The Heimat Abroad: The Boundaries of Germanness


Edited by Krista O'Donnell, Renate Bridenthal and Nancy Reagin

University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2005, 336 pages, softcover.

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to provide this important book, The Heimat Abroad: The Boundaries of Germanness. Dr. Renate Bridenthal, one of the editors, did considerable research with the archives of the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU Libraries, Fargo.

Germans have been one of the most mobile and dispersed populations on earth. Communities of German speakers, scattered around the globe, have long believed they could recreate their homeland wherever they moved, and that their enclaves could remain truly German.

The Heimat Abroad is the first book to examine the problem of Germany's long and complex relationship to ethnic Germans outside its national borders. Beyond defining who is German and what makes them so, the book reconceives German identity and history in global terms and challenges the nation state and its borders as the sole basis of German nationalism.

Dr. Renate Bridenthal is Professor Emeritus of History, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. In her chapter, "Germans from Russia: The Political Network of a Double Diaspora," she writes: These are the Russian Germans, transplanted farmers whose origin was in the crowded Southwest German states in the eighteenth century but whose paradise and souls' Heimat became the Russian steppe, a paradise lost after a century and resought on the plains and pampas of North and South America."

Bridenthal covers in her chapter: 1) "Johannes Schleuning, 1879-1962: God of the Volk: The Church Connection"; 2) "Karl Stumpp, 1898-1982: The Family as Volk: Genealogy"; 3) "The Sallet Family and the Dakota Freie Presse: News of the Volk"; 4) "Emma Schwabenland Haynes, 1907-1984: The Circle Closes." In her Notes Section, Bridenthal provides an impressive list of 115 bibliographic entries for documentation of her research and writing.

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The Heimat Abroad: The Boundaries of Germanness

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