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

The North Carolina German Studies Seminar and Workshop Series is proud to announce the fifth annual Konrad Jarausch Essay Prize Competition for Advanced Graduate Students in 2023. 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 Modern Central European history.

The prize will award the best unpublished article manuscript or dissertation chapter intended for publication by a current graduate student working in the field of Modern Central European history. The recipient of this prize will receive an honorarium of $1,000 and an invitation to present the dissertation with a lecture in the North Carolina German Studies Seminar (NCGS).

 

For more information  please contact  Dr. Karen Hagemann (hagemann@unc.edu) the speaker of the prize committee.

 

Prize committee: Dr. James Chappel (Duke University),  Dr. Karen Hagemann (UNC Chapel Hill), 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).

 


2022 Winner of the Konrad H. Jarausch Essay Prize for Advanced Graduate Students in Central European History

YANARA SCHMACKS Doctoral Candidate  I  The Graduate Center, City University of New York, Department of History

 

On behalf of the North Carolina German Studies Seminar Series, we are pleased to announce this year’s winner of the Konrad Jarausch Essay Prize for Advanced Graduate Students in Central European History. In recognition of the longstanding commitment to graduate education of Konrad H. Jarausch, Lurcy Professor of European Civilization in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this annual prize serves to celebrate and cultivate outstanding new talent in the field of Central European history.

This year’s winner is Yanara Schmacks, a doctoral candidate in history at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her prizewinning essay, “‘We always also did this for our children’: Motherhood in the GDR between Socialism and Opposition,” is drawn from her dissertation project, “Reproductive Nation: German Motherhood, Erotics, and Ecology between East and West.” Focusing on the period from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s, this project aims to explain why the West German understanding of motherhood replaced the socialist East German one after 1989, resulting paradoxically in a socially liberal reunited Germany with surprisingly restrictive policies on reproduction and the family. Moreover, the project’s careful consideration of the intellectual and cultural dimensions of the different versions of motherhood promises to illuminate in new ways significant political conflicts and social questions concerning nature, ecology, race, and national identity that attended the process of rapid German unification.

In her prizewinning essay Schmacks argues “that motherhood in the GDR was not, as is often assumed, merely a pragmatic, non-emotional affair limited to [a] ‘normative concept of working motherhood.’ While the socialist state’s . . . family politics indeed revolved around the ideal of the ‘working [mother],’ GDR women writers and activists continuously renegotiated the cultural meanings as well as the moral and emotional stakes of motherhood beyond the state-decreed ideal.” Schmacks traces these renegotiations through both insightful readings of novels of GDR literary feminists from the 1970s and 1980s and careful study of the Women’s Peace Movement’s involvement in the 1980s in issues ranging from abortion, new reproductive technologies, and increasing medical control of the female body to militarism’s unwholesome effects on the education of young children and the arms race’s threat to their future well-being. The committee, in selecting Schmacks’s essay, unanimously praised its deft interweaving of archival and literary sources, its rigorous analysis of complex social issues related to motherhood in the late GDR, and its impressive originality.

 

The Prize Committee

  • James Chappel (Gilhuly Family Associate Professor of History, Duke University, Department of History)
  • Karen Hagemann (James G. Kenan Distinguished Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of History)
  • Terence McIntosh (Associate Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of History)
  • Thomas Pegelow Kaplan (immediate past Levine Distinguished Professor of Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies, Appalachian State University; incoming Singer Endowed Chair in Jewish History, University of Colorado Boulder, Department of History) (thomaspegelowkaplan@appstate.edu)

 

2021 Winner of the Konrad Jarausch Essay Prize for Advanced Graduate Students in Central European History

JOHNATHON SPEED  I  Doctoral Candidate  I  Vanderbilt University, Department of History

 

On behalf of the North Carolina German Studies Seminar Series, we are extremely pleased to announce this year’s winner of the Konrad Jarausch Essay Prize for Advanced Graduate Students in Central European History. In recognition of the longstanding commitment to graduate education of Konrad H. Jarausch, Lurcy Professor of European Civilization in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this annual prize serves to celebrate and cultivate outstanding new talent in the field of Central European history. We received over a dozen excellent submissions, and the decision was challenging.

This year’s winner is Johnathon Speed, a doctoral candidate in history at Vanderbilt University. His prizewinning essay, “A ‘Child Export’: The Swabian Children at the Austro-German Border, 1897-1914,” is drawn from his dissertation project “The Swabian Children and Child Welfare in the Eastern Alps, 1820 – 1921. This project traces the regulatory regime that emerged around the thousands of children who traveled every year from the Austrian Alps to Southwest Germany to work as domestics and shepherds. These children became objects of considerable debate and state concern. By tracing these debates, Speed is casting new light on important questions about labor, childhood, and the construction of borders in the long nineteenth century. The prizewinning essay looks especially at the children who were ordered back across the border by German bureaucrats in the years before World War I. By using the methods of social history to focus on complex administrative cases rather than parliamentary laws, Speed is able to show that the border, even between Germany and Austria, was becoming increasingly regulated and policed in those years—responding less to legislative changes than to a broader moral panic over child labor. Borders, Speed determines, are not governed by state law alone, but by individual regulators who work transnationally with their counterparts to translate law into reality. The committee, in selecting Speed’s essay, unanimously praised it as a model of polished scholarship that rests solidly on archival research and elegantly combines the approaches of social, cultural, and political history. 

 

The Prize Committee

  • James Chappel (Gilhuly Family Associate Professor of History, Duke University, Department of History)
  • Karen Hagemann (James G. Kenan Distinguished Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of History)
  • Terence McIntosh (Associate Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of History)
  • Dirk Moses (Frank Porter Graham Distinguished Professor of Global Human Rights History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of History)
  • Thomas Pegelow Kaplan (Levine Distinguished Professor of Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies, Appalachian University, Department of History)

 

2020 Winner of the Konrad H. Jarausch Essay Prize for Advanced Graduate Students in Central European History

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

 

On behalf of the North Carolina German Studies Seminar Series, we are extremely pleased to announce this year’s winner of the Konrad Jarausch Essay Prize for Advanced Graduate Students in Central European History. In recognition of the longstanding commitment to graduate education of Konrad H. Jarausch, Lurcy Professor of European Civilization in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this annual prize serves to celebrate and cultivate outstanding new talent in the field of Central European history. We received over a dozen excellent submissions, and the decision was challenging.

This year’s winner is PETER B. THOMPSON (University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign, Department of History) for his article draft “The Pale Death: Poison Gas and German Racial Exceptionalism, 1915-1945.” It emerged from his recently completed dissertation entitled “Grasping for the Mask: German Visions of Chemical Modernity, 1915-1938.” The committee was very impressed with the skillful and innovative ways in which Thompson’s contribution and larger dissertation links and weaves together histories and philosophies of technology, culture, war, race and racism to present an intriguing argument about the construction of an ethno-German nation in a set of racialized discourses that have not yet received sufficient scholarly attention. Going far beyond any previous work on gas warfare and masks and combining the Imperial, Weimar and Nazi periods, it convincingly makes the case that Germans set themselves apart for their alleged ability to resist gas exposure and live in a chemically altered world, a “chemical modernity,” on the basis of their imagined racial distinctions. All the while, the piece offers a sound conceptual and theoretical framework and a fascinating array of sources from the scientific writings of the “gas specialists” to artefacts of popular culture. The contribution is in firm and remarkable command of a broad literature, well written, and meticulously and thoughtfully analyzed. In so doing, the work combines many of the best characteristics and strengths that German history and studies have to offer.

 

The Prize Committee

  • James Chappel (Hunt Family Assistant Professor of History, Duke University, Department of History) (jgc23@duke.edu)
  • Karen Hagemann (James G. Kenan Distinguished Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of History) (hagemann@unc.edu)
  • Thomas Pegelow Kaplan (Levine Distinguished Professor of Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies, Appalachian University, Department of History) (thomaspegelowkaplan@appstate.edu

 

2019 Winner of the Konrad H. Jarausch Essay Prize for Advanced Graduate Students in Central European History

STEFANIE M. WOODARD I  Doctoral Candidate  I  Emory University, Department of History

 

The North Carolina German Studies Seminar and Workshop Series (NCGS) is proud to announce the inaugural winner of the Konrad H. Jarausch Essay Prize for Advanced Graduate Students in Central European History, a new NCGS project that it launched this year. The prize, to be awarded every year to an article or dissertation chapter by a current graduate student, is designed in recognition of the longstanding commitment to graduate education of Konrad H. Jarausch, who is the Lurcy Professor of European Civilization at the History Department of the University of North Carolina. The prize serves to celebrate and cultivate outstanding new talent in the field of Central European history.  

The prize committee advertised the prize widely and received fifteen stellar submissions from across the United States and Canada. The decision was a difficult one, and we are proud to announce the inaugural winner: STEFANIE M. WOODARD (Emory University), who submitted an article manuscript title “Keeping the ‘Recovered Territories’: Evolving Polish Attitudes toward Indigenous Silesians” that was based on her research for a dissertation entitled Ethnic German ‘Resettlers’ from Poland and Their Integration into Western Germany, 1970-1990.” It deals with issues of diplomacy, ethnicity, memory, and belonging: all themes that have animated Konrad Jarausch’s work, and that of the NCGS as well.

The runner-up is TOMASZ FRYDEL (University of Toronto) who is completing a dissertation under Piotr Wróbel titled “Genocide from Above: Village Society and Holocaust in Occupied Poland, 1939-1945 – The Case of Kreis Debica.”

 

The Prize Committee

  • James Chappel (Hunt Family Assistant Professor of History, Duke University, Department of History) (jgc23@duke.edu)
  • Karen Hagemann (James G. Kenan Distinguished Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of History) (hagemann@unc.edu)
  • Thomas Pegelow Kaplan (Levine Distinguished Professor of Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies, Appalachian University, Department of History) (thomaspegelowkaplan@appstate.edu