I specialise in the history and memory of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), and in questions of memorialisation and the performance of memory in the built environment.
I joined the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures at Liverpool in 2019 as Head of Department. Previously, I was Professor of German Studies at Bangor University, where I also served as Head of Modern Languages for a number of years. I completed my PhD at the University of Bristol.
My current research examines contemporary anniversary and memorial trends in Germany and beyond, focusing in particular on memorial activism and paradigm shifts in twenty-first century commemoration. This builds on my research concerning the memorialisation of East Germany (published in my 2018 monograph 'Memorializing the GDR: Monuments and Memory after 1989'), and the ways in which East Germany is remembered and negotiated in the politics and culture of contemporary Germany (primarily through the AHRC Network ‘After the Wall’, resulting in the 2013 volume 'Remembering and Rethinking the GDR', co-edited with Dr Debbie Pinfold).
In the field of East German Studies, I have worked on the socialist education system of the GDR and examined the concept of patriotism amongst young people in the 1980s and 1990s, resulting in my first monograph, 'Honecker’s Children' (2008). Further work in this area includes research on literary and filmic representations of the GDR, in particular within the context of Ostalgie.
I welcome enquiries about postgraduate supervision (MRes, MPhil, PhD) on questions of memory and identity in contemporary Germany, the social and cultural history of the GDR, post-socialist Germany, questions of commemoration and memorialisation. Recent doctoral students have completed projects on representations of everyday life in the GDR in contemporary German films and museums, and the musealisation of the 1950s in France and Germany.