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Baader-Meinhof Returns

History and Cultural Memory of German Left-Wing Terrorism

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This volume is dedicated to the study of artistic and historical documents that recall German left-wing terrorism in the 1970s. It is intended to contribute to a better understanding of this violent epoch in Germany’s recent past and the many ways it is remembered. The cultural memory of the RAF past is a useful device to disentangle the complex relationship between terror and the arts. This bond has become a particularly pressing matter in an era of a new, so-called global terrorism when the culture industry is obviously fascinated with terror. Fourteen scholars of visual cultures and contemporary literature offer in-depth investigations into the artistic process of engaging with West Germany’s era of political violence in the 1970s. The assessments are framed by two essays from historians: one looks back at the previously ignored anti-Semitic context of 1970s terrorism, the other offers a thought-provoking epilogue on the extension of the so-called Stammheim syndrome to the debate on the treatment of prisoners in Guantánamo Bay. The contributions on cultural memory argue that any future memory of German left-wing terrorism will need to acknowledge the inseparable bond between terror and the artistic response it produces.

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