The Waterloo Centre for German Studies is pleased to announce the winner of its 2018 Book Prize. Disruptive Power: Catholic Women, Miracles, and Politics in Modern Germany, 1918-1965, written by Michael O'Sullivan and published by the University of Toronto Press, was selected from a shortlist of eight excellent academic works on German studies published in 2018.
The book tells the story of Therese Neumann, a Bavarian mystic who developed a cult following that lasted through the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, and the early years of the Federal Republic. By examining the revival of belief in Catholic miracles and its role in influencing many thinkers, politicians, and other actors, O'Sullivan is able to paint a nuanced and many-sided portrait of the local, religious, social and political history of 20th-century Germany.
Jury members were impressed by O'Sullivan's ambitious analysis and attention to a variety of issues that combine to offer a refined look at the complexity of German regional and religious identities. As one juror commented, "this is an important book - it makes a person think again about the larger narratives that have so long shaped the story of German culture and history." For another juror, the book's ability to "be seen as women’s history, or as a history of political and identity struggles of rural Germany in times of upheaval" makes it a valuable contribution to German studies. A "fascinating and engrossing read," Disruptive Power asks important questions about the relationship between religion and mainstream culture.
Michael O'Sullivan teaches a broad range of courses on European history at Marist College in New York. He earned his BA from Canisius College, and his MA and PhD from the University of North Carolina.
The WCGS Book Prize was established to raise awareness, within academia and the broader public, of the engaging and dynamic knowledge being produced by newer German Studies scholars. An international jury chaired by James M. Skidmore, Director of the Waterloo Centre of German Studies, made the selection. Other members of the jury were Ann Marie Rasmussen (University of Waterloo), Carrie Smith (University of Alberta), Karina Urbach (Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton), and Joachim Whaley (University of Cambridge). In addition to O'Sullivan's book, seven other studies were named to the WCGS Book Prize shortlist (see below), a testament to the quality of scholarship in German studies.
WCGS is now accepting nominations for first books published in 2019. Please review our eligibility and nomination process here: WCGS Book Prize 2019 Nominations.
Check out the books that made the WCGS 2018 Book Prize shortlist:
Click on a book cover above or a title below to learn more about the finalists.
- Moritz von Brescius. German Science in the Age of Empire: Enterprise, Opportunity and the Schlagintweit Brothers. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
- Brendan Karch. Nation and Loyalty in a German-Polish Borderland: Upper Silesia, 1848–1960. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
- Molly Jean Loberg. The Struggle for the Streets of Berlin: Politics, Consumption, and Urban Space, 1914-1945. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
- Jennifer A. Miller. Turkish Guest Workers in Germany: Hidden Lives and Contested Borders, 1960s to 1980s. University of Toronto Press, 2018.
- Diana M. Natermann. Pursuing Whiteness in the Colonies. Private Memories from the Congo Free State and German East Africa (1884-1914). Waxmann, 2018.
- Michael E. O’Sullivan. Disruptive Power: Catholic Women, Miracles, and Politics in Modern Germany, 1918-1965. University of Toronto Press, 2018. - Winner of the WCGS Book Prize for 2018!
- Robin Schuldenfrei. Luxury and Modernism: Architecture and the Object in Germany 1900-1933. Princeton University Press, 2018.
- Sarah Thomsen Vierra. Turkish Germans in the Federal Republic of Germany. Immigration, Space, and Belonging, 1961–1990. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
WCGS Book Prize 2017 - Winner Alice Weinreb
The winner of the inaugural WCGS Book Prize has been announced. Alice Weinreb of Loyola University is the winner for her book Modern Hungers: Food and Power in Twentieth-Century Germany, published by Oxford University Press.
Prof. Weinreb examines how hunger has been a central motivating force in German politics throughout the 20th century. By focusing on hunger’s role in German society, Prof. Weinreb demonstrates “the fluid relationship between state power and food provisioning.” If governments control the food supply, they can also control the populaces they govern, and Prof. Weinreb uses Germany as a case study to illustrate this important point.
Jury members singled out Prof. Weinreb’s book for its crisp writing, its wealth of detail, and the wide variety of sources consulted. The book is “a page-turner, with fascinating facts running counter to modern stories about the past on every page.” Exploring the topic from World War I to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, “this book uncovers the intricacies of the relationship between food and power, showing food and hunger as instruments of power.” The jury concluded that this book will likely become one of the standard works on postwar German history.
The jury was chaired by James M. Skidmore, Director of the Waterloo Centre of German Studies, who notes that the prize was established “to raise awareness, within academia and the broader public, of the engaging and dynamic knowledge being produced by newer German Studies scholars.” He was joined by jurors Karin Bauer (McGill University), Ann Marie Rasmussen (University of Waterloo), Ritchie Robertson (University of Oxford), and Karina Urbach (Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton).
On Thursday, March 28, 2019 Professor Weinreb gave a talk on her book at Conrad Grebel Chapel in Waterloo.
Here are some pictures of the lecture and professor Weinreb receiveing her award:
WCGS Book Prize 2017 Shortlist
- Author: Katherine Stone (Assistant Professor in German Studies at the University of Warwick)
- About the book: "Investigates why the question of women's complicity in National Socialism has struggled to capture the collective imagination, examining how a variety of female authors have conceptualized the role of women in the Third Reich."
Publisher information: Boydell and Brewer
- Author: Lisa M. Todd (Associate Professor of History at the University of New Brunswick)
- About the book:"Provides the first comprehensive study of sexual lives in Germany and German-occupied Europe during the First World War."
- Publisher Information: Palgrave Macmillan
- Author: Alice Weinreb (Associate Professor of History, Loyola University, Chicago)
- About the book: "The first book to show how hunger has been central to German politics throughout the twentieth century."
- Publisher Information: Oxford University Press
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- Author: Erica Wickerson (Research Fellow, St. John's College, Cambridge)
- About the book: "An original view on how an analysis of time in literature can open our eyes to how we express human experience."
- Publisher Information: Oxford University Press
- Author: Jonathan O. Wipplinger (Assistant Professor of German, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)
- About the book: "Examines jazz music and the jazz artists who shaped Germany’s exposure to this African American art form from 1919 through 1933."
Publisher Information: University of Michigan Press
- Author: Jenny Wüstenberg (DAAD Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science, York University, Toronto)
- About the book: "Blending history and social science, this book tracks the role of social movements in shaping German public memory and values since 1945."
- Publisher Information: Cambridge University Press
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