Brand of Brothers? The Humboldt Forum and the Myths of Innocence.

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Author: Jonathan Bach
Date: Spring 2021
From: German Politics and Society(Vol. 39, Issue 1)
Publisher: Berghahn Books, Inc.
Document Type: Report
Length: 5,172 words
Lexile Measure: 1770L

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Abstract :

This article explores two modes of innocence at work in the making of the Humboldt Forum, Germany's biggest cultural project. It examines the legacy of the historical castle's "cabinet of curiosities" and the elevation of the Humboldt brothers, especially Alexander von Humboldt, to patron saints. Through these cases, the article identifies an exculpatory mode of innocence focused on the past and an anticipatory mode focused on the future. These modes, it argues, exemplify a tension between the imagination of history as a timeless realm that eschews redemption and as fungible materials that can be recombined to start anew and redeem the past. Keywords: Alexander von Humboldt, Berlin, cabinets of curiosity, colonialism, Humboldt Forum, innocence, memory

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A670225525