Dagmar Barnouw, 72, a professor and author whose provocative works about the aftermath of World War II took aim at what she called the sanctification of Holocaust survivors, the "politics of not-forgetting Nazi evil," and the idea of collective German guilt, died of a stroke May 14 at a San Diego hospital.
In a career that produced 12 books and 150 papers, Ms. Barnouw covered many topics, including the cultural politics of German author Thomas Mann and feminist and utopian science fiction.
But post-World War II Germany was a recurring theme for the scholar, who was born in Berlin. Her works - described by some critics as "brilliant and unsettling" and by others as "deeply flawed" - challenged long-held views of guilt and innocence, suffering and memory.
In her most recent book, War in the Empty Air: Victims, Perpetrators and Postwar Germans (2005), Ms. Barnouw examined Germans' failure to acknowledge and mourn for their war dead and for the devastation that German citizens suffered in Allied air raids.