Germany and Central Europe Focus Field

Germany and Central Europe
Germany and Central Europe

Our MA and PhD programs specialize in studying the history of Central Europe in a transatlantic and comparative context. Our faculty's research covers Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and the Czech lands ranging from the early modern period to the present. Given that Central European history represents one of the cornerstones of Nebraska's collective heritage, the program offers unique possibilities for the study of German and Czech immigrant communities in the United States.

The graduate program in European history is steadily growing. Our graduate students write research papers and dissertations on areas like the Reformation, European immigration to North America, 19th century Germany and science, World War I, the history of Czechoslovakia, National Socialism, and the Holocaust, as well as postwar West Germany and German-American relations during the Cold War.

The Central European focus group cooperates closely with the German Language Program at UNL and its Study Abroad Program in Berlin, as well as the Czech Language Program. The History Department has ties to the University of Heidelberg and a number of Czech universities. Since 2015, we have welcomed distinguished faculty from Czech universities, such as Palacký University (Olomouc), Charles University (Prague), University of Hradec Králové, and Brno, who serve as Frank A. Belousek Distinguished Scholars and Visiting Professors In Residence at UNL teaching a course on Czech history.

Additionally, the History Program enables students to pursue graduate specializations in a number of areas related to the History of Central Europe:

We offer competitive archival research grants for graduate students. Because of its historical and cultural ties to Central Europe, the region offers several prominent archives dedicated to the preservation of that history:

Our Faculty

Amy Nelson Burnett: Paula and D.B. Varner University Professor of History, is a specialist on early modern Protestant clergy and the early Reformed tradition more generally. Her book Teaching the Reformation: Ministers and their Message in Basel, 1529-1629 (2006) was awarded the Gerald Strauss Prize of the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, and The Yoke of Christ: Martin Bucer and Christian Discipline (1996) won the Brewer Prize of the American Society of Church History. In 2012, Professor Burnett was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the Leibniz-Institute für Europäische Geschichte in Mainz, Germany.

David Cahan: Charles Bessey Professor of History, is a historian of modern science. His main research interests include the historical relationships of science and society since 1750, including the relationships of technological innovation to science and society, and issues of science and culture. He has published a number of highly acclaimed books, including An Institute for an Empire: The Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt, 1871-1918 Science at the American Frontier: A Biography of DeWitt Bristol Brace (co-authored with M. Eugene Rudd, Lincoln, 2000). His current major research project is a biography of Hermann von Helmholtz, one of the major figures in nineteenth-century German (and European) science.

Gerald Steinacher: Associate Professor of History and Rosenberg Professor of Judaic Studies, specializes in the history of the Holocaust with a particular focus on the experience of perpetrators and bystanders (Täterforschung). His latest book, Nazis on the Run. How Hitler's Henchmen Fled Justice (OUP), was awarded the 2011 National Jewish Book Award. Steinacher’s new research project focuses on motivations and responses to the Holocaust of humanitarian organizations and Christian churches.

Alexander Vazansky: Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, received his Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg in 2009. His research interests include postwar German-American relations, GIs in Germany, and the 1960s in a transatlantic perspective. He is currently completing his book about the U.S. Army in Germany between 1968-1975 and is planning to write his next book on militarism and anti-militarism in West Germany during the 1970s and 1980s.

Eva Taterová: 2017 Frank A. Belousek Distinguished Scholar and Visiting Professor in Residence at UNL. Dr. Taterová comes to us from the Department of International Relations and European Studies, Masaryk University, Czech Republic. Her research focuses on the Holocaust, Czech-Jewish history, and foreign relations between Czechoslovakia and Israel.

Our Graduate Students

When you come to study Germany and Central Europe at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, you join a community of other graduate students.