A Demon-Haunted Land: Witches, Wonder Doctors, and the Ghosts of the Past in Post-WWII Germany

Mar 03, 2021

Lecture (virtual) | 1-2 pm ET | Speaker: Monica Black (University of Tennessee, Knoxville); Moderator: Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann (University of California, Berkeley)

Sponsors:  Institute of European Studies, Center for German and European Studies, Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington

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A series of supernatural eruptions convulsed West Germany in the decades immediately following WWII and the defeat of National Socialism. In her talk A Demon-Haunted Land, Monica Black takes a cultural and anthropological approach to examining these largely forgotten events, yielding a psychological snapshot of a society whose most uncanny aspect may in some sense have been its quick reestablishment of “normalcy” after genocide.

Monica Black is an associate professor of history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research focuses on the cultural and social history of Germany, with an emphasis on the era of the World Wars and the decades immediately after 1945. Much of her work has concerned National Socialism—the ways it built on existing aspects of German culture, how its practices and rituals were gradually absorbed into daily life, and what happened to it after 1945. She published her latest book, A Demon-Haunted Land: Witches, Wonder Doctors, and the Ghosts of the Past in Post-WWII Germany in 2020. Her first book was Death in Berlin: From Weimar to Divided Germany. She is the editor of the journal Central European History.