After the Red Army Faction : Gender, Culture and Militancy
Masterminded by women, the Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorized West Germany from the 1970s to the 1990s, and afterimages of its leaders persist in the works of pivotal artists and writers, including Gerhard Richter, Elfriede Jelinek, and Slavoj Zizek. Why were women so prominent in the RAF? What does the continuing cultural response to the German armed struggle tell us about the representation of violence, power, and gender today? Engaging critical theory, Charity Scribner addresses these questions and analyzes signal works that point beyond militancy and terrorism. This literature and art exposes the failures of the German Far Left and registers the radical potential that RAF women actually forfeited.
After the Red Army Faction maps out a cultural history of militancy and introduces "postmilitancy" as a new critical term. As Scribner demonstrates, the most compelling examples of postmilitant culture do not just repudiate militancy: these works investigate its possibility, particularly in the realm of sexual politics. Scribner analyzes as-yet untranslated essays by Theodor Adorno and Jürgen Habermas, as well as novels by Friedrich Dürrenmattand and Judith Kuckart. She also examines Johann Kresnik's Tanztheaterstück Ulrike Meinhof and the blockbuster exhibition Regarding Terror at the Berlin Kunst-Werke. Scribner focuses on German cinema, offering incisive interpretations of films by Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff, and Fatih Akin, as well as the international box-office success The Baader-Meinhof Complex (2008). These readings reveal dynamic junctures in national and sexual identities, the disciplining of the militant body, and the relationship between mass media and the arts.