This blog accompanies my research project “Homesick for Yesterday. A History of the Nostalgia” at the German Historical Institute London. Taking its cue from the discussion of a “nostalgia wave” in the 1970s and 80s, the project explores why and how amateurs engage with the past, how they appropriate historical methods and what motivates them. As part of the project, I have organised the conferences Pop Nostalgia: The Uses of the Past in Popular Culture (together with Dion Georgiou) and Nostalgia—Historicising the Longing for the Past. I have also co-operated with Katrin Schreiter from King’s College London on “Things We Keep“, an exhibition of objects German immigrants to London have brought with them. It was on show at the GHIL from 10 September to 13 November. I’m a member of the International Media and Nostalgia Network (IMNN).
I am a historian interested in the history of Western Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth century, urban history, the history of popular culture and the history and theory of history. Before joining the GHIL in August 2014, I was a member of the DFG/AHRC research project “West End and Friedrichstraße. Popular Musical Theatre in London and Berlin, 1890-1930”, hosted by Freie Universität Berlin and Goldsmiths, University of London. My thesis was published in 2014 as Inszenierte Moderne. Populäres Theater in Berlin und London, 1880-1930 (Munich: De Gruyter Oldenbourg). I have co-edited two books, Die Stadt der tausend Freuden. Vergnügungskultur um 1900 (with Anna Littmann and Johanna Niedbalski, Bielefeld: transcript 2011) and Popular Musical Theatre in London and Berlin, 1890-1939 (with Len Platt and David Linton, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2014). Some of my essays can be accessed online for free on academia.edu. Though now mainly working on the 1970s and 1980s, I’m still interested in the history of popular culture and theatre. Together with Angelika Hoelger I’m writing a textbook on the history of popular in Europe since the eighteenth century for Routledge. I’m also teaching a course on the history of West Germany at University College London.