The Vernacular International: Heimat, Modernism and the Global Market in Early Twentieth-Century Germany
This article proposes a reconceptualisation of regionalism, nationalism and globalisation as simultaneous and causally connected phenomena, which first peaked in the early decades of the twentieth century. Focusing on figures such as Hermann Muthesius, Fritz Schumacher and others active in the Deutscher Werkbund, it examines how competition in the global market inspired a search for modern yet uniquely national forms that derived their 'authenticity' from vernacular culture. Yet paradoxically, the visual vocabulary of Heimat was frequently inspired by English and American models. This article interprets the aesthetic and political translations which the peripatetics of localism entailed, and shows how consumer goods 'made in Germany' came to be invested with a sense of cultural mission.