- UC Santa Cruz
- Visual Studies PhD
November 2013: Sara Kurpiers Blaylock's article, "Whither Alltag?: How the Wende Museum revises East German history (and why it matters)" argues for the significance of the Alltagsgeschichte (everyday history) as both a source of information about the past and as a site of resistance against a master narrative that has excluded East Germans from self-determination. More than just a question of East German culture, Sara illustrates that this challenge to history threatens West and united German self-identifications, which maintain the East as subordinate. She focuses her analysis on the Wende Museum, a private non-profit archive and museum of Cold War culture located in Culver City, California. Considering the significance that location has had on the narrating of the East German past, the article demonstrates how as neither mileux de mémoire (environment of memory) nor lieux de mémoire (site of memory), the Wende Museum avoids the prospect of representing the past in a unifying “authentic” East German narrative. Facing the future for and through the past, the Wende Museum represents a Cold War tabula rasa with space for infinite pasts.
This paper has been revised from a conference paper entitled "Culver City's Wende Museum: East Germany on the Pacific", which was presented at the Berlin Program for Advanced German & European Studies, Berlin Program Summer Workshop "German Studies Between the Global and the Local," Freie Universität - Berlin, in June 2012.