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Helmut Walser Smith

The Martha Rivers Ingram Professor of History

Helmut Walser Smith is a historian of modern Germany, with particular interests in the history of nation-building and nationalism, the history of cartography, religious history, the history of anti-Semitism, and the history of the Holocaust and its memory. He is the author of German Nationalism and Religious Conflict, 1870-1914 (Princeton, 1995) and a number of edited collections, including The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History (Oxford, 2011), Protestants, Catholics and Jews in Germany, 1800-1914 (Oxford, 2001), The Holocaust and other Genocides: History, Representation, Ethics (Nashville, 2002), and, with Werner Bergmann and Christhard Hoffmann, Exclusionary Violence: Antisemitic Riots in Modern German History (Ann Arbor, 2002).

His book, The Butcher's Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town (New York, 2002), received the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History and was an L.A. Times Non-Fiction Book of the Year. It has also been translated into French, Dutch, Polish, and German, where it received an accolade as one of the three most innovative works of history published in 2002. Smith has also authored The Continuities of German History: Nation, Religion, and Race across the Long Nineteenth Century(Cambridge University Press, 2008), and in 2020 he published Germany. A Nation in its Time. Before, During, and after Nationalism, 1500-2000 (New York: 2020), which was named by the German politics journal, Internationale Politik, as a book of the Year., and has been translated into Dutch, German, and is forthcoming in Chinese.

His research has been funded by the NEH, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Volkswagen Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. At Vanderbilt, he has served as Director of the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, the Max Kade Center for European and German Studies, and the Digital Humanities Center. He teaches a wide variety of courses in German and European history, in historical methodology, and, more recently, in global history. In 1997, he received the Jeffrey Nordhaus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He is also the creator of