Natalie Scholz is Senior Lecturer of modern and contemporary history at the historical department of the University of Amsterdam. She has done her Ph.D. at the University of Münster, Germany. Previously, she worked as a Humboldt guestresearcher at the Free University Amsterdam and as a Lise-Meitner-fellow at the University of Cologne. She held a research fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study Konstanz in 2012 and at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in 2013-14.
My research focusses on the cultural history of the political in modern Europe (France and Germany) with a special interest in popular representations, including visual, material and memory culture. I have published on the imaginations of the restoration monarchy in early nineteenth century France and more recently on the connection between commodity culture and the political in the postwar period. In my work, I try to understand the culturally and emotionally mediated intersection between modern political regimes and national, ethnic and gender identities.
Cultural history of the political in 19th and 20th century Europe (especially France and Germany), imaginations of the political, symbolic representations, material culture, memory studies, gender history, visual culture, film and advertising.
Redeeming Objects traces the afterlives of things. Out of the rubble of World War II and the Holocaust, the Federal Republic of Germany emerged, and with it a foundational myth of the “economic miracle.” In this narrative, a new mass consumer society based on the production, export, and consumption of goods would redeem West Germany from its Nazi past and drive its rebirth as a truly Western nation. Turning this narrative on its head, the book shows that West Germany’s consumerist ideology took shape through the reinvention of commodities previously tied to Nazism into symbols of Germany’s modernity, economic supremacy, and international prestige.
Postwar advertising, film, and print culture sought to divest mass-produced goods—such as the Volkswagen and modern interiors—of their fascist legacies. But the postwar representations were saturated with unacknowledged references to the Nazi past and older German colonial fantasies. Drawing on a vast array of popular and highbrow publications and films, Redeeming Objects adds a new perspective to debates about postwar reconstruction, memory, and consumerism.
“Scholz explores the afterlife of Nazism as a repurposing and remythologizing process. Scholars have yet to learn how to account for the ‘affective legacies’ of the Third Reich, or even to realize that they existed. Scholz’s analysis of the postwar fabric of Nazi myth showcases a subject and an approach that could be of great consequence for contemporary German and, more generally, post-totalitarian scholarship.”
—Michael Geyer, University of Chicago
"How to legitimate the monarchy in Restoration France is the subject of this imaginative and stimulating dissertation. (...) This is an important, original, scholarly and well-written monograph that should attract the attention of all historians working on French history of theperiod 1770-1830."
—Tim Blanning, English Historical Review
‘Grauzone des Heroischen. Der Volkswagen als Gründungsmythos’, Die Neue Rundschau 1 (2021), special issue Braucht Demokratie Helden?