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My latest editorial project: Migrant Knowledge, a blog with Andrea Westermann and Swen Steinberg for the German Historical Institute Washington.

The Changing Faces of Nationalism

As a historian who sometimes teaches about Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, I have to give Trump credit for one thing: His constant upending of the broad political consensus that emerged after World War II and the Cold War means that basic historical terms are constantly making it into the news and national discourse as quasi new problems, new questions. As upsetting as these times are, as abhorrent as Trump is, it is hard to deny the value of Ron Elving’s reaction to the president’s recent statement about… Read more The Changing Faces of Nationalism

Monsters in the News

If you have the stomach for more on relating to a filmmaker’s work who you now know (but perhaps tried to forget) is a child molester, this piece from May 2016 by Matt Zoller Seitz is worth considering: “I Believe Dylan Farrow.” Such is the kind of reading I sometimes find myself doing these days when I least expect it. I’ll try to escape the everyday with a comedy, but then I’ll dig around the web to learn more about its makers or players. If this effort lands me back… Read more Monsters in the News

What’s Going On?

No really, Laurel Leff wants to know. This isn’t a poltical-rhetorical question but something bigger. What are we to make of the president’s recent nod to Holocaust denial? We need to consider the matter in an open, fearless, and dispassionate way, but how? “For those of us who teach and research the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, the Trump administration’s refusal to mention Jews in a statement commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day has been both horrifying and confusing.” Read Leff’s whole piece, and if you haven’t read Deborah Lipstadt on why “Holocaust… Read more What’s Going On?

From the historian who brought us ‘Ordinary Men’

“But Hitler was a fixated ideologue with a strong party organization, while Trump is an opportunistic narcissist driven above all by the need for adulation. Hitler was the ‘little corporal,’ the man of the people, who feigned austerity, while Trump is a billionaire who flaunts his wealth and luxurious life-style. Ultimately, Trump seems far more a hybrid of Berlusconi and Putin, potentially merging kleptocracy and autocracy, than the reincarnation of an ideologically driven, war-mongering, and genocidal dictator.” “I would suggest that a major source of our unease — beyond Trump’s… Read more From the historian who brought us ‘Ordinary Men’

Archival Seminar

I am excited to have the opportunity to lead this year’s summer archival seminar in Germany, which will bring me to Speyer, Cologne, Coblenz, and Munich. Here’s a report from the 2012 seminar, which was led by the same colleague who organized the 2013 version. And here’s a description of the program and application process.

Book Review: GDR and Consumption

I recently reviewed an interesting anthropological study by Milena Veenis entitled Material Fantasies: Expectations of the Western Consumer World among East Germans (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press in cooperation with the Foundation for the History of Technology, 2012) for the Dutch Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis (Journal of Social and Economic History). The two-page review is in English and is openly available on the web at https://www.tseg.nl/articles/abstract/10.18352/tseg.301/.