Office: G74, 15 Woodland Rd
Phone: +44 (0)117 954 6817
My research focuses on the social and cultural history of postwar Europe, with a particular interest in the way that economic and social change affects people’s everyday lives. I am co-editor (with Piers Ludlow, LSE, and Holger Nehring, Sheffield) of the journal Contemporary European History, published by Cambridge University Press. I am also a member of the editorial collective of Gender & History.
My book Love In The Time Of Communism (CUP, 2011), winner of the 2011 Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History, focuses on everyday life under socialism. Under communism divorce rates soared, abortion become commonplace and the rate of births outside marriage was amongst the highest in Europe. Nudism went from ban to state-sponsored boom, and erotica became common currency in both the official economy and the black market. My research asks why this ‘sexual revolution’ took place, and explores the ways in which the state sought to limit the public discussion of sexuality.
I am currently co-investigator on the AHRC Research Grant ‘Dropping Out of Socialism: Alternative Lifestyles in the Eastern Bloc, c. 1960-1990’, alongside principal investigator Dr Juliane Fürst. As part of this project, I am working on a number of publications on gay and lesbian activism and subcultures in East Germany. I am also developing a new project on women in postwar Europe.
My first book, Antifascism and Memory in East Germany (OUP, 2004), examined the commemoration of the International Brigades. A major part of the research was the reconstruction of narratives which opposed the communist party's attempted monopolisation of the Brigades, from veterans’ oral histories to articles in the underground press.
I am currently supervising doctoral work on underground galleries in Berlin and Warsaw, hippies in Latvia and the Soviet Union, building managers in wartime Budapest, and colonial administrators in India. I welcome proposals from students working on twentieth century German history, particularly East Germany, the social and cultural history of post-war Germany, oral history and memory, visual culture, and the history of women, sexuality, gender and the family. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you would like to discuss your research plans.
My undergraduate and postgraduate teaching focuses on the history of twentieth century Europe, including units on everyday life under dictatorship, the body in German history, combat motivation, and the historiography of postwar Europe.
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