I am an Associate Teaching Professor in Political Science at Northeastern University in Boston. Prior to my move to Boston, I held a Visiting Professor position at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.
I was born in Germany, where I grew up, and received my joint BA in Political Science and Economics at the University of Cologne.
My research lies at the intersection of Political Theory and International Relations, and I am especially interested in questions of trauma, memory, identity, and ethics in international relations – broadly defined. To that end, my current research is invested in studying representations of traumatic events – genocides and mass atrocities; how these representations are informed, how they inform us, and to what effect. Specifically, I am currently working on two, related, projects:
The role of perpetrators in the study and teaching of genocide | How do we teach about perpetrators? What ethical challenges are we confronted with when teaching perpetrator narratives? How can we – and should we? – humanize perpetrators without exonerating the subjects? I am especially interested in the role of public apologies as a lens through which to gauge the perpetrator narrative. I have published some preliminary thoughts on this in an article here.
The role and (ab)use of atrocity footage in teaching about genocide | “When should we see the dead”, asks David Campbell in his study on media, photographs, and mass atrocities. I, too, ask myself this question often, especially in the context of my classroom teaching on genocide and the Holocaust. I currently confront this question as a Faculty Teaching Fellow at Northeastern’s Advanced Center for Teaching and Learning through Research (CATLR) and also in my Crisis & Pedagogy Collaborative Research Cluster.
My teaching focus follows these interests closely – I teach courses on Modern Political Thought, Genocide, and Memory and Trauma in World Politics.
Alongside all this, I have been invested in a number of longer-term projects:
In 2013, I created a Holocaust and Genocide Studies ‘study abroad’ program as part of Northeastern University’s Dialogue of Civilizations. It takes twenty undergraduate students to Germany and Poland each summer, for five weeks, to study aspects of the Holocaust.
I have also been involved in co-leading a University-wide Collaborative Research Cluster. This cluster takes on a new theme each year and brings together like-minded faculty, staff, and graduate students across campus to explore pressing issues in an interdisciplinary fashion. The most recent research clusters concerned themselves with the issue of genocide and mass atrocity in regard to our research and teaching practices.
In partnership with the German Embassy in Washington D.C., I have organized and curated events on campus, and related to US-German relations. In 2014, this involved hosting a multi-media exhibit on the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Currently, I am in the process of curating events on “Jewish Life in Germany Today” and together with colleagues from our Jewish Studies Program, Public History Program, and the German Language Division on campus.
I am currently a Faculty Teaching Fellow at Northeastern’s Center for Advanced Teaching and Learning Through Research (CATLR) to explore ways to engage ethically in teaching practices on topics such as genocide and mass atrocity. I am specifically invested in learning more about mindful practices in higher education.