""Professor and Chair
email
(205) 934-8691
Heritage Hall 360

Research and Teaching Interests: Modern European History, German History, Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, comparative racism, transatlantic relations

Office Hours: M/W 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (and by appointment)

Education:

  • BA, University of California, Berkeley
  • MA, Brown University
  • PhD, Brown University

My passion for modern German history emerged out of my childhood. Reared in Boston and Los Angeles in the 1970s, I grew up barely one generation removed from the Holocaust, and I met many Germans who had emigrated to the United States after World War II. I was fascinated by the contrast between the kind people who came into my family home and my growing historical knowledge of their country of origin, which bore the legacy of genocide and crimes against humanity. I have pursued my interest in the complexities of modern German history ever since.

Before joining UAB’s History Department in the Spring of 2019, I taught for over two decades at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and I had visiting appointments and fellowships at Colgate University, The University of Cologne, and the Free University of Berlin.

Research Interests

Currently I am writing a book titled U.S. Racial Violence in the German Imaginary, 1918-1968, which explores the place of anti-black racism in the United States in German politics, travel writing, literature, and foreign policy between 1918 and 1968. You can learn more about that project by reading “American Lynching in the Nazi Imagination: Race and Extra-Legal Violence in 1930s Germany,” German History 36: 1 (February 2018): 38–59. Along with Pamela Swett (McMaster University), I am also writing a textbook on Nazi Germany, which examines everyday life of Germans under dictatorship and explores the Third Reich in a transnational context in the 1930s and 1940s.

Recent Courses

  • History of the Holocaust
  • Modern German History
  • Europe and the World in the Twentieth Century
  • World History since 1500
  • The Historian's Craft

Select Publications

Books:

  • Creating the Nazi Marketplace: Commerce and Consumption in the Third Reich (Cambridge University Press, 2011).
  • Selling Modernity: German Advertising in the Twentieth Century, edited with Pamela E. Swett and Jonathan R. Zatlin (Duke University Press, 2007).
  • West German Industry and the Challenge of the Nazi Past, 1945-1955 (The University of North Carolina Press, 2001).

Select Articles and Chapters:

  • “American Lynching in the Nazi Imagination: Race and Extra-Legal Violence in 1930s Germany,” German History 36: 1 (February 2018): 38-59.
  • “Surveillance and German Studies [with Andrew Zimmerman],” Introduction to Wiesen and Zimmerman, eds., Special issue on “Surveillance and German Studies.” German Studies Review 38:2 (May 2015): 263-69.
  • “Service Above Self? Rotary Clubs, National Socialism, and Transnational Memory in the 1960s and 1970s,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies 23, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 1-25.

Academic Distinctions & Professional Memberships

  • Winner of the Hagley Museum Book Prize, 2002.
  • Recipient of research fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the German Academic Exchange, and the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies.
  • Member of the American Historical Association, the German Studies Association, and the Central European History Society.