Ongoing Projects

German Dams, Polish Floods, National Boycotts: National Identity & Nationalist Mobilization in German-Polish Borderland of Poznania, 1886-1914

Postcard showing a palace with red/white/black garland as frame; text reads "Ein deutscher Gruss aus der Ostmark"
From my personal collection of Poznań/Posen postcards

This book project explores the formation of national identity, nationalist mobilization, and the experience of national conflict in the German-Polish borderland of Poznania in the decades before the First World War, with a particular focus on the city of Poznań/Posen. I analyze multiple sites where German and Polish nationalists sought to construct national identities and to mobilize nationalist agitation and where they contested claims to Poznania, including: print culture, visual culture, the marketplace, the schools, the churches, the home, and the political sphere. I also examine the roles of gender, religion, and class in the national conflict. The project situates itself in the broader literatures about national indifference and ambivalence, the Prussian East as a colonial space, and transnationalism. My research for this project has been supported by the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, the German Historical Institute in Warsaw, the Institute of European History in Mainz, Loyola Marymount University, and the University of Southern Mississippi.

Cathedral & City: Max Thalmann, Modern Art, and Weimar Germany

Black and white cityscape, lights in the windows of skyscrapers and on trians
Max Thalmann, “Lights in the Night,” from his America woodcuts. Courtesy of the Department of Archives & Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University

Max Thalmann was born in Rudolstadt in 1890 and trained as a bookbinder and book cover artist before continuing his studies at the Weimar Academy of Fine Arts and the Bauhaus. In the early 1920s, he produced four portfolios of woodcuts: “Passion,” “Cathedral,” and two series based on his 1923-1924 travels in the United States (“Rhythms of the New World” and “America in Woodcut”). While he is most famous for his woodcuts, he also produced wall frescos, worked in charcoal and pastel, and did lithographies and etchings. His subjects included nudes, landscapes and cityscapes, religious themes, and the “exotic Other.” Thalmann’s career as an artist ended around 1927/1927, when he returned to working book design, producing over 150 book covers for the Eugen Diderichs Verlag in Jena before his death in 1944. This project takes advantage of the Max Thalmann Collection in the Department of Archives & Special Collections in the William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University. It explores Thalmann’s significance in the contexts of both Modernism in art and debates about Weimar “modernity” and how his art responded to the political, social, and cultural upheavals of the Weimar Republic in Germany. My research for this project has been supported by the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at Loyola Marymount University.


“Posen or Poznań, Rathaus or Ratusz: Nationalizing the Cityscape in the German-Polish Borderland,” in Transnationalism and the German City, edited by Jeffry M. Diefendorf and Janet Ward, 37–54 (New York: Palgrave, 2014).

“In and Out of the Ostmark: Migration, Settlement, and Demographics in Poznania, 1871–1918,” Itinerario: International Journal on the History of European Expansion and Global Interaction, 37/Special Issue 01 “Globalizing Germany: Exchange Networks in an Age of Nation-Empires,” edited by Matt Fitzpatrick and Peter Monteath (April 2013): 73–86.

“From ‘verloren gehen’ to ‘verloren bleiben’: Changing German Discourses on Nation and Nationalism in Poznania,” in The Germans and the East, edited by Charles Ingrao (Purdue University Press, 2008), 226–240.

“‘Einen kräftigen Dam gegen die polnische Hochflut zu errichten’: Natur und Kultur im deutschen Ostmarkendiskurs, 1886–1914 [‘To Build a Powerful Dam Against the Flood’: Nature and Culture in German Discourses About the Eastern Marches, 1886–1914],” in Die nationale Identität der Deutschen: Philosophische Imaginationen und historische Realität deutscher Mentalität, edited by Wolfgang Bialas (Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang Verlag, 2002), 99–114.

“On the Borders of the Nation: Jews and the German-Polish National Conflict in Poznania, 1886–1914,” Nationalities Papers 29/3 (2001): 459–475.

“‘Durch Liebe stark, deutsch bis ins Mark’: Weiblicher Kulturimperialismus und der Deutsche Frauenverein für die Ostmarken [‘Strong Through Love, German Into the Mark’: Female Cultural Imperialism and the German Women’s Association for the Eastern Marches],” in Nation, Politik und Geschlecht. Frauenbewegungen und Nationalismus in der Moderne, edited by Ute Planert (Frankfurt: Campus-Verlag, 2000), 147–164.


“The Angry Age,” LMU Magazine, 11 March 2020,

“Hate’s Political Comeback,” Off Press—the Podcast of LMU Magazine, 17 September 2019

“Fascism Is On the Minds of Book Buyers – and Publishers Are Taking Notice,” Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2019,

“Tracking Rage’s Path through U.S. Politics,” LMU Magazine, 5 December 2016,

“Europe’s Lessons on History,” LMU Magazine, 21 November 2016,

Featured image: interview with the LMU Magazine, January 2016 (photo credit: Jon Rou)