Eckert’s ‘West Germany and the Iron Curtain’ Wins 2020 GSA/DAAD Book Prize

Congratulations to Dr. Astrid M. Eckert, Associate Professor, who was awarded the 2020 GSA/DAAD Book Prize in History for her work West Germany and the Iron Curtain: Environment, Economy, and Culture in the Borderlands. The monograph was published with Oxford University Press last year. Read the GSA/DAAD committee’s appreciation of Dr. Eckert’s work below.

Astrid M. Eckert’s book achieves what all innovative history aspires to do: open new sight lines that advance both conceptual and empirical knowledge. The book focuses on the ‘Zonenrandgebiete’ created in Germany by the Iron Curtain: peripheral regions whose socioeconomic development accorded neither with the storyline of the ‘economic miracle’ nor with the political narratives of Bonn and West Berlin. The brilliance of Eckert’s book lies in demonstrating the centrality of these peripheral areas. Despite their backwater status as the ‘east of the west,’ the borderlands exerted substantial force in reconstituting the West-German state. By reimagining the cultural landscape of West Germany’s social and political development, Eckert’s extensively researched study marks a signal contribution to the fields of local and regional, German and European history. Eckert is alive to the lived social experience of borderland actors and the evolving conditions that acted upon them.