Rebecca Weir

MA History

Rebecca WeirThere was never any question that Rebecca Weir would study history. “Even in high school, I loved history. It just made sense.” And when it came time to choose a school, it was her family history that sealed the deal. “My dad went to Waterloo and took a double major in Geography and History. He always speaks so fondly of his time here, it was sort of an easy choice for me,” she says. “We’ve even had some of the same professors!”

Having completed her undergraduate degree in Waterloo’s Arts and Business Co-op , Rebecca enrolled in the History MA program. Her focus is Nazi Germany, in particular the question of war guilt and how Germany reconciles their past. “My research project is on German films and how German filmmakers portray the Nazi past. I almost always look at films when analyzing different moments or periods. The general public may not read many academic history books but they watch movies. What is their interpretation of the past?”

Rebecca has finished the coursework component of her MA and will be continuing the program as a part-time student in the fall. She explains that she has 20 films to watch to complete her Major Research Project and is now finished with the first set of films and the contextual readings that accompany those films. “Writing is the hardest part. I just had to take the plunge and start writing.”

Rebecca describes the close relationship between professors and students as one of the most important features of the department. Her supervisor is Dr. Gary Bruce whose research focuses largely on East Germany and the Stasi. “I had him every year in my undergrad and he is the best professor I’ve ever had. I’ve known him now for over 7 years and he was a big part of the reason I returned to Waterloo for MA; I wanted to come back and work with him.”

Enhancing her studies, Rebecca recently had the opportunity to travel to Europe with 11 other students, visiting sites such as Vimy Ridge and Juno Beach. The trip was part of an annual battlefield tour organized by the Canadian Battlefield Foundation. “It was an amazing experience. There were students from all over Canada being guided and taught by military and war memory professors. It was a trip like no other.” 

July 2013 Megan Scarborough

University of Waterloo

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