Research

In A History of Nothing (Stanford University Press, 2020) I explore what people really mean when they say "nothing happened," or "nothing is the way it was," or "nothing has changed" -- by looking at how the word "Nothing" is used to express historical consciousness.  Topics include photographs and postcards depicting ruins in postwar Europe; blank books and forms; UrbEx photography; historical landmark signs; When Prophecies Fail; histories of injustices and more.  For an introduction, see my discussion with Peter Fritzsche at the Seminary Coop Bookstore.

Editor, The Cultural History of Memory, vol. 5: The Nineteenth Century (Bloomsbury Publishers, 2020).  I authored an introduction that offers an overview of memory in its multitudinous aspects of nineteenth-century cultures, emphasizing the role of new visual technology, particularly photography, in capturing the presence of the past.

Stuff I'm always thinking about: theory and practice of historical representation, including historical consciousness and historical subjectivity; museums and historical preservation; historical narrative; photographs as historical objects; 19th- and 20th-century German and modern European intellectual and cultural history.