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

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

current book project

Heartbroken: Democratic Emotions, Political Subjectivity, & the Unravelling of the Weimar Republic, 1918–1933. // My 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 work 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.

The Stanford PhD dissertation on which this book project is based was awarded the Elizabeth Spilman Rosenfield Prize (2019) for Outstanding Dissertation Writing by the Department of History, Stanford University.

journal articles & review essays

"Weimar Historiography & the Paradox of Recovery.” (Historiographical review essay commissioned by Central European History; in preparation.)

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.