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Graduate Studies - Modern Europe

Updated September 2019

Vanderbilt's doctoral program in Modern Europe focuses on developing scholars and teachers with a broad knowledge of European history and its relationship to the world. Graduate students are rigorously trained in both the national historiographies of their regional and linguistic specializations, as well as in related transnational and thematic fields, such as environmental history, nationalism and nation-building, law and empire, the history of music, minority politics, history of religion, mass violence, and the history of science and technology.

Doctoral students in Modern Europe typically take four semesters of classes, followed by general exams at the end of their fourth semester. The third year is devoted to developing the dissertation research prospectus and preparing for field work. Students spend their fourth year pursuing dissertation research, followed by one to two years of writing. Students are encouraged to complete the thesis by the end of the sixth year.

With a small, competitive cohort accepted each year, doctoral students in Modern Europe at Vanderbilt benefit from close mentor relationship with their advisors and other senior faculty, both through small seminar-style coursework and close individual supervision during the dissertation process. Mentorship extends beyond the classroom to include support in grant-writing, preparation for the job market, and opportunities for teaching assistantships in related fields. Collectively, the department's European faculty has supervised more than 40 theses in modern Europe and helped to place students in prestigious fellowships and tenure-track jobs in the United States and Europe.

Current faculty 

Celia Applegate (Germany, social/cultural) 
Lauren Benton (comparative legal history of empires, British Empire)
Michael Bess (history of science, technology, and ethics)
David Blackbourn (Germany, transnational history) 
Lauren Clay (France and French Empire, Age of Revolution)
Emily Greble (Eastern Europe, Muslims in Europe) 
Ari Joskowicz (modern Jewish history, European minorities) 
Catherine Molineux (British Atlantic) 
Helmut Walser Smith (Germany)
Frank Wcislo (Russia and Soviet Union)

Graduate Students

Patrick Anthony Science, Medicine and Technology
John Gillespie 20th Century, Germany, Politics and Culture
Ivana Lazaroska Modern Europe
Vladislav Lilic  19th Century, Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Balkan Studies
Johnathon Speed 19th and 20th Century, Social Control and Child Welfare
Trevor Thomas
Modern Europe
Brianne Wesolowski 19th and 20th Century, History of Medicine, the Body and Gender

Recent Graduates

Carolyn Taratko (2019)  "Feeding Germany: Food, Land, and the Social Question in Modern Germany, 1871–1923."

Cassandra Painter (2018)  "The Life and Afterlife of Anna Katharina Emmerick: Reimagining Catholicism in Modern Germany."

Christopher Mapes (2018)  "Germany's Slavery Problem during the Sattelzeit, 1750-1850."

Sonja Ostrow (2018)  "Polling after Fascism: Opinion Research, Mass Society, and Democratic Fragility in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1945-1960."

J'Nese Williams (2018) "Imperial Intervention: Botanic Gardens, Science, and Colonial Administration in the British Empire, Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries."

Jeremy DeWaal (2014) "Redemptive Geographies: The Turn to Local Heimat in Early Postwar West  Germany, 1945-1965." 

Joanna Mazurska (2013)   "Making Sense of Czeslaw Milosz: A Poet's Formative Dialogue with his Transnational Audiences."

Kurt Johnson (2010) “The Re-enchanted Body in fin de siècle German Culture."