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Masters or Victims of the Chemical World?: The Question of Complicity in a Chemically-Minded Third Reich
January 29, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
This event is organized by the NC German Studies Seminar and Workshop Series. For the most updated details and information on joining the event, please visit the NCGSWS website.
Konrad H. Jarausch Essay Prize Winner for Advanced Graduate Students in 2020
Speaker: PETER B. THOMPSON I University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Department of History
The presentation will examine the ways in which the gas mask served as a technological site of discipline, conformity, and complicity in the envisioned air and gas protection community of the Third Reich. Throughout the 1930s, the Nazis used the gas mask as a material tool in the creation of a compliant and chemically-minded German subject. With masks donned, German civilians now appeared as technologically augmented soldiers in the Nazis’ envisioned struggle for national survival. Indeed, in the eyes of the Nazis, the mask created a physically homogenized society that could survive, if not thrive, in a modernity defined by its toxic environment. Exploring the role of gas mask technology in the creation of a national community predicated on violent exclusions and bodily discipline, this presentation will argue that the average German civilian under the gas mask maintained a complex subjectivity that regularly shifted between perpetrator, bystander, and victim of the Nazi regime.
PETER B. THOMPSON is a PhD graduate in the History Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His broad research interests lie at the intersection of German cultural history and the history of science and technology at the turn of the twentieth century.
Welcome: LISA LINDSAY (Chair, UNC-Chapel Hill, Department of History)
Introduction of the Prize Winner: JAMES CHAPPEL I Duke University, Department of History
Moderation: KAREN HAGEMANN I UNC-Chapel Hill, Department of History
Co-Conveners: Duke University, Department of History, and UNC-Chapel Hill History, Department of History, and Center for European Studies