Democratisation in Eastern Germany, 1989-1994.
Joint Doctoral Studentship under the supervision of Prof. Jan Palmowski (University of Warwick) and Prof. Corey Ross (University of Birmingham), funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
My research explores, at a grassroots level, how local actors dealt with democratic change in East(ern) Germany between 1989-1994. It uses the particular case of Germany as a lens to examine wider questions of how democratisation works in practice, but it also examines a fundamental question of recent German politics and history: namely, the extent to which unification was determined ‘top-down’ by the Federal Republic, and East German actors maintained significant room for manoeuvre to realise their own ideals and ambitions.
In this context, democratisation is examined as an ongoing process of problem-solving and negotiation in the everyday. By focussing on communal conflicts between 1989 to 1994, the project tries to shed light on the experiences and dynamics shaping this crucial period. How, for example, did communal actors respond to the demonstrations in the autumn of 1989 and public reactions to the legacy of the Ministry for State Security? What role would this play during the organisation of the elections in the year to come, and how would the political and economic climate shape debates on the public sphere? How would citizens deal with issues around restructuring, privatisation and unemployment in their communities? And how would their local, regional and national identity adapt to the changing political, economic, social and cultural landscape?
Through the lens of micro-history, the project will use qualitative methods to examine one mid-size town and one state capital, namely Eisenach and Erfurt in Thuringia. Archive materials such as video and sound recordings, pamphlets, records of meetings, speeches, photographs and posters relating to the events of 1989/90 will be complemented by press reports and official political party documents from state and party archives. Finally, the study will benefit from oral history interviews with political actors, to understand the motivations, experiences and challenges around the transformation of eastern Germany.
- History of East Germany
- Memorial culture
- Political transitions
- History of Everyday Life
- Oral History
- Global History
- Contemporary literature
Academic Profile2017 - present: Visiting researcher at the Jena Center Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts (Centre for 20th Century History), Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany
2016 - 2019: PhD in History, ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, University of Warwick
- Democratisation in Eastern Germany, 1989-1994 (working title)
under the supervision of Prof. Jan Palmowski & Prof. Corey Ross
- Becoming Green - German Reunification and the Citizens' Movements, 1983-1993
under the supervision of Dr. Joachim Häberlen & Prof. Jan Palmowski (September 2016)
University of Manchester
- Paradigms of Difference: East and Turkish-German Perspectives on Post-Unification Identities
under the supervision of Prof. Margaret Littler (May 2010)
- Self and/as Other: Identities in Nothomb's Novels
under the supervision of Dr. Floriane Place-Verghnes (May 2009)
Conferences & Papers
Aufbruch in die Zivilgesellschaft? Formen lokaler politischer Partizipation und Diskussion vor, während und nach der friedlichen Revolution, Workshop organised by the Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam, Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung, Berlin, 4-5 April 2019 (Presented: "Demokratisierungsprozess während und nach 1989 – lokale Akteure in Erfurt und Eisenach").
- Sozialismus als Erfahrung und Erinnerung. Junge Forschung im etablierten Feld, 16. Potsdamer Doktorand_innenforum zur Zeitgeschichte, Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam, 21-22 February 2019 (Presented: "Die ostdeutsche Erfahrung: Demokratisierung im Alltag, 1989-1994").
- Oberseminar für Osteuropäische Geschichte, Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena, 08 January 2019 (Presented: "Thüringen in der Transformation: Demokratisierung im Alltag, 1989-1994).
- 24. Wissenschaftliches Halbjahresgespräch, Lehrstuhl für Neuere und Neueste Geschichte, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, 8 February 2018 (Presented: "Learning Democracy? Der Demokratisierungsprozess in Ostdeutschland, 1989-1994")
- Demokratieverachtung. Autoritäre Dynamiken in der Zwischenkriegszeit und in der Gegenwart, Symposium, Jena Center Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts & Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena, 25 - 27 January 2018 (attended)
- German Historical Institute Postgraduate Conference, GHI London, 11 - 12 January 2018 (Presented: "Learning Democracy? Democratisation in Eastern Germany, 1989-1994")
- Public and Applied History on the Battlefield of Europe. Dealing with Painful Pasts in the 20th Century, Jean Monnet Network 'Applied European Contemporary History', Jena, 07 - 09 November 2017 (attended)
- Zur Gesellschaftsgeschichte des Umbruchs. Lebenswelt und Systemwechsel vor, während und nach 1989, International Conference, Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam, 22 - 23 June 2017 (attended)
- German Historical Institute Postgraduate Conference, GHI London, 12 - 13 January 2017 (attended)
- Economic and Social Research Council Postgraduate Conference, ACC Liverpool, 17 June 2016 (attended)
Awards and Bursaries
- ESRC Doctoral Studentship Award (October 2015 - October 2019).
- History Postgraduate Research Fund, University of Warwick (Archival research in Sankt Augustin, February 2019).
- History Postgraduate Research Fund, University of Warwick (Archival research in Erfurt & Eisenach, February - March 2017).
- History Postgraduate Research Fund, University of Warwick (Archival research in Jena, March 2016).