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Grant number like: FT-56581-09

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Monica Ann Black
Furman University (Greenville, SC 29613-0002)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2009 – 7/31/2009

Folktales: The Life of Alfred Karasek, Folklorist, and Germany's 20th Century

This monograph-length study examines the history of folklore as a project of collective representation and a source of cultural and national identity in 20th-century Germany through the life of folklorist Alfred Karasek (1902-1970). A Sudeten German, Karasek studied the ethnic-German communities of Eastern Europe in the post-WWI period. In the 1920s, he joined the Nazi Party and later, the SS; during World War II he helped facilitate the process of ethnic cleansing, genocide, and the Germanization of eastern Europe. After 1945, he became a founding scholar in the new field of "expellee folklore," which was dedicated to preserving the arts, traditions, and customs of Germans forcibly expelled from eastern Europe in the wake of Nazi defeat. The study asks how a folklorist and self-described "unpolitical" man become a scientist of race, a Nazi true believer, and an instrument of genocide and then adapted himself, after 1945, to the changed political conditions of a post-Nazi Germany.