Wearing her Museums Studies hat this year, Kerstin Barndt is finalizing a co-edited book on the history of research museums and collecting, Object Lessons and the Formation of Knowledge: The University of Michigan’s Museums, Libraries and Collections, 1817-2017. Research findings from this project have also inspired her to pursue two exhibition projects: one small exhibition about nineteenth century zoological glass models designed by a father and son team, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, in Dresden, Germany; and another larger exhibition for the University’s bicentennial year showcasing the very first teaching and research collections for the arts, humanities, and sciences.
Kristin Dickinson edited a special issue on Sabahattin Ali titled "Sabahattin Ali's Translingual Transnationalism" in the Türkisch-Deutsche Studien Jahrbuch (December 2016). She also has an article forthcoming with New German Critique titled "Zafer Şenocak's 'Turkish Turn': Acts of Crosslinguistic Remembrance in Köşk (The Pavilion)."
Along with Jennifer Jenkins and Tracie Matysik, Geoff Eley co-edited German Modernities from Wilhelm to Weimar: A Contest of Futures (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016), which grew from a series of workshops between 2005 and 2012 with heavy U-M participation, past and present. He is currently on leave writing a general history of Europe in the 20th century.
Andreas Gailus is completing his book, titled Forms of Life, which explores the discourse of life in German culture from the late 18th century to 1945. During the Fall, Andreas presented parts of his book at the GSA in San Diego and at the U-M Institute for the Humanities, where he was a Fellow last year.
Julia Hell completed The Conquest of Ruins: European Empires and the Fall of Rome. Tracing an arc from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich, The Conquest of Ruins reconstructs and analyzes the long afterlife of the Roman Empire, arguing that acts of post-Roman mimesis and the imperial imaginaries that they engendered revolved around scopic scenarios visualizing the end of the Roman Empire. This obsession with the empire’s end did not begin with Rome’s imitators. On the contrary, the idea of the empire’s inevitable end arose at the very moment when the Roman Empire established its hegemony in the Mediterranean. In the imagination of Europe’s political and intellectual elites, this model empire is thus at once triumphantly powerful and a remarkably fragile fabrication, a monumental memory-fortress and a vast ruinscape that continues to exert pressure on our ways of thinking about empire.
Andy Markovits just published a new book called Hillel At Michigan 1926/7 - 1945: Struggles of Jewish Identity in a Pivotal Era (Ann Arbor: Maize Books, 2016) [co-authored with Kenneth Garner].
For the seminar “Material Culture and its Discontents” at the 2016 German Studies Association in San Diego, Peter McIsaac recently presented part of his work on popular anatomy exhibition. In this project, McIsaac explores the visually arresting and at times challenging objects that have helped popular anatomy displays draw more visitors than any other type of exhibition in German history since the late nineteenth century. By refining the theoretical precision with which to think about material objects in these exhibitions, McIsaac is working to understand the ways popular exhibitions operate as a kind of mass medium.
Toward a History of Waiting (1200-1800)
The putative omnipresence of the experience notwithstanding, waiting has hitherto largely escaped historical investigation. It “is a temporal region hardly mapped and badly documented,” as Harold Schweizer formulates. For the individual, waiting can be said to be a temporally bounded condition in which time becomes experiential. From the vantage point of society, waiting orders social interactions on a variety of levels – and this is what Helmut Puff seeks to capture in his study.
Scott Spector just published his long-term research project, Violent Sensations: Sex, Crime, and Utopia in Vienna and Berlin, 1860-1900, which explores the growing metropolises of turn-of-the-century central Europe as the stage where decadent and enlightened images of the modern world met. Exploring sensational cases of violence involving figures on the social margins— homosexuals, prostitutes, sexual murderers, the criminally insane, and the fantasy of ritual murder—Violent Sensations unlocks the ties between the advances in expert knowledge and the irrational outbursts of violence that would characterize the twentieth century.
Kira Thurman's latest article, "Singing the Civilizing Mission in the Land of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms: the Fisk Jubilee Singers in Nineteenth-Century Germany" appeared in September in the Journal of World History. The article examines Germans' first sustained cultural encounter with African American music.