Magnus Zeller,  The Orator (Der Volksredner) , 1920. LACMA.

Magnus Zeller, The Orator (Der Volksredner), 1920. LACMA.

dissertation / book project

Heartbroken: Democratic Emotions, Political Subjectivity, & the Unravelling of the Weimar Republic, 1918–1933. // My dissertation & current book project tackles a longstanding & still-unresolved set of questions about what, if anything, emotions have to do with democracy. By examining for the first time the ways in which German intellectuals, activists, & elected officials grappled with the nature of democratic emotions after the First World War, the project tells a new story about the character & collapse of the Weimar Republic, Germany's first democratic experiment. My research unearths & restores to life a startling range of efforts by Germans to imagine & cultivate what they understood to be specifically democratic emotions (from love to desire to hatred)—before narrating an equally haunting tale about how this passionate political imagination eroded, & with it Weimar democracy itself. Putting into conversation the fields of German & European history, the historiography of democracy, as well as political philosophy & democratic theory, my research traces the shifting visions of human nature which did so much to shape Weimar democracy, & suggests that we ignore political emotions at our great peril.

See a brief Q&A about my current project here.

journal articles

"Democratic Emotions, Political Violence, & the Law in the Early Weimar Republic." Submitted, under review.

future projects

I have also begun work on a second book project about how pioneering efforts to write the first queer histories in western Europe and the United States between 1870–1940 transformed (1) the struggle for gay & lesbian rights; (2) the invention of national traditions; and (3) the professionalization of modern history as a discipline. Another project traces the intellectual history of good faith as a constitutive feature of public reasoning in modern democracies.