Profielfoto-klein KopieI am Assistant Professor of Cultural History at Utrecht University and a specialist in the cultural and media history of 20th-century Germany. I am the coordinator of the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership “Teaching European History in the 21st Century“, an EU-funded project that supports the internationalisation of history teaching in higher education.

I also regularly write about German politics and culture for publications in Germany, the US and the UK, including The Guardian, the BBC, the Washington Post and Die Zeit.

Ich arbeite als Assistant Professor of Cultural History an der Universität Utrecht. Mein Forschungsgebiet umfasst die deutsche Diskurs-, Medien- und Kulturgeschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts. Ich koordiniere die Erasmus+ Strategische Partnerschaft “Teaching European History in the 21st Century“, ein EU-finanziertes Projekt für die Internationalisierung der Lehre in der Geschichtswissenschaft.

Ich schreibe regelmäßig über deutsche Kultur und Politik für in- und ausländische Medien, darunter The Guardian, BBC, the Washington Post und Die Zeit.

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The Weimar Years

A radio essay for the BBC about the history of the Weimar Republic and the way the period is remembered today.


Modernization, Democratization and Politicization: Mass Media in 1920s Europe

1920s Europe witnessed the development of a “mass media ensemble” of press and illustrated magazines, radio, and sound film, which, as Axel Schildt (2001) has argued, remained stable until the proliferation of television in the 1960s. While the differences between the national “versions” of this ensemble were profound a number of factors were found across 1920s Europe: first, where the press had been the dominant mass medium, it retained this role expanding its reach and diversifying its product range, but it also was subjected to increased economic pressure and concentration. Second, radio rose as the new mass medium of the 1920s. In most European countries, the state played a central role in its establishment, but the result was often not straightforward state control but a hybrid model, particularly in the United Kingdom, Sweden, and the Netherlands. While radio programming differed considerably, the conception of radio as a tool of public education (often modeled on ideas of “high culture”) seemed to be a European‐wide approach.

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The Material Culture of Modern Politics in Cold War Europe

This special issue explores the materiality of politics in Cold War Europe. Building on a revised political history that includes social movements and marginalized groups from below and examines the symbolism, language and performance of politics, we aim to connect with ongoing efforts to include material culture in the study of political history. The contributions to this issue focus on physical objects, spaces, and bodies. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Babylon Berlin’ and the myth of the Weimar Republic

Flapper girls and Nazi stormtroopers, prostitutes and proletarians, jazz troupes and jackboots — when the German hit series “Babylon Berlin” arrived on U.S. Netflix in January, so did all these Weimar-era stereotypes. The producers celebrate the show’s educational values, characterizing 1920s Berlin as a “metropolis in turmoil” and as a place in which “growing poverty and unemployment stand in stark contrast to the excesses and indulgence of the city’s night life and its overflowing creative energy.” Read the rest of this entry »

The ‘Ullstein Spirit’
The Ullstein Publishing House, the End of the Weimar Republic and the Making of Cold War German Identity, 1925–77

in: Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 53 (2018), No. 1, pp. 158-184

Abstract: This article examines the role of the Ullstein company, a liberal publishing house with Jewish roots and one of Germany’s most important cultural producers, in the disintegration and the subsequent historical interpretation of the Weimar Republic. Read the rest of this entry »


Sina FABIAN: Boom in der Krise. Konsum, Tourismus, Autofahren in Westdeutschland und Großbritannien 1970–1990, in: H-Soz-Kult, 27 June 2017

Als vor einigen Jahren ein kurzlebiges Siebziger-Revival die britischen Inseln erfasste, rief der Kolumnist Jim White seinen Lesern die grundlegende Unzulänglichkeit der Dekade ins Gedächtnis: „[N]othing was any good. Nothing ever seemed to work. We were nearly 20 years on from the gloom of the immediate post-war world, yet we still lived in black and white. Sure, things had progressed. Unlike his dad, my father did have a car. Actually he had a succession of them. The only drawback was, they were forever breaking down.”[1] Read the rest of this entry »

In preparation:


A Moderate Modernity
The Newspaper Tempo and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic, 1928-1933

(forthcoming with University of Michigan Press)

The years from 1928 to 1933 represent one of the most decisive eras in German, European and global history: during these five years, the Weimar Republic, Germany’s first democratic regime, deteriorated into an increasingly authoritarian state that finally saw Adolf Hitler appointed as Chancellor. The newspaper Tempo is a unique witness to this extraordinary process. Read the rest of this entry »


“Bad” Politics and “Good” Culture
New Approaches to the History of the Weimar Republic

in: Central European History, Volume 49 (2016), Issue 3-4, pp. 441-453

Abstract: More than thirty years ago, Eberhard Kolb commented that the vast wealth of research on the history of the Weimar Republic made it “difficult even for a specialist to give a full account of the relevant literature.” Since then, the flood of studies on Weimar Germany has not waned, and by now it is hard even to keep track of all the review articles meant to cut a swath through this abundance. Yet the prevailing historical image of the era has remained surprisingly stable: most historians have accepted the master narrative of the Weimar Republic as the sharp juxtaposition of “bad” politics and “good” culture, epitomized in the often-used image of “a dance on the edge of a volcano.” Read the rest of this entry »


Das veränderliche “Gesicht der weiblichen Generation”. Ein Beitrag zur politischen Kulturgeschichte der späten Weimarer Republik in: Gabriele Metzler and Dirk Schumann (eds.), Geschlechter(un)ordnung in der Weimarer Republik, pp. 217-253.

Abstract: Dieser Beitrag beleuchtet am Beispiel der Boulevardzeitung Tempo, wie sich der öffentliche Diskurs über das Geschlechterverhältnis in der Spätphase der Weimarer Republik im Zusammenhang mit wirtschaftlichen und politischen Verschiebungen veränderte. Diese Zeit war von einem Bemühen geprägt, Ordnung in die Unordnung der Vorstellungen über die gesellschaftliche Rolle der Frau zu bringen, die die 1920er geprägt hatte. Read the rest of this entry »