Skip to main content

Immediacy, Residuality, Difference: Reflections on the Political Work of Heimat

Monday, March 9, 2020, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Contemporary Germany present a peculiar paradox. While emerging from a series of contentious controversies that have exposed and enhanced existing domestic schisms, it has remained among the most politically stable members of the EU. Against this background of the recent emergence of new political fault lines, this talk considers the resurgence of the notion of Heimat in order to reflect on the pervasive, commonsensical tropes that continue to shape the political discourse of seemingly antagonistic voices. We will examine in particular the ways in which promises of political and affective immediacy, states of social and historical residuality, and ideologies of gendered and racialized difference have shaped the current revival of Heimat and its effective deployment by a rapidly rising far right.

Nitzan Shoshan is professor in the Centro de Estudios Sociológicos at El Colegio de México in Mexico City. He received his Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago, where he has taught as collegiate assistant professor and Harper Fellow. His research has focused on nationalism and the far right in Germany and Europe, urban space in Berlin and Mexico City, and the politics of affect. His prize-winning book The Management of Hate: Nation, Affect, and the Governance of Right-Wing Extremism in Germany (Princeton, 2016) is an ethnographic study of young nationalists in East Berlin. He is currently conducting fieldwork on the politics of Heimat in Brandenburg.