Martina Kessel, Modern History and Gender History
I am a historian of modern Germany, dealing with German History from the late eighteenth century to the present day. I am particularly interested in cultural history and cultural theory, the history of the world wars, the history of violence and international relations. Book publications dealt for example with British and French policy towards Germany after 1945 or with the history of boredom in the nineteenth century, analysing the meanings of time and emotion in German middle class culture. Currently, a monograph is under way about projections of identity and violence in the first half of the twentieth century. Another research project deals with notions of temporality in West German film after 1945.
In my teaching, I also concentrate on modern German history, sometimes on West European and North American history, and gender history. Among other topics, I recently taught classes about "The place of National Socialism in Twentieth Century German History", "Temporality as a Historical Problem in Modern Times", and "War, violence, and gender in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century". I am generally interested in the ways how historical actors produce meaning through semantics and practices. At the moment, teaching and research concentrate especially on processes of inclusion and exclusion. Gender is understood as one historical category next to others that organises social structures and processes as well as perceptions and actions, but can also function as a symbolic system used to assign social status, to confirm or change power relations, or to justify other political and social practices.