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Monica Black

Associate Professor, Associate Head


I am a historian of modern Europe. My research focuses on the cultural and social history of Germany, with an emphasis on the era of the World Wars and the post-1945 period.

My book, Death in Berlin: From Weimar to Divided Germany, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2010. Death in Berlin tells the story of Berliners’ evolving relationship to death and traces transformations in rituals of burial and mourning in the city over three turbulent decades. It received the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History (2010) and the Hans Rosenberg Prize (2011). It was based on my dissertation, which was awarded the Fritz Stern Prize of the Friends of the German Historical Institute (2007). I talked with Marshall Poe of the New Books Network in spring 2012 about the book. Our interview is available as a podcast here. A Russian translation of Death in Berlin appeared in early 2015.

My interest in how the living relate to the dead and organize rituals around death (in Germany and other parts of the world) is very much an ongoing concern. Recently I wrote a chapter called “The Ghosts of War” for the third volume of the Cambridge History of World War II, Total War: Economy, Society, Culture at War (Michael Geyer and Adam Tooze, eds., 2015).

I have long been interested in popular religious practice; my current research has moved into areas where religious life, culture, the social history of medicine, and psychology overlap. Among my additional research and teaching interests are: folklore, memory, rumor, oral tradition; war and culture; and the philosophy, craft, and literature of history. For a description of my current research and writing projects, please click here.

At UT-Knoxville, I offer graduate and undergraduate courses on the history of modern Europe and modern Germany, on historical methods and practices, and on the history of everyday life. I also teach an advanced undergraduate research seminar called “The Supernatural: A Global History.” Before coming to Knoxville in 2010, I taught for three years at Furman University in Greenville, SC, and before that at the University of Virginia.

I welcome applications from potential graduate students interested in the cultural history of Germany and Europe and the connections of both to the wider world.


PhD, University of Virginia

BA, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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