The essay offers a close reading of the inaugural address Termite Craze by the entomologist Karl Escherich, the first German university president to be appointed by the Nazis. Faced with a divided audience and under pressure to politically align the university, Escherich, a former member of the NSDAP, discusses how and to what extent the new regime can recreate the egalitarian perfection and sacrificial predisposition of a termite colony. The paper pays particular attention to the ways in which Escherich tries to appease the various factions in his audience (faculty, students and the Nazi party); in doing so, it also discusses how Escherich depicts his address in the altered versions of his later memoirs.
Keywords: Escherich; Eusocial insects; Karl; National Socialism; Racism; Social parasitism; Termites; Universities.
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