In the Weimar Republic, images were perceived to be as unreliable as they were powerful. They helped create and codify difference while simultaneously blurring lines within the categories of gender and race. Visual culture provided a wild playground for discourses about gender presentation and sexuality that encompassed veterans, athletes, criminals, the New Woman, and androgynous figures. Despite the growing prominence of images in race science, it was widely held that images could not be trusted to convey accurate information about race. The propagandistic use of images for political purposes had the potential to be equally ambiguous. It was ultimately up to the beholder to interpret the multiple meanings and symbolic potential of a given image.
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Version of Record
Wallach, Kerry. “Visual Weimar: The Iconography of Social and Political Identities.” In The Oxford Handbook of the Weimar Republic, edited by Nadine Rossol and Benjamin Ziemann. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021.
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This chapter has been reproduced from The Oxford Handbook of the Weimar Republic, edited by Nadine Rossol and Benjamin Ziemann, 2020, by permission of Oxford University Press, and is available from the publisher’s website (https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198845775.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780198845775-e-31?rskey=VrwMwd&result=1).