Post-doctoral Research Fellow "Modern European History (Germany & Austria)" (University College London)

Post-doctoral Research Fellow "Modern European History (Germany & Austria)" (University College London)

United Kingdom
Dr Stefanie Rauch

The Post-doctoral Research Fellow (PDRF) will work closely with Professor Mary Fulbrook, Professor Stephanie Bird, and Dr Stefanie Rauch on an AHRC-funded project, Compromised Identities? Reflections on Perpetration and Complicity under Nazism, whilst pursuing his/her own research on a topic related to selected trials and Nazi ‘crime scenes’ and their refraction in different media. The PDRF will also participate in and pro-actively contribute to the activities of the Institute of Advanced Studies.

While allowing some flexibility for the PDRF to develop his or her own research profile and interests, the PDRF will analyse issues arising from or related to questions of justice, trials and Nazi crimes in the context of prevalent social, political and cultural discourses and wider historical situations. The research will shed new light on the contingent, situational and changing understandings of complicity, perpetration, responsibility, and justice in the three Third Reich successor states that occupied distinctively different positions after the war. This research requires relevant historical expertise and linguistic competence in German.

The post is funded for 14.5 months in the first instance.

Person specification:

-PhD in a relevant subject area (NB the thesis must have been successfully passed and award of PhD confirmed by no later than 31 January 2020)
-Historical expertise in 20th-century history with particular reference to Europe during the Nazi era
-Theoretical expertise and knowledge relevant to analysis of material concerning perpetrators and processes of historical discrimination
-Proven ability to analyse and write about complex historical material
-Effective written and verbal communication skills
-Fluency(written and spoken) in German and English
-Experience of working in a research environment
-Ability and willingness to travel within the UK and overseas for archival research

Main Duties:
- To take a lead in developing and running the activities of the UCL Centre for Collective Violence and Genocide Studies, based in the IAS.
-To undertake his/her own research into an aspect of perpetrators and historical discrimination, with a defined research plan.
-To write journal articles and/or complete a monograph on his/her own research.
-To participate in team meetings.
-To prepare and present the findings of research activities to colleagues and other audiences as relevant.
-To assist in the planning, organisation and implementation of seminars,
workshops, conferences, public events and other relevant impact activities related to the above projects.

Applicants should apply online through

Please upload the following materials:
(1) a document which includes a covering letter demonstrating how you meet the criteria for the post, a CV with list of publications, the names of three referees, and a research proposal of no more than 750 words outlining your plan for research and proposed outputs falling within the scope of the PDRF part of the project, indicating how this fits within the wider project (see Appendix); and
(2) one sole-authored article or chapter-length sample of your academic work.

Please note that applications will not be considered unless all of the above are included.

References will only be required for shortlisted candidates. Please ensure that your referees are aware and will be able to provide references at short notice in February if requested.

If you have any queries regarding the vacancy or the application process, please contact Catherine Stokes -

Latest time for the submission of applications: 10 February 2020, 23:59.

Interview Date: 28 Feb 2020.

Start date: The person appointed will start on 1 April 2020, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Appendix: AHRC Project Summary
Project: Compromised Identities? Reflections on Perpetration and Complicity under Nazism

Under Nazi rule, millions were involved in the machinery of persecution. In 2015, the UK's Holocaust Commission noted that, while the Holocaust could only be carried out 'with widespread complicity', there is 'a great deal of education on perpetrators' roles, but not enough on the role of society and bystanders' ('Britain's Promise to Remember', p.49). This statement reflects both the character of public education and the current state of research. Yet the category of 'bystanders' is too broad to encapsulate the ambiguities of a wide range of behaviours variously motivated by conviction and careerism, conformity and passivity, partial enthusiasm or self-distancing, as well as
capitulation rooted in fear and powerlessness.

This interdisciplinary project analyses how people became entangled in Nazi systems and practices, and how they responded to what later, under different circumstances, came to be seen as a 'compromised' past. Exploring perpetration and complicity in state-sponsored violence and questions of justice in its aftermath, it focuses on representations by and of people 'on the perpetrator side' from the Third Reich to the present. We explore patterns of involvement on the side of the perpetrators in a multifacetted manner, contextualising and interpreting the 'voices' of the perpetrators and
raising awareness of the complexities of representation.

The project examines ways in which people who were involved in or witnesses to Nazi crimes talked about, silenced, or variously negotiated accounts of their roles, often constructing retrospective accounts of having been merely an 'innocent bystander'. It analyses how individual identities come under pressure when circumstances and value systems change, and how self-representations develop over time. It explores how public discourses - political, cultural, journalistic and judicial - address state-sponsored violence and interrogate or contribute to exculpatory strategies at a personal level. Public images often helped to demonise 'excess perpetrators' as unlike 'ordinary people', while others suggested the significance of 'just following orders'; private self-understandings and exculpatory strategies were affected by such images.

We develop a concept of 'compromised identities' in relation to collective violence and its legacies. Four interrelated research strands examine the interplay between wider social, cultural and political contexts, and people's self-representations over time. The first analyses the emergence of a 'bystander society', as people accommodated themselves to changing roles under the Nazi regime. Using ego-documents (letters, diaries, memoirs) it explores behavioural shifts and social relations while people often retained an inner distance from new demands. A second strand analyses oral history interviews from the 1960s to the present to explore ways in which changing public images affected private discourses and self-representations among those who had been complicit in sustaining the system and assisting the crimes of the Third Reich. The third strand analyses the significance of post-war political and legal systems, and the character of professionals and others involved in trials, in shaping constructions of 'perpetrators'; and it explores how specific crime complexes are refracted through the media and local settings in selected cases. The fourth strand explores intriguing twists in the ways in which questions of agency, identity and morality have been engaged with in works of creative literature and films that specifically thematise issues of justice. These strands are brought together in a wider comparative context. The project will have an impact on academic debates on perpetration and complicity. A website, public events and a mobile exhibition will engage wider audiences.

The UCL Institute of Advanced Studies (UCLIAS)
The UCL Institute of Advanced Studies provides an environment organized by issues of global significance and themes of cross disciplinary interest, and houses existing and new Research Centres and postgraduate taught programmes. See: The main goals of the UCLIAS are: to enhance opportunities for international scholars in the humanities and social sciences to develop research links with UCL; to support Early Career Researchers in the Humanities and Social Sciences; and to promote multi-disciplinary research collaborations across and beyond UCL.

The UCL-IAS provides a hub for senior scholars, early career researchers and graduate students, offering space and facilities to distinguished Visiting Senior Fellows on research leave, as well as to Early Career Researchers and Junior Research Fellows who are based for a limited time at UCL. UCLIAS showcases multidisciplinary academic research in the humanities and social sciences, and facilitates academic events, including lectures, seminars, workshops, conferences and a series of public engagement events. The Director of the Institute is Professor Tamar Garb, Durning Lawrence Professor of History of Art, and Fellow of the British Academy.

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