Die Wandlung and the Intellectual Rebuilding of Post-War Germany

Calum Daly |

This project seeks to explore the relationship between physical and intellectual space in Germany following the immediate end of the Second World War. First published in November 1945, Die Wandlung (‘The Transformation’) was the first major socio-political journal to be circulated in Germany (either East or West) following the end of the Second World War. Spearheaded by the political theorist Dolf Sternberger and a three-man editorial board (consisting of Karl Jaspers, Alfred Weber and Werner Krauss), the journal (headquartered in Heidelberg) engaged with a myriad of subjects ranging from avant-garde literature to contemporary economics. Using its expansive scope and the transnational intent of its chief editor who hoped to use international contributions as a vehicle for German international reintegration, I explore the role of space in relation to the physical and mental landscapes of post-1945 Germany. To this end I capitalise on Sternberger’s Tagebuch [Diary] entries that ran throughout the first year of the journal’s life. In these contributions Sternberger recounts his personal experience of traveling through Western Germany in the months immediately following the war’s cessation. I examine the extent to which this personal experience of everyday physical hardships colour his political and social theories.

Running throughout the many contributions to the journal is the importance played by national identity and Heimat. I examine this importance from several different angles: the physical and symbolic role of the University (primarily in the work of Jaspers and Weber); the relationship between émigré contributors and their former homeland (in particular Hannah Arendt’s concept of human rights, national ‘belonging’ and the role of space in the rise and propagation of totalitarianism); and the role of ‘linguistic de-nationalisation’ (Sternberger’s ‘Dictionary of Inhumanity’ and Leo Spitzer’s Semiotics featuring prominently). The 1945-1949 lifespan of the journal provides for an excellent historical bracket within which to work, also capturing the emerging Cold War and ensuing geopolitical debates.

In the late 1990s, the German author W.G. Sebald published a series of essays under the title On the Natural History of Destruction, in which he noted the apparent silence with which this destruction had been met by the nation’s intellectual community: ‘The destruction, on a scale without historical precedent, entered the annals of the nation, as it set about rebuilding itself, only in the form of vague generalizations. It seems to have left scarcely a trace of pain behind in the collective consciousness, it has been largely obliterated from the retrospective understanding of those affected, and it never played any appreciable part in the discussion of the internal constitution of our country.’ The intellectual environment surrounding this field has expanded since Sebald’s foray, with notable works including Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s In a Cold Crater, Rudy Koshar’s From Monuments to Traces and Jörg Arnold’s The Allied Air War and Urban Memories. This project further contributes to this field and sheds light on the multifarious relationship between intellectual, spatial and urban history in post-1945 Germany.

Mapping the Persian Gulf: Spatial perceptions and practices of the British agents in the region 1820-1930

Hatem Alshaikh-Mubarak |

The Persian Gulf is a sea that is surrounded now by a number of countries: Iran on its Eastern side, Iraq from the North, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf Arab states in the East. Those are Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Oman. Those states along the west coast with Saudi constituted, since 1982, a political association, namely the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). This political affinity, along with other shared characteristics and social ties have  inspired observers to refer to them as a distinct unit. 

However, this region’s map remains problematic in many respects. One prevalent issue today is the Persian/Arab contest over the identity of the Gulf and over certain territories on its coasts and to where they belong, but it is not the only problem. Boundaries, almost between all the countries, have been subjects of dispute in the past decades, where some cases have not been settled yet. Moreover, the states’ efforts in consolidating national identities over other sub-identities is a process that has not been settled yet. This situation may still allow for a verity of spatial imaginations of this space, which do not necessarily correlate with the boundaries of nation states.

Indeed, these issues and others are still subject of political dispute, but they have also

Hatem Alshaikh-Mubarak and Jordan Girardin, workshop Spatial History and Its Sources, September 2016
Hatem Alshaikh-Mubarak and Jordan Girardin, workshop Spatial History and Its Sources, September 2016

stimulated scholars, journalist, and activists to question and debate the origin of the current map. What is the original shape? How was this map formed? Are these boundaries artificial? What is the identity of this region in general, and of particular places within it? What does this region include and exclude? These are some questions addressed in this project. 

Scholars offer a variety of view by focusing on different aspect. Among those are state-centred historians, imperial historians, and more recently, transnational historians.This project is not another attempt to redraw the shape of the region or to find how it was formed, but to uncover how it was spatially perceived, and how perceptions interacted with dynamic and complex physical realities during the period that witnessed the foundation of the current map. My focus is primarily on the perceptions of British agents in the region. The British were present since the eighteenth century. They approached the region firstly via India; their political influence was practiced evidently since around 1820. As the century passed, they consolidated their control and regarded the region a frontier for the Indian Raj to defend it against other imperial competitors. Historians of the Empire consider the Gulf region falling within the realm of the “Informal Empire”. On the other hand, officers of the War and Foreign Office, coming directly from London, also approached the region form another side, namely the Ottoman lands, in which they were stationed as diplomats, of military consuls. With the of the First World War and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Britain was the main power that dominated the region from Calcutta to Cairo. 

Like elsewhere, their endeavour to dominate coincided with exploration and intelligence activities that included collecting data, mapping, surveying, and preparing and circulating historical and geographical materials in various forms. Officers, and possibly scholars, in Bombay Governing Council, Bombay Geographical Society, Persian Gulf Residency, and the Political and secret department in Calcutta produced substantial materials. Agents in the Ottoman side also engaged in information gathering to some extent, but the intelligence activities from this side were dramatically intensified during WWI, when civil and military officers became suddenly entangled with vast lands about which they knew very little.

Exploration efforts during this period took place prior to, and concurrently with negotiating and preparing treaties that define boundaries of territories around the region. The Anglo-Ottoman accord in 1913 seems to be the first attempt in this regard. It was followed by a number of key treaties between Britain and local rulers in the war aftermath period.

Hence,  following academia’s turn to questions of space, the project looks through this variety of materials to uncover how space was perceived, classified, and identified, how these perceptions developed throughout the consecutive periods, and how they responded to, and reflected on physical realities until we reach the foundation of the modern modern map of the region. Investigation is undertaken to uncover the contrast in the macro view of the region between India and London, and also between the pre-War and War period, as imperial priorities dramatically changed. Another level of investigation is conducted to see how the region was internally divided into smaller entities. 


The female connection. Mapping social networks in European travel, c.1770-1830

Sophie Drescher |

What do we really know about travelling women, their roles, and the social spaces they occupied around 1800? This study traces European women travellers’ social networks on their journeys through Europe and beyond during the decades around 1800. The project will examine how women’s travel was planned and how itineraries developed along social and geographical lines, thereby creating transnational European networks. The project, however, is not designed exclusively as a gender-studies project that focuses on solely female authors. It aims to highlight connectivity of women travellers in relation to their male counterparts, as well as in connection to other female travellers and their networks.

Most studies on European travelling around 1800 assume rather standardised, stereotypical tours with few, recurrent destinations. Travel, and especially women’s travel, is therefore often studied as one-dimensional transfer from one place to another, or with a focus on cultural encounters, landscapes, and language. Historical research has neglected to trace travellers, especially women, systematically in order to map their journeys not only geographically but also socially. When female networking is addressed the focus is on stasis rather than motion. The numerous case studies on specific European regions provide a considerable basis of textual analysis for aspects of gender and genre but little has been done to research the spatial element. Studies focusing exclusively on women often miss the point of actually offering a meaningful perspective on gendered experiences. The spatial aspect deserves particular consideration in the analysis of women’s travel writing as travel is commonly considered in assumed opposition to the equally assumed female sphere of domesticity. Hence it is necessary to take an innovative approach to travel writing by using a transnational perspective on the spatial dynamics that will lead to more nuanced insights of travel, space, and gender.

This study is underpinned by the hypothesis that political and cultural developments in Europe around 1800 altered established travel routes and opened up new spaces across Europe, especially to the north and east, for travellers to explore. It is key to link the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as this time frame, with its political upheavals and cultural turmoil, meant travellers were caught in a rapidly changing social world. Research has neglected the impact of this crucial time period on travellers’ experiences of social and geographical space, especially with reference to women’s negotiations of ‘space’ and ‘sphere’ in changing European societies.

The project will provide an enhanced understanding of how women travelled, how travelling changed between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It will lead to a more nuanced understanding of planning processes, the use of letters of recommendation, the significance of family members and acquaintances, and the influence of the individual’s social network on the individual’s itinerary. By including travel narratives from more than one European region and covering more than one travel destination the study’s findings will offer a broad panorama of European women’s travel activities and be of interest to a broader, European, audience beyond strictly national historiography.


From words to numbers and maps. Transfers, networks and the transformations of statistical thinking in Britain, France and the German lands, c. 1780s-1840s

Adam Dunn |

The aim of this project is to map the changes in the perception, methodology and use of statistics from the late eighteenth to the early-nineteenth century. The project seeks to establish how the concept of statistics shifted from a more descriptive series of statistical accounts, often related to travel, compiled by mainly amateur statisticians, to the more mathematically-driven, state-operated and professionalised, model of statistics prevalent in the nineteenth century, finally, leading to the introduction of statistical maps in the mid nineteenth century. While a good deal of research has gone into the development of statistics it has either been based nationally, or on the individual, with a heavy focus on the role of the state or nation-building or has missed this period of transition between c.1780s-1840s out altogether. No real work has been done beyond this point and not in any real detail. For instance, hardly any attention has been paid to the influences beyond the state mechanisms on statistics or how the individual or amateur played a role in the shift. Therefore, this project approaches the subject in a new light: a transnational perspective that seeks to follow individuals in an attempt to reconstruct connections and networks across borders (mainly Great Britain, the German lands and France), linking the later Enlightenment to the first decades of the nineteenth century.

Adam Dunn – EUI Working with Space

This project intends to fill an important and neglected gap in research and in our understanding of the ‘statistical revolution’ around 1800, in two important ways: chronologically and spatially. First, the connection between the later Enlightenment (roughly starting around 1780s) to the mid nineteenth century has largely been neglected or has been studied under separate chronological categories (e.g. Enlightenment, Napoleonic France, post 1815). This is true for many topics, but equally for the history of statistics. Little to nothing is known about the transformation from a more amateur-based concept of statistics to the first one or two generations of a state-sponsored approach to statistics. Second, spatially speaking little is known for this period on the multiple cross-border activities of individuals, the transfer of knowledge and concepts such as statistics, and the underlying networks before we see a more organised and institutionalised approach from the 1830s and 1840s onward.

It is the underlying hypothesis of this project that Enlightenment networks fed into the emergence of statistical science and statistics as a governmental tool from the early nineteenth century onward.


Symphonic Beneficence: The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra during the First World War

Percy Leung |

I began my PhD in Modern History at St Andrews in January 2017, under the supervision of Professor Frank Lorenz Müller, having received my BA in Combined Honours in Arts (History, Music, Politics & International Relations) from Durham University and my M.Phil in Music Studies from the University of Cambridge. I am deeply passionate about the relationship between music and politics. My undergraduate dissertation explores the contradictions and paradoxes of the Nazis’ cultural policies, whereas my masters’ dissertation is essentially a comparative analysis on the Soviet Union’s and the United States’ cultural policies on music in post-war occupied Germany between 1945 and 1947. It focuses on these two Cold War superpowers’ efforts in reconstructing the German musical life after the collapse of the Third Reich, as well as on their Denazification policies on German musicians.

There is a substantial body of research on various musical aspects of the First World War, including the social impact of war songs, popular music, military bands and musical

Percy Leung

theatre, as well as the ways that the War brought about stylistic changes to modernist compositions. However, the role of classical music and symphony orchestras has remained under-explored (Sven Oliver Müller being the notable exception). I hope that my research can complement and further develop this body of literature on the War’s cultural history, and contribute to wider scholarly debates about the use of cultural icons as propaganda and as national rally points in the home-fronts of the First World War.

My doctoral research focuses on the social and political contributions to the German and British war efforts made, respectively, by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra during the First World War. I will investigate the value of classical music and its public performance in fostering national identity in war-time societies and how national leaderships developed specific ideas of how these two orchestras could relate to the war efforts. Furthermore, my study explores the ways that these two orchestras transformed classical music from a serious, elitist art-form to an offering located within popular mass culture, how these two orchestras’ activities and concerts during the First World War earned them prominence and recognition in society and contributed to their becoming two of the most prestigious cultural institutions in Germany and Britain respectively since 1919, as well as how the changing circumstances of the First World War affected the musical life and administration of both orchestras. It would also be fascinating to understand how the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra’s experience of and contribution to the First World War revealed about contrasts such as elite/popular, urban/rural, centre/periphery, male/female etc. within the German and British society under the conditions of near-total war.


The Habsburg Empire from the outside perspective. Experiences and encounters of nineteenth century travellers, ca. 1815-1914
Martin Schaller |

As one entity the Habsburg Empire does neither belong to the ‘Western’ nor ‘Eastern’, neither to the ‘Central’ nor the ‘South-Eastern’ parts of Europe. The border lines of these constructed spaces run across the Empire. This study tries to engage with the different perceptions of these spaces which divide the Empire by focusing on how travellers depicted and encountered them. The aim is therefore to connect the concept of mental maps with a transnational perspective. In order to do so the study is based on a comparative approach as accounts published in different languages will constitute the main sources.

It is not at all clear where contemporary travellers detected the borders between ‘East’ and ‘West’, ‘Central’ or ‘South-East’. One important part of the study is therefore to examine where these spaces were located but also which features signified them. By additionally employing a long term perspective it is also possible to account for changes over time in these perceptions. Finally, the comparative approach allows for examining differences according to the travellers’ backgrounds.

Since the construction of different spaces has not lost its significance yet as the still existing East-West divide within Europe shows, I hope to contribute to a more thorough understanding of the mechanisms which shape their perceptions.

Victims, Aggressors and Pioneers: Exploring wartime experiences and war memory in the Japanese periphery through Tokushima’s commemorative landscape.

Austin Smith |

The way in which Japan’s involvement in the Asia-Pacific War is popularly remembered and publicly commemorated continues to generate controversy in East Asia and beyond. This project takes the city of Tokushima, a prefectural capital on the rural island of Shikoku, as a case-study through which seemingly localised wartime experiences can be understood, analysed and explored. Like many of Japan’s major and minor cities, Tokushima was destroyed by an incendiary raid which has shaped the way in which the city remembers the conflict as a whole. This research presents the city as a complex commemorative landscape featuring museums, shrines and pagoda in which memories of the conflict have been secreted. Through this exploration patterns emerge that can be applied to sites of memory in other towns and cities across the country revealing the complexity of war-related commemorative practices in contemporary Japan.

Part of this thesis utilises QGIS mapping techniques to present data from personal accounts of the Tokushima air raid to visualise the impact of incendiary bombing. In these maps Tokushima is presented as nodal city through which displaced people spread rumour and exchanged knowledge about the wartime situation. It is possible to map samples of displaced people’s movements to and from major urban centres and the furthest reaches of the Japanese empire and these connections demonstrate the significant role prefectural capitals played in the wartime machine.


Hunting Whale and Making Knowledge. Dundee’s Globalisation through Trans-Maritime Whaling, 1750-1914

Matt Ylitalo |

The project assesses how whaling in Dundee contributed to the history of maritime science, and to the city’s ‘global’ status, during the long nineteenth century. Research will investigate whalers’ networks and processes of knowledge accumulation and transference; the project will then examine the impact that this epistemic migration had on Dundee in comparison to other transatlantic whaling ports.

Many towns throughout coastal Scotland engaged in whaling in the nineteenth century.

Matt Ylitalo and Dr Sarah Easterby-Smith
Matt Ylitalo and Dr Sarah Easterby-Smith

On a transatlantic scale, ports such a New Bedford, Massachusetts and Sandefjord, Norway far outstripped Dundee in the magnitude of their whaling operations. Yet Dundee distinctly stands apart from other Scottish and transatlantic whaling communities. Most whaling communities followed an ephemeral pattern of existence, which consisted of hunting whales intensively for several decades, falling into decline and then realigning to more locally- or regionally-oriented commercial orbits. Dundee, however, defied this model both in duration and commercial scope.

This study asks how and why Dundee experienced global expansion and continuance rather than a momentary peak and decline between 1750 and 1914. It focuses in particular on the movement of knowledge between different groups: First Peoples, trans-maritime whaling communities, the people of Dundee, and scientists. Such transfers are not well understood, and the project consequently poses three questions: What were the pathways and networks by which Dundee-based whalers accrued knowledge and facilitated epistemic migrations between cultures and institutions? What did Dundee’s whaling industry contribute to the city’s rise and position as a Scottish, British, European and indeed global port town from the late eighteenth century onward? Finally, how did this differentiate Dundee from other leading transatlantic whaling ports such as New Bedford and Sandefjord?


The Italian Occupation of South-Eastern France, 1940-1943 

Niall MacGalloway

The common perception of the Second World War in France is that the country was divided between the German occupiers in the north, while the collaborationist Vichy government ruled the south. Relatively little scholarly interest has focused on the much smaller Italian occupation zone in the south-east.

My research examines on this zone; how it was administrated, how the economy was run, to what extent collaboration and resistance movements featured in the zone, and how Franco-Italian relations developed during the three years of occupation, both at a governmental level and occupier-occupied relations. The project also focuses upon the differences between zones administrated by the Italians, specifically the larger portion of the country occupied by the Italians after Allied landings in North Africa, and that occupied initially, which was administered as annexed territories. To what extent were these areas “Italianised” and how successful was this process? Did sizeable Italian minorities in the region help or hinder these processes?

I also hope to be able to place the Italian occupation of France within a wider framework. How did this occupation compare with other Fascist occupations in the Balkans and Greece? How did the annexation of French territory compare to Alsace, occupied by Germany? To what degree did the Italian and German occupations differ more broadly and, inversely, what similarities can be drawn between the two?


The multiple dimensions of twenty-first century italianità: examining affects in (post-)colonial Italian culture

Eleanor Crabtree |

Eleanor is in the first year of her PhD under the supervision of Emma Bond. Her research examines cultural representations of post-colonial Italian identities through the lens of affect theory. She is particularly interested in the way in which the temporal and spatial implications of affect shed light on issues of trans-national memory.


A Republic of Plants : Botanic Gardens in the end of the eighteenth century

Elena Romero Passerin-D’Entreves |

My research  project will examine several botanic gardens in Europe during the second half of the 18th Century. It will consider the gardens both as spaces and institutions, looking at their internal organisation and the way they interact with the world. By comparing two or three gardens of different countries, the project aims to give a nuanced image of the scientific Enlightenments and the development of botany across Europe.


Narrating coming of age in Italian postcolonial women’s writings

Elisa Walker |

Elisa Walker’s project examines how coming of age is narrated in Italian postcolonial women’s writings. The corpus encompasses authors who have all emigrated, chosen to write in Italian (the colonial language), and who appropriate established Western genres such as the Bildungsroman. The classical Bildungsroman is inherently conservative; its Eurocentric and androcentric worldview depends on static social values that nomadic women as outsiders inevitably disrupt. The hypothesis is that minority writers use the genre’s framework in order to critique the totalitarianism, racism and sexism that the marginalised heroine encounters. The formal and thematic othering of the genre raises questions about what new values, and new issues, such writers have introduced to the project of Bildung.


Transnational British and Italian Networks in Fascist Florence

Konstantin Wertelecki |

This doctoral thesis is the first major project to analyse the British expatriate community in Florence and their relationship with the Italian community during Italy’s Fascist years (1922-1943). This thesis aims to determine the impact that this transnational network had upon the local, regional, and international sphere of British-Italian relations during this time of intense political change. Overall, this thesis hopes to demonstrate the importance of including the British community in Fascist Florentine history in order to fully understand the evolution of Florentine identity, politics, and society during this period.

Traditionally, scholarship on the networks forged between the British and Italian communities in Florence does not temporally extend beyond the First World War, due the great wealth of eighteenth and nineteenth primary literature. Yet, the interwar years serve as a unique historical turning point for study, as this period challenged the slowly forged cultural, political, and social relationship built between the British and Italians in Florence since the fifteenth century; political tension, surges in nationalism, and the construction and re-construction of identity in a city that German consul Gerhard Wolf described as the ‘most Anglophile of all Italian cities,’ forced questions of self-definition and identification in regard to the ‘English’, ‘Tuscans’, ‘Fascists’, and the hybridised, ‘Anglo-Florentines’.

In undertaking this piece of transnational historical research this, the study will demonstrate the crossing of political, cultural, and social borders in a local context via the analysis of networks of interaction and exchange between the English and Italians, as well as address and define the status of ‘Anglo-Florentines’ and their political connotations as transnational actors. Using QGIS mapping software, the study will map the spaces inhabited and frequented by Anglo-Florentines as transnational exchange points of culture, as well as identifying the various meeting points between expatriate British communities and the Fascist state, society, and institutions. Applied beyond the temporal and geographical limits of interwar Florence, this thesis evokes questions regarding the significance of alternative perspectives, namely that of expatriate communities. Often omitted from historical analyses, these communities and the legacies they left behind offer a fresh depiction and understanding of the people, politics, and places that surrounded them.