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Title page for ETD etd-06132010-092258

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author DeWaal, Jeremy John
Author's Email Address jeremy.j.dewaal@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-06132010-092258
Title “Mer all sin kölle”: Colognian identity, Colognian carnival and the evolution of Heimatwerte.
Degree Master of Arts
Department History
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Helmut Walser Smith Committee Member
Michael Bess Committee Member
  • regional identity
  • folklore
  • Heimat
Date of Defense 2010-05-12
Availability unrestricted
This paper explores the festival of carnival in the German city of Cologne from its beginnings in the Middle Ages to its modern celebration. It focuses on its development and convergence with local Heimat-identities and how interpretations of the deeper meaning of the festival came to inform these identities. It traces the movement from a medieval understanding of carnival as a representation of an evil world to be rejected at Lent to the nineteenth-century, where it became a representation of the “jolly” and “light-hearted” nature of Cologne’s citizens and a break from the drudgery of rigid life structures. This evolution is compared to traced developments in postwar Cologne, in which carnival came to be interpreted as a representation of the “tolerant”, “democratic”, and fundamentally “un-Prussian” nature of Cologne and its citizens

This paper thus argues that folk traditions which inform local and regional identities, while often continuous in form, undergo discrete but radical moments of re-invention in terms of the interpretation of their meaning. The connection of such traditions to local identities, this paper concludes, illustrates processes by which supposedly “traditional” local and regional cultures are capable of undergoing constant modernizing processes in which they are able to take on new and progressive value claims.

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