Wulf Kansteiner Wulf Kansteiner

Associate Professor
PhD, 1997, UCLA
Modern Germany, Holocaust Studies, media history, historiography
Office: LT 715
Phone: (607) 777-2503
E-mail: wkanstei@binghamton.edu

***Professor Wulf Kansteiner is on leave 2014-2015***


I am a cultural-intellectual historian of 20th century Europe and focus on the representation and collective memory of World War II and the Holocaust in Germany. I am interested in mass media representations of the events, especially on television, as well as their impact on postwar historiography and philosophy. In addition, I pursue projects concerned with the theory and practice of historiography, historical culture, media history, and comparative memory studies. I teach modern German history, the history of the Holocaust, historiography, and memory studies.

I am co-editor of the journal Memory Studies: http://mss.sagepub.com/

Recent or current undergraduate courses:

  • The Long German Century
  • The Holocaust
Recent or current graduate courses:
  • Historiography
  • Cultures of Catastrophe*

*Courses with an asterisk are also open to undergraduates.



  • In Pursuit of German Memory: History, Television, and Politics after Auschwitz (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2006), 440pp.
  • The Politics of Memory in Postwar Europe , co-edited with Claudio Fogu and Ned Lebow, (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006), 366 pp.
  • Historical Representation and Historical Truth (History & Theory Theme Issue 47), co-edited with Christoph Classen (Oxford: Blackwell, 2009), 137 pp.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • "Macht, Authentizität und die Tyrannei der Normalität: Aufstieg und Abschied der NS-Zeitzeugen in den Geschichtsdokumentationen des ZDF," in: Norbert Frei/Martin Sabrow (eds.), Die Geburt des Zeitzeugen nach 1945 (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2012).
  • "Migrants, Foreigners, Jews and the Cultural Structure of Prejudice: The Nation as Performative Event in US and German TV Crime Dramas," in: Stefan Berger, Chris Lorenz, Billie Melman (eds.), Popular National Histories: 1800 to the Present (London: Routledge, 2012), 221-248.
  • "What is the Opposite of Genocide?: Philosemitic Television in Germany, 1963-1995," in: Jonathan Karp/Adam Sutcliffe (eds.), Philosemitism in History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 289-313.
  • "Film und Fernsehen," in: Christian Gudehus, Anna Eichenberg, Harald Welzer (eds.), Erinnerung und Gedächtnis: Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2010), 217-226.
  • "Success, Truth, and Modernism in Holocaust Historiography: Reading Saul Friedländer 35 Years after the Publication of Metahistory," History & Theory 47/2 (2009), 25-53.
  • "Wonderful, Horrible Lies: Riefenstahl Memory and Riefenstahl History in Germany ," in: Neil Pages, Ingeborg Majer O'Sickey, Mary Rhiel (eds.), Riefenstahl Screened: An Anthology of New Criticism (New York : Continuum, 2008), 99-130.
  • (with Harald Weilnböck)"Against the Concept of Cultural Trauma or How I Learned to Love the Suffering of Others without the Help of Psychotherapy, " in: Astrid Erll, Ansgar Nünning (eds.), Cultural Memory Studies: An International and Interdisciplinary Handbook ( New York : de Gruyter, 2008), 229-240.
  • "Sold Globally – Remembered Locally: Holocaust Cinema and the Construction of Collective Identities in Europe, Israel, and the US," in: Stefan Berger (ed.), Narrating the Nation (New York : Berghahn, 2008), 153-180.
  • "Alternate Worlds and Invented Communities: History and Historical Consciousness in the Age of Interactive Media" in: Keith Jenkins, Sue Morgan, Alun Munslow (eds.) Manifestos for History (Oxford : Routledge, 2007), 131-148.
    • German version: "Virtuelle Welten und erfundene Gemeinschaften: Geschichte und Geschichtsbewusstsein im Zeitalter interaktiver Medien," in: Erik meyer (ed.), Erinnerungskulturen 2.0: Kommemorative Kommunikation in digitalen Medien (Frankfurt: Campus, 2009).
  • "Losing the War – Winning the Memory Battle: The Legacy of Nazism, World War II, and the Holocaust in the Federal Republic of Germany ," in: Fogu/Kansteiner/Lebow (eds.), The Politics of Memory in Postwar Europe Durham : Duke UP, 2006, 102-146.
  • (with Claudio Fogu) "Conclusion: The Politics of Memory and the Poetics of History," In Fogu/Kansteiner/Lebow (eds.), The Politics of Memory in Postwar Europe (Durham: Duke UP, 2006), 284-310.
  • "Television Archives and the Making of Collective Memory: Nazism and World War II in three Television Blockbusters of German Public Television," in: Francis X. Blouin /William Rosenberg (eds.), Archives, Documentation, and the Institutions of Social Memory (Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 2005), 368-378.
    • German version: "Populäres Geschichtsfernsehen vor Holocaust : Die Darstellung des Nationalsozialismus und des Zweiten Weltkrieges in drei Erfolgssendungen des ZDF," Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung 30/4 (2005), 53-73 
  • "Testing the Limits of Trauma: The Long-Term Psychological Effects of the Holocaust on Individuals and Collectives," History of the Human Sciences 17 (2004), 97-123."Genealogy of a Category Mistake: A Critical Intellectual History of the Cultural Trauma Metaphor," Rethinking History 8 (2004), 193-221.
    • German version of the two previous texts: "Menschheitstrauma, Holocausttrauma, kulturelles Trauma: Eine kritische Genealogie der philosophischen, psychologischen und kulturwissenschaftlichen Traumaforschung seit 1945," in: Friedrich Jaeger/Jörn Rüsen (eds.), Handbuch der Kulturwissenschaften : Band 3: Themen und Tendenzen (Stuttgart : Metzler, 2004), 109-138.
    • Spanish translation in Francisco Ortega (ed.), Trauma, cultura e historia: Reflexiones interdisciplinares para el Nuevo milenio (Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2011), 521-555.
  • "Nazis, Viewers, and Statistics: Television History, Television Audience Research and Collective Memory in West Germany," Journal of Contemporary History 39 (2004), 575-598.
  • "The Radicalization of German Memory in the Age of its Commercial Reproduction: Hitler and the Third Reich in the TV Documentaries of Guido Knopp," in: Norbert Finzsch/Ursula Lehmkuhl (eds.), Atlantic Communications: The Media in American and German History from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century (Providence: Berg, 2004), 335-372.
    • German version: "Die Radikalisierung des deutschen Gedächnisses im Zeitalter seiner kommerziellen Reproduktion: Hitler und das Dritte Reich in den Fernsehdokumentationen von Guido Knopp," in: Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 51 (2003), 626-648.
  • "Entertaining Catastrophe: The Reinvention of the Holocaust in the Television of the Federal Republic of Germany, New German Critique 90 (Fall 2003), 135-162.
    • German version: "Ein Völkermord ohne Täter: Die Darstellung der 'Endlösung' in den Sendungen des Zweiten Deutschen Fernsehens," Tel Aviver Jahrbuch für deutsche Geschichte 2003, 229-262.
  • "Finding Meaning in Memory: A Methodological Critique of Collective Memory Studies," History and Theory 41 (2002), 179-197.
    • German version: "Postmoderner Historismus: Das kollektive Gedächtnis als neues Paradigma der Kulturwissenschaften," in: Friedrich Jaeger/Jürgen Straub (eds.), Handbuch der Kulturwissenschaften: Band 2: Paradigmen und Disziplinen, (Stuttgart: Metzler, March 2004), 119-139.
    • Spanish translation: "Dar sentido a la memoria: una critica metodologica a los estudios la memoria colectiva," Pasajes: Revista de Pensamiento Contemporaneo 24 (2007), 31-43.
    • Excerpts reprinted in Jeffrey Olick, Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi, Daniel Levy (eds.), The Collective Memory Reader (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 300-303.
  • "The Rise and Fall of Metaphor: German Historians and the Uniqueness of the Holocaust," in: Alan S. Rosenbaum (ed.), Is the Holocaust Unique? Perspectives on Comparative Genocide, 2nd edition (Boulder: Westview, 2001), 221-244.
  • "Mandarins in the Public Sphere: Vergangenheitsbewältigung and the Paradigm of Social History in the Federal Republic of Germany," German Politics and Society 17/3 (1999), 84-120.
  • "Between Politics and Memory: The Historikerstreit and the West German Historical Culture of the 1980s," in: Richard J. Golsan (ed.), Fascism's Return: Scandal, Revision, Ideology (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998), 86-129.
  • "From Exception to Exemplum: The New Approach to Nazism and the 'Final Solution', History and Theory 33 (1994), 145-171.
  • Excerpts reprinted in Keith Jenkins (ed.) The Postmodern History Reader (London: Routledge, 1997), 413-417.
  • "Emplotment and Historicization: Recent German Histories about National Socialism and Modernity," Storia della Storiografia 25 (1993), 65-87."Hayden White's Critique of the Writing of History," History and Theory 32 (1993), 273-295.
    • Reprinted in Contemporary Literary Criticism 148 (2002), 263-276 and in Robert Burns (ed.), Historiography: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies , vol. 4 (Oxford : Routledge, 2006), 379-403.

Recent and Representative Reviews and Comments

  • "Christian Wiese, Paul Betts (eds.), Years of Persecution, Years of Extermination: Saul Friedländer and The Future of Holocaust Studies," Beiträge zur Geschichte des Nationalsozialismus 26 (2011).
  • "Zoe Vania Waxman, Writing the Holocaust: Identity, Testimony, Representation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)" American Historical Review 114, 149-150.
  • "Dan Stone, History, Memory and Mass Atrocity: Essays on the Holocaust and Genocide (London: Valentine Mitchell, 2006)," Central European History 41, 715-717.
  • "Zwischen Aufklärung und Geschichtspornographie: Vergangenheitsbewältigung im deutschen Fernsehen," contribution to the Goethe-Institut online-dossier on Cultural Memory, also in French and English, 2,500 words: http://www.goethe.de/ges/pok/dos/dos/ern/kug/fuf/de2917685.htm
  • "Of Kitsch, Enlightenment, and Gender Anxiety: Exploring the Cultural Memories of Collective Memory Studies," (review of Peter Seixas (ed.), Theorizing Historical Consciousness ) History and Theory 46 (2007), 82-91.
  • "Cultures of Catastrophe: Understanding the History and Memory of Mass Death in 20th Century Europe," (Review of Omer Bartov, Mirrors of Destruction: War, Genocide, and Modern Identity) German Politics and Society 19 (2002), 88-96.
  • "Siobhan Kattago, Ambiguous Memory: The Nazi Past and German National Identity, (Westport: Praeger, 2001)," German Studies Review 25/2 (2002), 408-409.
  • "The Avant-Garde in the Trenches of Vergangenheitsbewältigung: German History in the Experimental Films of the New German Cinema," (Review of Eike Wenzel, Gedächnisraum Film: Die Arbeit an der deutschen Geschichte in Filmen seit den sechziger Jahren, Stuttgart: Metzler, 2000)," H-German October 2001: http://www.h-net.msu.edu/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=267771002563763.
  • "Werner Bergmann, Antisemitismus in öffentlichen Konflikten: Kollektives Lernen in der politischen Kultur der Bundesrepublik 1949-1989 (Frankfurt: Campus, 1997)," Shofar 19/2 (2001), 163-166.
  • "Mad History Disease Contained? Postmodern Excess Management Advice from the UK," (Review of Richard Evans, In Defence of History) History and Theory 39 (2000), 218-229.
  • "Elisabeth Domansky/Harald Welzer (eds.), Eine offene Geschichte: Zur kommunikativen Tradierung der nationalsozialistischen Vergangenheit (Tübingen: diskord, 1999)," German Studies Review 23/3 (2000), 632-633.
  • "Searching for an Audience: The Historical Profession in the Media Age: A Comment on Arthur Marwick and Hayden White," Journal of Contemporary History 31 (1996), 211-215. Reprinted in Contemporary Literary Criticism 148 (2002), 276-278.
  • "The Holocaust, the Historian, and the Critic," (Review of Dominick LaCapra, Representing the Holocaust: History, Theory, Trauma) Radical History Review 62 (1995), 232-238.
In Pursuit of German Memory: History, Television, and Politics after Auschwitz The Politics of Memory in Postwar EuropeMemory Studies


















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Last Updated: 12/4/14