The Department of History

College of Arts & Sciences


Modern Germany

Modern European history, especially modern German history, is one of the areas of special strength at UT’s history department, built up over the last years. The department boasts four historians of Germany, a constellation rare among American universities.

Robert Bast (formerly director of the MARCO Institute at UT) is a specialist in late Medieval and Reformation Germany, with an emphasis on the politics of religion. Monica Black specializes in twentieth-century German history, with particular focus on the history of mentalities, folklore, death, and urban history. Denise Phillips specializes in the history of biology, an area of science whose nineteenth-century history is deeply intertwined with the history of European empires. Her past work has examined the role of science in fomenting support for early German imperialism. Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius specializes in modern German history (nineteenth and twentieth centuries), especially German relations with Eastern Europe, and European diplomatic history. Our Modern European concentration is also enriched by Margaret Andersen, a specialist in the history of Modern France and its colonial empire, with special interests in anxieties about political power and population, and the French pronatalist movement.

Our German history students have continued an amazing streak of winning major outside fellowships, in many cases the first time that UT students have won these awards. Since 2008, outside awards have included: two prestigious Fulbright fellowships for dissertation research in archives in Europe (Tracey Hayes and Jordan Kuck); three prestigious DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) fellowships for dissertation research in archives in Germany (Michael McConnell, Jacob Hamric, and Tracey Hayes, who was awarded a postdoctoral research fellowship); a prestigious year-long dissertation fellowship from the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies (a partnership program of the Freie Universität Berlin and the German Studies Association) (Brad Nichols); a Ben and Zelda Cohen Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (Michael McConnell); an award to participate in the Junior Scholars’ Training Seminar, co-sponsored by Eastern European Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the National Council for Eurasian and Eastern European Research (NCEEER) (Geoff Krempa); DAAD summer language study fellowships; and a series of FLAS awards for summer language study.

Awards won by our students internal to the university and department include: two McClure Fund Fellowships; three Wallace and Dean fellowships; and the Francis Huffman Smith Scholarship. Our students also have participated as presenters at a notable range of conferences and, in particular, have presented papers at (and have organized panels for) the German Studies Association conference—the top conference in this field. Two of our students have already published in top venues: in 2011, Michael McConnell had an article accepted in Central European History, and Brad Nichols had a chapter published in The Routledge History of the Holocaust on Nazi racial policy in occupied Poland.

Our modern European history students may also find useful connections to the department’s Center for the Study of War and Society (CSWS), a venue for research and comparative scholarship on the reciprocal relationships of war and diplomacy, culture and society. Professor Liulevicius serves as the center’s director. The CSWS also hosts an interdisciplinary Faculty Research Seminar funded by the UT Humanities Initiative on the topic of “After Wars.” This seminar, open to advanced graduate students and faculty, poses questions about the phenomenon of the aftermath of wars in comparative perspective (for questions regarding the seminar and its events, please contact Liulevicius).

An additional special attraction for work in German history at UT is the active presence of an interdisciplinary Faculty Research Seminar on Modern Germany, which is open to graduate students. Participants include scholars in German studies from other departments, such as Gilya Schmidt of Religious Studies and Dan Magilow and Maria Stehle of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures. The seminar features a rich program of events focused on research being done at UT, and also invites an array of prominent scholars from around the country to comment on work in progress and give presentations on their own work. Past visitors include Charles Ingrao (Purdue), Carole Fink (The Ohio State University), Helmut Walser Smith, (Vanderbilt), and Sue Marchand (Louisiana State University). More information on the German Studies Faculty Research Seminar is available here.

Selected Recent Dissertations

(2010) Tracey Hayes Norrell, “Shattered Communities: Soldiers, Rabbis, and the Ostjudenunder German Occupation, 1915–1918”

Selected Recent Master’s Thesis

(2010) Kathryn Campbell Julian, “Defining Socialism through the Familiar. East German Representation of Hungary in the 1950s and 1960s”. Went on to PhD program at Univ. of Massachusetts.

(2009) Megan Jackson, “Drawing on a Painted Canvas: Art, Religion, and Civil Society in Munster”

(2008) McCall Simon, “Bridging the Popular Divide: Forging German Identity in the Agrarian League, 1893–1918”

(2006) Troy Dempster, “Reviving Germany: The Political Discourse of the German Fatherland Party, 1917–1918″

(2006) Benjamin Shannon, “Cultural Consensus, Political Conflict: The Problem of Unity Among German Intellectuals during World War I “. Went on to PhD program at Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison.

(2004) Elizabeth Dunham, “Einsatzgruppen: Created Killers or Convinced Murderers?”

(2004) Abby Thompson, “Dissident Peace Movements Inside the German Democratic Republic: The Search for Reform, Freedom, and Toleration, 1979–1986″.

(2002) Henry Staruk, “After the Liberation: The American Administration of the Concentration Camp at Dachau”. Went on to doctoral program of Temple University

(2001) Vanessa Gera, “Making Subjects: History Lessons in Elementary Textbooks in Wurttemberg, 1855–1910.”

Recent Publications by Faculty in German and European History

Andersen, Margaret Cook. “Creating French Settlements Overseas: Colonial Medicine and Familial Reform in Madagascar.” French Historical Studies 33, no. 3 (Summer 2010).

Bast, Robert, ed. The Reformation of Faith in the Context of Late Medieval Theology and Piety. Essays by Berndt Hamm. Studies in the History of Christian Thought, 110 (Brill Academic Publishers, 2004).

Black, MonicaDeath in Berlin: From Weimar to Divided Germany (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Liulevicius, Vejas. The German Myth of the East, 1800 to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2009).

Phillips, DeniseAcolytes of Nature: Defining Natural Science in Germany, 1770–1850 (University of Chicago Press, 2012).


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