Barney Publishes Analysis of Nostalgia, German Cinema

Ph.D. student Timothy Barney is the author of a study in the June issue of Communication & Critical/Cultural Studies. Entitled "When We Was Red: Goodbye Lenin! and Nostalgia for the 'Everyday GDR,'" Barney's analysis argues that in former Eastern Bloc nations, nostalgia is often seen as a dangerous pining for days under totalitarian regimes in the face of rocky transitions to democratization and his paper questions these judgments and instead proposes that the complexities of waxing nostalgic in post-communism will help us understand these transitions better. East German culture, in particular, has been at the forefront of post-communist nostalgia through its ostalgie movement.

Wolfgang Becker’s film Good Bye Lenin! has been touted as the most representative example of ostalgie, Barney argues, and is used in his essay as a text to examine the complex questions about looking back on everyday life during communism’s fall. Through its use of nostalgic themes, the film simultaneously embraces and derides the Western values that became an indelible part of the post-1989 landscape, and thus serves as a reminder that a distinct East German identity may still exist.

CCCSCitation: Timothy Barney, "When We Was Red: Goodbye Lenin! and Nostalgia for the 'Everyday GDR,'" Communication & Critical/Cultural Studies 6 (2009): 132-151.

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