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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 Germany during the era of the World Wars and in their aftermath; thematically, her work focuses on religion, folklore, the rituals and practices surrounding death, and the social 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. Our Modern European concentration includes Margaret Cook 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 for research on their dissertations. These include three Fulbright fellowships, three DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) fellowships, three fellowships at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Dissertation Writing Fellowship, and the Berlin Program at the Free University. Other awards include research fellowships from the Central European History Society, the German Historical Institute, the Hoover Institution, DAAD summer language study fellowships; and a series of FLAS awards for summer language study.

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 in German studies from other departments, such as Gilya Schmidt of Religious Studies and Dan MagilowMaria Stehle, and Sarah Vandegrift Eldridge of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures.

In terms of recent placement of our Ph.D.s, Tracey Hayes Norrell took a tenure-track position at Alabama A&M, and Jordan Kuck took a tenure-track assistant professor position at West Virginia Wesleyan College.


Selected Recent Dissertations

(2015) Michael Patrick McConnell, “Home to the Reich: The Influence of the Nazi Occupation of Europe on Life Inside Germany”

(2014) Jordan Kuck, “The Dictator without a Uniform: Karlis Ulmanis, Agrarian Nationalism, Transnational Fascism, and Interwar Latvia”

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


Selected Recent Master’s Theses

(2013) Jennifer Montgomery, “Sisters, Objects of Desire, or Barbarians: German Nurses in the First World War”. Went on to Ph.D. program at SUNY Stonybrook.

(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 CookRegeneration through Empire: French Pronatalists and Colonial Settlement in the Third Republic (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015).

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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