After the Wall: Reconstructing and Representing the GDR

People involved in this project

Principal investigator:

Dr Anna Saunders, Bangor University


Dr Debbie Pinfold, University of Bristol

+44 (0)117 928 9797


School School of Modern Languages
Department German
Dates January 2009 - January 2011
Website After the wall project website
Funder AHRC: Research Network
Contact person Dr Debbie Pinfold

More about this project

After the Wall’ is an interdisciplinary research network, set up in order to examine the ways in which the East German past has been – and is being – reconstructed and represented since the demise of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The network has brought together scholars from a range of disciplines such as Cultural Studies, History, Anthropology, Political Science, Music and Media and Film Studies, who work on memories and representations of the GDR.

Almost 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany, the memory of the GDR is experiencing an ever increasing boom. As physical signs of German division disappear from the united landscape, new sites of memory are being created, ranging from consumer-orientated Ostalgie (nostalgia for the GDR) to the documentation of political oppression. The diversification of this memory landscape – in both content and form – and the conflicting nature of many narratives has led not only to an apparent blurring of boundaries between history and memory (‘myth’), but also to a reappraisal of the longer-term legacy of the GDR in unified Germany. The network has examined this memory landscape in order to advance our understanding of east German distinctiveness and the role of the GDR past in contemporary Germany, as well as our theoretical understanding of collective memories.

Some of the conclusions drawn by the network members during various workshops and a conference between 2009 and 2010 will be available in a volume entitled Remembering and Rethinking the GDR: Multiple Perspectives and Plural Authenticities edited by Anna Saunders and Debbie Pinfold, which is due to appear with Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.