John Gillespie is a third year PhD candidate in the History Department. He received his master's degree in European History from Middle Tennessee State University in December, 2017. He is interested in modern central European history with a current emphasis on the intersection of politics and culture in twentieth-century Germany. John's master's thesis was entitled, The People's Drink: The Politics of Beer in East Germany (1945-1971). In this work, he explored the political importance of beer for East Germany's socialist leadership in the early decades of the Cold War to explore how cultural traditions impact and are impacted by ideology. He hopes to expand the focus of this inquiry to include other states, cultures, and historical periods.