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For an Overview of the  NCGS Program in 2023-24 Click here

Click here for a PDF of the Fall 2023 program overview

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We will continue to hold the NCGS Seminars via Zoom in 2023-24.

We will communicate the Zoom URL for each NCGS seminar  before the event via our NCGS list serve.

If you are not on this list serve please contact the NCGS graduate assistants KEVIN HOEPER ( ask him to be added the NCGS list serve or request the URL for a specific event in the weeks before the event.  He and  MADELINE JAMES  ( will also take care of the technology of the Zoom Seminars. For our NCGS Online Seminars Etiquette see here.

We a have a no-recording policy for all our events to create an open space for discussion. 


Friday, 22 September 2023

2:00 – 4:00 pm   Zoom Seminar

Konrad H. Jarausch Essay Prize Winner for Advanced Graduate Students 2022:


Graduate Student, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, Department of History and Doctoral Fellow, Leibniz-Institute for European History, Mainz



Motherhood in the GDR between Socialism and Opposition


The presentation explores how GDR women dealt with motherhood and thereby, in conversation with and sometimes opposition to the state, renegotiated socialist modernity. East German women writers drew up alternative socialist versions of maternity, framing the mother-child relationship as a platonic partnership between mother and child and, in contrast to their Western counterparts, deemphasizing the bodily elements of motherhood. These positions toward motherhood and children were often politically in line with culturally hegemonic ideas about the socialist family that were promoted by the state. Yet, in the 1980s, motivated by intense maternal concern for their children in the face of growing Cold War tensions and environmental destruction, GDR women’s activists tried to actively intervene at the state level to improve the future of their children, thereby becoming involved in oppositional activities and ultimately contributing to bringing about the Wende

YANARA SCHMACKS  is a PhD candidate in Modern European History at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. She is working on a dissertation titled “Reproductive Nation: German Motherhood, Erotics, and Ecology between East and West,” exploring how the maternal served as a space for the renegotiation of both the German past as well as the East-West divide and reunification. Her research was published in Central European History and in Psychoanalysis and History. She is currently a Doctoral Fellow at the Leibniz-Institute for European History in Mainz.


Moderation: KAREN HAGEMANN   I  James G. Kenan Distinguished Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of History

Laudation: THOMAS PEGELOW KAPLAN   |  Louis P. Singer Endowed Chair in Jewish History, University of Colorado Boulder, Department of History


JAMES CHAPPEL  |  Gilhuly Family Associate Professor of History, Duke University, Department of History

DONNA HARSCH   |  Professor of History, Carnegie Mellon University, Department of History


PDF of the Flyer


2023 Winner of the Konrad H. Jarausch Essay Prize for Advanced Graduate Students in Central European History


Doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of History


The North Carolina German Studies Seminar and Workshop Series (NCGS) is proud to award our annual Konrad H. Jarausch Essay Prize for Advanced Graduate Students in modern Central European history in 2023 to MIRA MARKHAM, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her submission was entitled “Operation Velehrad, 1950: Communism, Catholicism, and Popular Tradition in Czechoslovakia,” and it stems from a dissertation called Power in the Village: Rural Political Life in Czechoslovakia, 1944-1954.

Markham’s essay sheds new light on the relationship between Communism, Catholicism, and nationalism in the early Cold War period. Many scholars have traversed this ground before: after all, those were three dominant ideologies of the early Cold War period. And yet, most of those studies have focused on political or clerical leaders, telling a story of repression in the Soviet bloc and Catholic hegemony in the Christian Democratic heartlands of West Germany and Italy. The study gives us a new perspective, providing a microhistory of Catholic-Communist relations in rural Czechoslovakia. Here, in a religiously traditional region, the Communist regime shied away from outright confrontation. Instead, they embarked on a wide-ranging campaign to create a form of Catholicism that was safe for a Communist state. This involved more than cynical manipulation: as Markham shows, Communists and Catholics in Moravia shared a commitment to national renewal and the protection of Slavic heritage. By mobilizing lower clergy against their superiors, and celebrating the region’s religious history through festivals, the Communist Party was able to position itself as both a voice for change, and a defender of regional tradition.

The prize committee was deeply impressed with Markham’s essay, which is well written and based in a wide array of primary sources. She brings multiple historiographical discussions together, showing readers the importance of rural and regional identities, even in the post-1945 era. We therefore believe that she deserves this year’s prize, which serves to celebrate outstanding new talent in the field of Central European history. It is to be awarded annually to an article or dissertation chapter by a current graduate student in recognition of the longstanding commitment to graduate education of Konrad H. Jarausch, the Lurcy Professor of European Civilization at the History Department of the University of North Carolina.


The Prize Committee:

  • Dr. James Chappel (Duke University)
  • Dr. Karen Hagemann (Speaker, UNC-Chapel Hill, email:
  • Dr. Donna Harsch (Carnegie Mellon University),
  • Dr. Thomas Pegelow Kaplan (University of Colorado Boulder)
  • Dr. Adam Seipp (Texas A&M University)
  • Dr. Andrea Sinn (Elon University) and
  • Dr. Teresa Walch (UNC-Greensboro).


North Carolina German Studies Seminar Series

An Open Letter: in Solidarity against Racism

June 6, 2020


Dear Friends,

We hope that this message finds you safe and healthy in these turbulent times in which different crises currently combine to show us, once again, the systemic and institutionalized racism of politics, economy and society in the United States. Along with the rest of the world, we have been outraged and deeply affected by the recent events. The killing of George Floyd and the violent response of the police against mourning and protesting demonstrators are appalling and troubling. We are therefore reaffirming our commitment to support the struggle against racism and anti-Blackness here and elsewhere on the globe. 

The NCGS Steering Committee is committed to countering racism, anti-Blackness, and violence at home, in Europe, particularly Germany, and across the world. We aim to foster dialogue on, and broaden the visibility of resources about the history of structural racism, anti-Black violence, and many related issues. 

Germany’s twentieth century history has much to teach us about the rise of Nazism and more current populist right wing movements and their inherent racism, as well as about the persistence of structural racism and the difficulty of combating it. It shows that the only way forward is to address and study, without any hesitation, the dark past—discussing it in public, even if this courts controversy, in order to teach not only students but also the broader public. This was and is a painful process for the racially discriminated, suppressed, and killed minorities: in twentieth century German history mainly, but not only, Jewish people. It is also painful, and necessary, for the descendants of the discriminating, suppressing, and persecuting majority, who are not only forced to confront the history of their ancestors, but also their own prejudices and ongoing, often unwitting, racist thinking and behavior. German history also shows that a democratic civil society, including critical media and very active grassroots movements, are needed to foster change. In Germany, as in the United States, this work is not complete, as right-wing populism, xenophobia, racism, and antisemitism are rising again.

We therefore strongly support the current movement of the Black community and their interracial coalitions in the United States whose members have been trying to come to terms with their pain, anger, sadness, and frustration over a struggle against racism and inequality that has persisted on American soil since the seventeenth century. Everybody who stands behind this agenda needs to support this movement and listen and learn from its proponents. Its calls can and should not be ignored any longer.



On behalf of the 

The NCGS Steering Committee


Dr. James Chappel (Duke University)

Dr. Karen Hagemann (UNC Chapel Hill) (Speaker)

Dr. Konrad H. Jarausch (UNC Chapel Hill)

Dr. Priscilla Layne (UNC Chapel Hill)

Dr. Jakob Norberg (Duke University)

Dr. Thomas Pegelow-Kaplan (Appalachian State University)

Dr. Andrea Sinn (Elon University)


The open letter as a  PDF

Carolina Seminars I Duke University: Department of German Studies I Department of History I The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages & Literatures I Department of History and


Speaker: Karen Hagemann
, James G. Kenan Distinguished Professor of History,  UNC-Chapel Hill, Department of History (