Mountains, mountaineering and modernity: a cultural history of German and Austrian mountaineering, 1900-1945

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Title: Mountains, mountaineering and modernity: a cultural history of German and Austrian mountaineering, 1900-1945
Author: Holt, Lee Wallace, 1974-
Abstract: During the Weimar Republic , mountaineering organizations sought to establish hegemony over the cultural narrative of mountaineering . Contemporary texts published by various alpine organizations positioned mountaineering as an activity reserved for a select elite , casting alpinists as masculine nationalists committed to the preservation of the Alps as their exclusive 'playground of Europe .' Until World War I , the GermanAustrian Alpenverein , the largest alpine club in the world , maintained firm control over mountaineering's master narrative . I argue that , during the Weimar years , this master narrative was subject to onslaughts from ideological opponents (such as the socialist alpine club , Die Naturfreunde ) , commercial competitors (the mass tourism industry in the Alps ) , and alternative representations of mountaineering in the cinematic genre of the Bergfilm . The profusion of alternatives to the formerly hegemonic Alpenverein narrative offered audiences new ways to imagine mountaineering , and this challenge created significant fissures within the Alpenverein itself as it struggled to sustain its dominance over the representations and cultural meanings of mountaineering . As I investigate the fracturing of mountaineering's master narrative , I consider how alpine organizations reacted to the new cultural constellations that arose in Weimar and challenged the Alpenverein's master narrative . To establish the contours of this narrative , I draw upon the Alpenverein's own Zeitschriften and Mitteilungen , and I also consult popular alpine journals , such as Der Bergsteiger and the Allgemeine BergsteigerZeitung , paying close attention to how alpine organizations articulated their critiques of the mass tourism industry and published negative depictions of the increasing modernization of the Alps . Additionally , I examine how the Bergfilm genre threatened this master narrative , and how the Alpenverein attempted unsuccessfully to blunt the genre's popularity . In its analysis of texts and films as normative cultural products , my dissertation focuses on how the culture of mountaineering was contested in the realm of narrative and visual representations . The latter chapters discuss how the Alpenverein later aligned itself with the Nazi regime , not only out of ideological affinity , but also in order to utilize the machinery of the Nazi state to reassert its full control over mountaineering's master narrative .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /3901
Date: 2008-08-29

Citation

Mountains, mountaineering and modernity: a cultural history of German and Austrian mountaineering, 1900-1945. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /3901 .

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