialism. By foregrounding socialist subjects and the iterative nature of socialism during these decades, this volume paints a richer portrait of East Germany—one that illuminates how East Germans imagined their futures in a society whose collapse they could not foresee.

Scott Harrison is Faculty in Liberal Studies at Boston Architectural College. 
Jeff Hayton is Associate Professor of Modern European History at Wichita State University. 
Katharine White is Campus Outreach Program Officer at The Mandel Center in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.