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Postcolonialism, Islam, and Contemporary Germany


This paper argues that unlike in Britain, France, or the United States, postcolonial thought has not yet arrived in German public debates on migration, integration, and Islam. Instead of accusing the German majority of neglecting the powerful explanatory framework the postcolonial paradigm provides, the article explores the reasons for this phenomenon (1) in the history of German postcolonial criticism against the backdrop of the international field, (2) in the specifics of the German colonial and postcolonial situation, (3) in the considerable change in Western and German perception of Islamicate topics and of Muslims in recent decades, and (4) in particular in the gap between the views of Germany’s multiethnic situation found in German postcolonial criticism and those common among the public. The critical revision of these aspects suggests that German postcolonial criticism, if it strives to put its concepts on the public agenda, has to develop alternative approaches to conceptualize a ‘postcolonial Germany.’

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