My research interests are linked by a concern with the ways in which the past is used and shaped in contemporary politics, the cultural underpinnings of political power, and the prospects for democracy in the twenty-first century. I am particularly fascinated by questions that probe how political contention at the intersection of state and civil society shapes institutions and political norms, and how opportunities for transformation of both are brought about.
I am currently working on several topics:
Civil Society, Social Movements, and Memory
Longtime in the making, my book Civil Society and Memory in Postwar Germany just came out with Cambridge University Press. It provides a political history of civic engagement in German memory politics since 1945 and examines how memory activists have shaped the institutions of commemoration.
In addition, I am working on several related articles and planning a series of workshops (together with Prof. Yifat Gutman, Ben-Gurion-University) on memory activism from a comparative perspective. The first one will happen at Columbia University in November 2018 (funded by the Thyssen Foundation).
The Comparative Politics of Remembering Family Separation In this new book project, I will examine how different states and societies commemorate the trauma of children being taken from aberrant, dissident or indigenous populations in order to enhance the power of the state or dominant culture. I am particularly interested to find out to what extent past injustice is connected to current politics/policies and thus to current politics of responsibility.
In addition to being involved in shaping the field, I have published on the development of Memory Studies. With Prof. Anamaria Dutceac Segesten (Lund University), I co-authored ‘Memory Studies – the State of the Field’ Memory Studies 10(4), October 2017.
Agency in Transnational Memory Politics
Together with a group of authors and my co-editor Aline Sierp, I am working on an edited volume examining how various kinds of agents are engaged in transnational space-making in the realm of commemoration.
Transnational Networks of Memory
This project uses quantitative and qualitative network analysis to investigate the relational underpinning of transnational memory politics.