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Science and service in the National Socialist state: a case study of the German archaeologist Herbert Jankuhn (1905-1990)

Steinel, M.E.; (2009) Science and service in the National Socialist state: a case study of the German archaeologist Herbert Jankuhn (1905-1990). Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

The thesis investigates the relationship between archaeology, politics and ideology through a case-study of the prominent German archaeologist Herbert Jankuhn (1905- 1990). It addresses the following questions: what role do archaeological scholars assume in a totalitarian state’s organisational structures, and what may motivate them to do so? To what extent and how are archaeologists and their scientific work influenced by the political and ideological context in which they perform, and do they play a role in generating and/or perpetuating ideologies? The thesis investigates the nature and extent of Jankuhn's practical involvement in National Socialist hierarchical structures, and offers a thematically structured analysis of Jankuhn's archaeological writings that juxtaposes the work produced during and after the National Socialist period. It investigates selected components of Herbert Jankuhn's research interests and methodological approaches, examines his representations of Germanic/German pre- and protohistory and explores his adapting interpretations of the early medieval site of Haithabu in northern Germany. The dissertation demonstrates that a scholar’s adaptation to political and ideological circumstances is not necessarily straightforward or absolute. As a member of the Schutzstaffel, Jankuhn actively advanced National Socialist ideological preconceptions and military aims. In addition, he made use of and strengthened ideologically expedient Germanic ideologies during the 1930s and 40s. However, his scientific work can by no means be cast as mere pre- and protohistoric propaganda. For one, the thesis emphasises the extreme polyvalence of National Socialist ideology. Jankuhn adhered to and promoted his own idiosyncratic selection of politico-ideological elements. The dissertation also underlines the impact of longstanding and far-reaching intellectual, political and ideological currents on archaeological research. During the National Socialist period, Jankuhn worked with concepts that had been in currency since the nineteenth century. After 1945, his archaeological work underwent methodological and analytical changes that were transpiring well beyond Germany’s borders.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Science and service in the National Socialist state: a case study of the German archaeologist Herbert Jankuhn (1905-1990)
Language:English
Additional information:Authorisation for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology

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