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Grant number like: FEL-273273-21

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Jens-Uwe Guettel
Penn State (University Park, PA 16802-1503)

Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022

Radical Democracy in Germany, 1871-1918

Research and writing leading to a book on democratic movements in imperial Germany, 1871-1918.

Radical Democracy in Germany, 1871-1918, focuses on resistance to a patently undemocratic system. The project examines center-left reformers, socialists, feminists, and proponents of gay rights who between 1871 and the state’s demise at the end of the First World War profoundly altered the autocratic structure of the German Empire. While being targeted by the country’s authorities this study’s subjects pushed back against a system designed to protect small social and economic elites. They demanded reforms of gerrymandered franchise procedures; of sexual and gender norms; and of Germany’s nationalist and imperialist foreign and economic policies. The book highlights the potential for democratic change even under undemocratic conditions, and the chances taken or squandered by the champions of democratic reform in Germany before 1918. As such, it exposes understudied moments of historical contingency and tells stories of what was and suggests futures of what could have been.