- Primary position:
- Other positions:
- On Research Leave
My research interests range widely across 20th century German history, and have encompassed, at various points, aspects of business history, social history, cultural history and literary studies, along with historiography. At times I have worked firmly within the traditional confines of our own disciplinary approaches; at other times I have pursued interdisciplinary agendas drawing on (for example) anthropology, cultural studies and museum studies. The consistent theme that runs through my work, however, is the exploration of the impact and legacies of war on modern German society.
My first book, Daimler-Benz in the Third Reich (Yale University Press, 1998), examined the ways in which a major German corporation adapted to the demands of the Third Reich and became complicit in its racial crimes as a result; it was shortlisted for the Longman/History Today Book Prize and shared the Fraenkel Prize for Contemporary History in 1997. My second major monograph, Haunted City: Nuremberg and the Nazi Past (Yale University Press, 2008) marked an attempt to explore the unstable dynamics of post-1945 memory cultures against the background of the social history of the post-war years; it also shared the Fraenkel Prize for Contemporary History for that year.
Whilst working on the post-war years I have maintained an active interest in the study of the Third Reich, editing a collection on the historiography of Nazism, publishing a short study of Hitler's writings, and, most recently, editing a Festschrift for my former doctoral supervisor Jeremy Noakes; I have also co-edited, with my colleagues Mark Roseman (Indiana) and Nils Roemer (Texas) a volume of essays on the comparative study of minorities in German history.
The University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints)
My current research focuses on the consumption of art music in twentieth century Germany. It is driven by a desire to combine more traditional social history methods with newer approaches - such as histories of the body, the emotions and the senses. At the same time, I am interested to write cultural histories of phenomena that cut across the conventional period divides of modern German history, divides which seem to me increasingly to constrain, rather than foster, our understandings of many longer term processes. To that end I am working on a history of the social practice of concert hall attendance in twentieth-century Germany, starting in the Wilhelmine era and moving through to the post-war period. My initial findings have been presented at conferences or in seminars in Berkeley CA, Louisville KY, Potsdam and Edinburgh, as well as in a recent inaugural lecture in Southampton; I will be trying out further ideas over the coming months in Oxford, in Berlin and in Denver. The first published fruits of this work appeared in the form of a paper on the history of the Bayreuth Festival in English Historical Review in 2011.
Whilst pursuing my own research I also engage in various activities on behalf of the research community at large: most notably, at the moment, I am co-editor of German History, the journal of the German History Society.
I have taught on a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules over the years, including outline histories of Europe and comparative economic and social history. I currently offer modules on the First World War, on Art, Culture and Society in Germany 1890-1955 and on The Third Reich as well as a co-taught option on Music and History; at MA level I have taught a module on German Nationalisms since the Enlightenment for a number of years. I am an experienced supervisor of PhD students, many of whom have gone on to academic jobs both in Britain and abroad, and welcome inquiries from students wanting to focus on any aspect of the economic, social or cultural history of twentieth-century Germany.