Schuster-Craig publishes article on historical analogies in social media

With Professor Johannes von Moltke from the University of Michigan, German Professor Johanna Schuster-Craig has published “Like: Memetic Analo­gies in Social Media” in the online journal Geschichte der Gegenwart.

screen shot of online article with title and background image

Memes circulating on the net articulate simple comparisons with political intent, for example as an analogy between the USA today and “Weimar” back then, or between German and American coming to terms with the past. But as catchy as such analogies are, they also hide a lot of contexts.

Analo­gies are in. Memes, podcasts, op-ed pieces and scho­l­arly debates compare Trump to Hitler or Musso­lini. Trump, in turn, trades in false moral equi­va­len­cies, seeing “very fine people on both sides” of the “Unite the Right” rally in Char­lot­tes­ville. Poli­ti­cians refe­rence Nazi concen­tra­tion camps to describe ICE detention on the US Southern Border. To this, the United States Holo­caust Memo­rial Museum stre­nuously objects on the grounds that the Holo­caust was unique and incom­pa­rable, while ICE itself unwit­tingly proves the point in its own attempts to deny the fascism analogy (“We’re not Nazis. We’re just following orders”). …

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