Welcome! I'm a historian of modern Germany and also have broad comparative and international interests. I'm currently writing A World Divided: A New Global History from the French Revolution to the Present. The book, under contract to Princeton University Press, is a combined history of human rights and the segmentation of populations in the modern era. Both developments, I argue, are inextricably entwined, the product of an entirely new way of conceiving of politics focused on discrete populations defined by nation or race and the ideal of national homogeneity under the state. A World Divided is a work in history based largely on primary research in archives and libraries in the United States, Europe, and Africa, but also draws on literatures in the social sciences, political theory, and legal studies.
I'm also series editor of Human Rights and Crimes against Humanity, which I've established with Brigitta van Rheinberg, editor-in-chief of Princeton University Press http://press.princeton.edu/catalogs/series/hrch.html. Our aim is to publish the best scholarship that can also reach an audience beyond the individual academic disciplines. Our most recent books are Norman Naimark, Stalin's Genocides, Geoffrey Robinson, “If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die”: How Genocide Was Stopped in East Timor and Emma Gilligan, Terror in Chechnya: Russia and the Tragedy of Civilians in War. In the works are books by Aryeh Neier on the history of the human rights movement, David Scheffer on international criminal tribunals, Ronald Grigor Suny on the Armenian Genocide, and Jacqueline Bhabha on children and citizenship.
In fall 2007 Princeton University published my most recent book, Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8460.html. The book is a political, economic, and cultural history of this difficult, exciting and innovative period in German history. I emphasize Weimar's great achievements, which, I argue, we miss if we read its history backwards from the rise to power of the Nazis. Weimar Germany has been widely reviewed in such periodicals as The New York Times Book Review, The London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, and Harper's Weekly, among many others. It has appeared in Italian, Spanish, and Swedish translations; a Polish version is forthcoming.
The dual nature of my interests -- German history and comparative and international inquiries -- is also evident in my two earlier books A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7491.html and Creating German Communism, 1890-1990 http://press.princeton.edu/titles/5889.html and in my teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels (link to teaching page).
For the last number of years I've co-directed with Omer Bartov an international research project, Borderlands: Peoples, Nations, and Cultures in the Shatterzone of Empires since 1848. We have run a series of lectures, workshops, and conferences at various sites that explore these topics in the large swath of territory that was the meeting point of the Russian, Ottoman, Habsburg, and German empires. We are currently editing the final volume from the project. I also co-edit with Jack Zipes a book series for Palgrave Macmillan, Studies in European Culture and History http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?PID=269992. We have published 19 books in the series on a wide variety of topics, from film to gender and nationalism.
In 2010-11 I am on sabbatical at the Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University, where I was a visiting professor in 2008-09. In 2006-08 and 2009-10 I served as chair of the History Department at the University of Minnesota (link to History homepage). We reformed the curriculum and made great hires in Jewish, African, and Asian-American history. Overall, the History Department has hired a large number of new colleagues in the last twelve years and there is a high level of intellectual energy among the historians that spills over into our classrooms and our research and writing. Before serving as chair, I directed for five years the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Center for German and European Studies.
Since 2001 I have also served as the Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair in the College of Liberal Arts. The Chair is dedicated to issues of ethnic and national conflict, genocides, and human rights, with special attention devoted to the Armenian genocide. Along with colleagues in Law, Political Science, History, Sociology, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and other places on campus, we've built a vibrant intellectual community committed to research and teaching on human rights in a global context. My work on genocides and appointment to the Ohanessian Chair has also led to an ongoing involvement in the Workshop on Armenian-Turkish Scholarship, an important and exciting effort to create dialogue among scholars on the history of the late Ottoman Empire and the Armenian Genocide.
Areas of Specialization
· Modern German and European History
· Human Rights
· Holocaust and Genocide
· International Communism
· Weimar Republic
· Third Reich
· World War II