Modern European history, especially modern German history, is an area of special strength in UTK’s history department.
The department boasts four historians of Germany, a constellation rare among American universities, and historians of France and Eastern Europe. Robert Bast (formerly director of the MARCO Institute at UTK) is a specialist in late Medieval and Reformation Germany, with an emphasis on the politics of religion. Monica Black specializes in Germany during the era of the World Wars; a cultural historian, her work focuses thematically on religion, folklore, the rituals and practices surrounding death, and the history of sickness and health. Denise Phillips is an historian of science with research interests in eighteenth and nineteenth-century Germany. Her past work has explored the interactions between science and public culture in German-speaking Europe; she also has interests in the history of natural history, the history of agriculture, and the role of science in the Enlightenment. Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius specializes in modern German history (nineteenth and twentieth centuries), especially German relations with Eastern Europe, and European diplomatic history.
Specialists in French and Eastern European History fortify the department’s Modern European concentration. Margaret Cook Andersen is a specialist in the history of Modern France and its colonial empire, with special interests in anxieties about political power and population, and in the French pronatalist movement. Victor Petrov specializes in modern Balkan history and the Cold War era in a global perspective. Thematically, his work deals with histories of technology and the information society, as well as wider questions about utopian projects and techno-politics.
Our graduate students have continued an amazing streak of winning major outside fellowships for research on their dissertations. These include three Fulbright fellowships, three DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) research fellowships, three fellowships at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, a Harry Frank Guggenheim Dissertation Writing Fellowship, and a fellowship in the Berlin Program at the Free University. Other awards include research fellowships from the Central European History Society, the German Historical Institute, and the Hoover Institution; DAAD summer language study fellowships; and a series of FLAS awards for summer language study. Bradley Nichols’ 2016 PhD thesis won the prestigious Fritz Stern Prize of the Friends of the German Historical Institute.
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).
Our graduate students have gained much from working with scholars outside our department, including Dan Magilow, Maria Stehle, Sarah Vandegrift Eldridge, and Adrian del Caro of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, and Helene Sinnreich, Director of Judaic studies and faculty member in Religious Studies.
In recent years, we have placed our Ph.D.s in tenure-track jobs at Alabama A&M, West Virginia Wesleyan College, and Brevard College.