In 2013, Germany celebrated the bicentennial of the so-called Wars of Liberation (1813-15). These wars were the culmination of the Prussian struggle against Napoleon between 1806 and 1815, which occupied a key position in German national historiography and memory. Although these conflicts have been analyzed in thousands of books and articles, much of the focus has been on the military campaigns and alliances. Karen Hagemann argues that we cant achieve a comprehensive understanding of these wars and their importance in collective memory without recognizing how the interaction of politics, culture, and gender influenced these historical events and continue to shape later recollections of them. She thus explores the highly contested discourses and symbolic practices by which individuals and groups interpreted these wars and made political claims, beginning with the period itself and ending with the centenary in 1913.
Karen Hagemann is the James G. Kenan Distinguished Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has published widely in Modern German and European history, gender history and the history of military and war (19th-20th centuries) combining approaches from social, political and cultural history. Her books include: Frauenalltag und Mannerpolitik. Alltagsleben und gesellschaftliches Handeln von Arbeiterfrauen in der Weimarer Republik (1990); 'Mannlicher Mut und Teutsche Ehre'. Nation, Militar und Geschlecht zur Zeit der Antinapoleonischen Kriege Preussens (2002); Home/Front: The Military, War and Gender in Twentieth-Century Germany (edited with S. Schuler-Springorum, 2002); Masculinities in Politics and War: Gendering Modern History (edited with S. Dudink and J. Tosh, 2004); Gendering Modern German History: Rewriting Historiography (edited with J. Quataert, 2007); Representing Masculinity: Male Citizenship in Modern Western Culture (edited with S. Dudink and A. Clark, 2007); Gender, War, and Politics: Transatlantic Perspectives, 1775-1830 (edited with G. Mettele and J. Rendall, 2010); and War Memories: The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in Modern European Culture (edited with A. Forrest and E. Francois, 2012).