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Call for Proposals:

The Konrad H. Jarausch Essay Prize for Advanced Graduate Students in Central European History 2021


Deadline:  May 31, 2021


The North Carolina German Studies Seminar and Workshop Series is proud to announce the third annual Konrad Jarausch Essay Prize Competition for Advanced Graduate Students. In recognition of the longstanding commitment to graduate education of Konrad H. Jarausch, who is the Lurcy Professor of European Civilization at the Department of History of the University of North Carolina, this prize serves to celebrate and cultivate outstanding new talent in the broadly defined field of Central European history from the 17th to the 20th century.

The prize will award the best article or chapter-length piece of writing by a current graduate student working in the field of Central European history. The recipient of this prize will receive an honorarium of $1,000 and an invitation to present his or her dissertation with a lecture in the North Carolina German Studies Seminar (NCGS) in  2021/22. In addition, we will invite him or her to a writing workshop for graduate students in history on the same day, in which the submitted chapter will be discussed by accomplished scholars, who will make suggestions on how to revise and prepare it for submission to a first-rate academic journal. Both events will provide an opportunity for the winner to receive feedback from an interdisciplinary group of experts. The prizewinner will be encouraged, but not required to submit their revised essay for publication. We will cover the costs for travel (economy class flight) to and from Chapel Hill, hotel accommodation and dinner following the lecture.

The NCGS series was started in 2007 by an interdisciplinary and inter-institutional group of scholars in the Research Triangle of North Carolina, which is home to nationally and internationally recognized graduate programs in German Studies. The series has traditionally emphasized graduate education.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Applicants must be enrolled in a PhD program at a North American university.
  • They must not have defended dissertation before the spring term 2021.
  • They must plan to be resident in North America in the fall 2021.

Requirements for the proposal:

  • A statement of up to five pages describing the outlines of your dissertation project and its state of completion.
  • A CV that clearly indicates when you intend to defend your dissertation or defended it in the spring term 2021.

An article draft, ideally based on chapter from the dissertation, of approx. 10,000 words (excluding notes) not yet accepted by a journal.


If you are interested, please send the application materials to Dr. James Chappel ( latest until May 31, 2021. Please do not hesitate to address any questions about the prize, the required material and the selection process to him.

Prize committee: Dr. James Chappel (Duke University), Dr. Karen Hagemann, Dr. Terence McIntosh, Dr. Dirk Moses (UNC Chapel Hill), and Dr. Thomas Pegelow-Kaplan (Appalachian State University).

For the CFP  click here




Friday, 29 January 2021

UNC Chapel Hill  I  4:00 – 5:30 pm I Online Seminar


Presentation of the Konrad H.  Jarausch Essay Prize Winner for Advanced Graduate Students in 2020

PETER B. THOMPSON  I  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Department of History

Masters or Victims of the Chemical World?: The Question of Complicity in a Chemically-Minded Third Reich

The presentation will examine the ways in which the gas mask served as a technological site of discipline, conformity, and complicity in the envisioned air and gas protection community of the Third Reich. Throughout the 1930s, the Nazis used the gas mask as a material tool in the creation of a compliant and chemically-minded German subject. With masks donned, German civilians now appeared as technologically augmented soldiers in the Nazis’ envisioned struggle for national survival. Indeed, in the eyes of the Nazis, the mask created a physically homogenized society that could survive, if not thrive, in a modernity defined by its toxic environment. Exploring the role of gas mask technology in the creation of a national community predicated on violent exclusions and bodily discipline, this presentation will argue that the average German civilian under the gas mask maintained a complex subjectivity that regularly shifted between perpetrator, bystander, and victim of the Nazi regime.

PETER B. THOMPSON is a PhD graduate in the History Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His broad research interests lie at the intersection of German cultural history and the history of science and technology at the turn of the twentieth century.

Welcome: LISA LINDSAY (Chair, UNC-Chapel Hill, Department of History)

Introduction of the Prize Winner:  JAMES CHAPPEL  I  Duke University, Department of History

Moderation: KAREN HAGEMANN   I  UNC-Chapel Hill, Department of History

Co-Conveners: Duke University, Department of History, and UNC-Chapel Hill History, Department of History, and Center for European Studies

PDF of the Flyer


Friday, 29 January 2021

UNC Chapel Hill  I  12:00 – 2:00 pm I Online Seminar

Graduate Writing Seminar

with PETER B. THOMPSON  I University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign, Department of History

Discussion of “The Pale Death: Poison Gas and German Racial Exceptionalism, 1915-1945”

In the second year of Wolf War I, the German-Jewish chemist Fritz Haber supervised the first deployment of industrialized chemical weapons against French colonial troops. The uncertain nature of the attack, both in its execution and outcome, led many German military men to question the controllability of poison gas. Over the next three decades, Germans would continue this line of inquiry, as aero-chemical attacks appeared increasingly imminent. This article narrates the German search for control over chemical weapons between the World Wars, revealing the ways in which interwar techno-nationalists tied the mastery of poison gas to ethno-racial definitions of German-ness. Under the Nazis, leaders in civilian aero-chemical defense picked up this interwar thread and promoted a dangerous embrace of gas that would supposedly cull the technically superior Germans from other lesser races. While this vision of a chemically saturated world did not suffuse German society, such logic did play out in the gas chambers of the Holocaust

Comments:  JAMES CHAPPEL (Duke University, Department of History) and KONRAD H. JARAUSCH (UNC—Chapel Hill, Department of History)

Moderation:  MAX H. LAZAR (UNC-Chapel Hill, Department of History) and MICHAEL SKALSKI (UNC-Chapel Hill, Department of History)

The paper will be distributed to the participants before the workshop. Please contact the organizers of the event.

Co-Conveners: Duke University, Department of History, and UNC-Chapel Hill History, Department of History and the  Center for European Studies

PDF of the Flyer



The Konrad H. Jarausch Essay Prize for Advanced Graduate Students in Central European History 2019


Winner: STEFANIE M. WOODARD Kennesaw State University, Department of History & Philosophy


Presentation on Thursday, 12 September 2019

In UNC Global Education Center 4003  I  5:30 – 7:00 PM


“Feeling German”: Migration and Ethnic Identity in a Cold War Borderland

Between 1970 and 1990, approximately 835,000 ethnic German Aussiedler migrated from Poland to West Germany. Most of these “resettlers” hailed from Upper Silesia, a borderland in western Poland. Although scholars have frequently described Silesians as nationally indifferent or ethnically ambiguous, the Cold War thrust them into the center of a clash over ethnicity and memory. Whereas the Polish government downplayed or denied the Silesians’ German heritage, West German authorities cast these borderlanders as “sufferers for Germanness” and the last victims of World War II. Not simply the passive subjects of Cold War discourse, Silesians also catapulted themselves into the ethnicity debate. The resettlers’ borderland context enabled them to invoke their German ethnicity to receive privileged-immigrant status in West Germany or, later, to lobby for cultural rights in Poland. This talk, thus, highlights how an ethnically-coded conflict over victimhood and memory shaped not only the lives of individual émigrés from Silesia, but also West German-Polish relations as a whole.


STEFANIE M. WOODARD is a Limited Term Assistant Professor at Kennesaw State University. She received her PhD in May 2019 from Emory University.

Moderator: JAMES CHAPPEL  I  Duke University, Department of History



Friday, 13 September 2019 

UNC Hamilton Hall  569 I  9:00-11:00 AM
(Breakfast will be served)

Writing Workshop for History Graduate Students: How to Prepare a Manuscript for the Publication in a Journal like Central European History?

Publishing an article can be a daunting task. This workshop, led by accomplished scholars, will offer insights into the process, make suggestions for revisions, and prepare graduate students for submitting a first-rate paper to academic journals. The discussion will focus on a pre-circulated draft titles “Feeling German”: Migration and Ethnic Identity in a Cold War Borderland” by this year’s winner of the Konrad Jarausch Essay Prize for Advanced Graduate Students in Central European History, STEFANIE M. WOODARD (Visiting Assistant Professor, Kennesaw State University, Department of History & Philosophy).


    • KONRAD H. JARAUSCH  I  Lurcy Professor of European Civilization, UNC–Chapel Hill, Department of History
    • CHAD BRYANT  I  Associate Professor, UNC-Chapel Hill, Department of History


    • KAREN HAGEMANN  I  James G. Kenan Distinguished Professor of History, UNC-Chapel Hill, Department of History

The workshop is open to all graduate students from the region, but space is limited