Interview with Professor Mary Fulbrook

SEN Journal: Online Exclusives would like to present the following interview with Professor Mary Fulbrook, a Professor of German History and Vice-Dean (Interdisciplinarity), Faculty of Arts and Humanities at University College London. She was one of the keynote speakers at the 2012 ASEN Conference.

Vesselina Ratchev and Karen Seegobin interviewed Professor Fulbrook at the 2012 ASEN Conference, held at the London School of Economics and Political Science on 27-29 March, 2012.

1. What are the main themes you’ve been working on this year?

I’ve been dealing with the issue of collective memory, but am trying to replace it with communities of experience, connection and identification.

2. What is the best book on nationalism that you’ve read in the past year?

I’ve been reading too many books, I can’t just pick one [on being pressed what stood out]. There is an author I knew of but suddenly read a lot of his books. It’s Vladimir Nabakov.

3. What new directions are nationalism studies taking?

My interest in nationalism is related to Holocaust and German nationalism and nation-state construction in that domain. Within this field, I think that we’re looking into much wider and more interesting questions. In the last few years there has been a shift from what were getting to be quite sterile debates about intention and functionalism and that kind of thing, to looking at perpetrators and  victims and the role of ordinary Germans. I think Holocaust research is developing massively in various directions.

4. What was the key piece of news from the last year that you found the most interesting?

I guess what’s interested me the most are debates over Putin, which is entirely unrelated to my scholarship, but is what I’ve found most interesting in the news.

SEN Journal: Online Exclusives would like to thank Professor Fulbrook for taking the time to be interviewed. For more on the topics discussed, please see the following SEN articles, which can be found in the print edition: 

Conforti, Y. (2012), Zionist Awareness of the Jewish Past: Inventing Tradition or Renewing the Ethnic Past?. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 12: 155–171.

Cooter, A. (2011), Neo-Nazi Nationalism. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 11: 365–383.

Tjaden, J. D. (2012), The (Re-)Construction of ‘National Identity’ through Selective Memory and Mass Ritual Discourse: The Chilean Centenary, 1910. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 12: 45–63.

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