Elizabeth Vlossak

Associate Professor

Office: GLA 217
905 688 5550 x4020
evlossak@brocku.ca

Elizabeth Vlossak (B.A., Mount Allison; M.St., Oxford; Ph.D., Cambridge) teaches courses on 20th-century Europe, with a focus on totalitarianism, Weimar and Nazi Germany, urban history, and nations and nationalism. Dr. Vlossak looks for ways to incorporate innovative techniques into students’ classroom experience. In her first year courses, she encourages students to engage with the Brock campus, St. Catharines and the wider Niagara region by thinking about how local sites are connected to global movements, and how students’ own lives have been shaped by world history. In 2012 she took upper-level students on a study tour of Berlin to experience history in the urban landscape, and in 2019 she ran a historical gardening course with senior students who researched, planted and grew historical gardens at Brock.

Dr. Vlossak’s research interests include the cultural history of war, women’s and gender history, border studies, nations and nationalism, critical heritage studies, and memory and the politics of commemoration. Her publications include Marianne or Germania? Nationalizing Women in Alsace 1870-1946 (Oxford University Press, 2010), and articles and book chapters on postwar reconstruction and commemoration, Nazi forced labour policies, and writing the history of nationalism. She is currently preparing a manuscript for a book entitled Hitler’s Reluctant Soldiers: Forced conscripts in history and memory, which focuses on French, Belgian and Luxembourger veterans of the German Wehrmacht. She is also co-editing an edited collection entitled Refusing to Fight: Reimagining War in Global Perspectives.

In addition to disseminating her work internationally at academic conferences, Dr. Vlossak is passionate about connecting local community members with history. She has presented her work to historical societies and libraries in Niagara and is a founding member and associate fellow of The History Lab, a scholarly community engagement partnership.

Since coming to Brock in 2006, Dr. Vlossak has served the University in a variety of roles, including as a member of Senate (2011-2013), as Graduate Program Director for the Department of History (2015-2018), and as Interim Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (2018-2019).

Upcoming courses:

 Fall 2020:

HIST1F95 – ‘A Violent Century: World History since 1900’

HIST3F02 – ‘Making History in Niagara’

Using local archives, including Brock’s Special Collections, students research, design and present a proposal for a public history project to a local community partner. Projects include: special exhibits at local museums, historical societies, libraries; historical information plaques; monuments/memorials; brochures/ pamphlets; digital/online exhibits; live performances or other artistic productions.

In 2020-21, projects will focus on the Canada Summer Games that will take place at Brock and across the Niagara Region in August 2021.

Upcoming leave:

January 1 – June 30, 2021

Books:

Marianne or Germania? Nationalizing Women in Alsace, 1870-1946 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)

Book chapters:

‘Gender approaches to the history of nationalism,’ in Writing the History of Nationalism, ed. Stefan Berger and Eric Storm (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2019)

‘The Gau Westmark as Colonial Outpost: Rethinking economic, military and racial policies in Nazi-annexed Moselle,’ in German-Occupied Europe in the Second World War, ed. Raffael Scheck, Fabien Théofilakis and Julia Torrie (London: Routledge, 2019)

‘The Civil War in France, Alsace-Lorraine, and Postwar Reconstruction in the 1870s,’ in Decades of Reconstruction: Postwar Societies, State-building, and International Relations, from the Seven Years War to the Cold War, ed. Ute Planert and James Retallack (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

‘Traitors, heroes, martyrs, victims: Veterans of Nazi “forced conscription” in Alsace and Moselle,’ in Rewriting German History: New Perspectives on Modern Germany, ed. Nikolaus Wachsmann and Jan Rüger (London: Palgrave, 2015)

‘Remembering Oradour and Schirmeck: How Regional Memory Challenges National Commemoration,’ in Place and Locality in French History, ed. Patrick Young and Philip Whalen (London: Bloomsbury, 2014)

Other publications:

Working Paper Series A | No. 9 – Regimenting Unfree Labour: Alsace and Moselle,’ Working Papers of the Independent Commission of Historians Investigating the History of the Reich Ministry of Labour (Reichsarbeitsministerium) in the National Socialist Period, ed. Elizabeth Harvey and Kim Christian Priemel (2017)

Alsace-Lorraine,’ in 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson, issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin. Last updated 2016-10-21.

‘Women (U.S)’ in The Home Front Encyclopedia: United States, Britain and Canada in World Wars I and II. Volume II: World War II (Santa Barbara, Denver and Oxford: ABC-Clio, 2007)

Conference and Syposium Papers (since 2013):

‘“Digging into the past: Experiential teaching and learning through ‘historical gardening.’” Brock University Humanities Research Institute Fall Term Symposium. December 2019.

‘Remembering Hunger: The Rituals and Material Culture of Food Among French Veterans of the Second World War.’ Brock University Humanities Research Institute Fall Term Symposium. December 2018.

‘Holding out for a hero: Remembering draft-dodgers in postwar Western Europe.’ Refusing to Fight: Reimagining desertion in global perspectives, Brock University. October 2018.

‘Eastern Workers in the ‘Western Marches’: Nazi forced labour in Moselle.’ Biennial Conference of the Australasian Association for European History. Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. July 2017.

‘Les enrôlés de force entre l’histoire et la mémoire.’ Colloque scientifique : Les enrôlés de force en Union Soviétique et les prisonniers de guerre soviétiques au Luxembourg. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. May 2017.

Seminar participant – ‘German-Occupied Europe in the Second World War’. German Studies Association Annual Conference. San Diego, USA. Sept-Oct. 2016.

‘War as transnational heritage in the Benelux-German borderlands.’ Bi-annual conference of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies (ACHS). Montreal, Canada. June 2016.

‘Hitler’s Reluctant Soldiers: Nazi Forced Conscription in History and Memory.’ Brock University Department of History Colloquium. February, 2016.

‘Alsace and Moselle.’ Invited speaker at ‘Regimenting Unfree Labour in Europe During the Second World War.’ Conference organized by Elizabeth Harvey and Kim Priemel on behalf of the Unabhängige Historikerkommission  zur Aufarbeitung der Geschichte des Reichsarbeitsministeriums  in der Zeit des nationalsozialismus. Berlin, Germany. December 2015.

‘Commemorating forced conscription and forced labour policies in European border regions: How popular culture and the arts reshape memory.’ Invited speaker at ‘The Art of Wellbeing’: Isambard Seminar Series, 2015-2016, sponsored by Brunel University London. London, UK. November 2015.

‘Desertion as an act of patriotism: Alsace-Lorraine during the First World War.’ Tri-University History Conference, held in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. March 2015.

‘Alsatian Soldiers and Veterans in Two World Wars: Desertion, Masculine Honor, and Patriotism.’ Annual Conference of the Western Society for French History. San Antonio, Texas. November 2014.

‘Forced Conscription as Transnational History: Understanding Luxembourg’s Strike of 1942,’ Canadian Historical Association’s Annual General Meeting at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Brock University, Canada. June 2014.

‘The Civil War in France, Alsace-Lorraine, and Postwar Reconstruction in the 1870s.’ Presented at ‘Decades of Reconstruction: Postwar Societies, Economies, and International Relations, from the 19th to the 20th Century.’ Conference/ workshop organized by Ute Planert and James Retallack (University of Toronto), in collaboration with the German Historical Institute of Washington and the DAAD, Toronto, Canada. April 2013.

‘Veterans of Nazi Forced Conscription: A Transnational Approach.’ Biennial Conference of the Australasian Association for European History, Wellington, New Zealand. July 2013.

‘Nazi Atrocities and the Politics of Commemoration in France.’ Invited speaker – ‘Visiting Scholars Series’, Department of History, University of Auckland. July 2013.

Undergraduate

 HIST1F95 – ‘A Violent Century: The World Since 1900’ (offered Fall Term 2019-20 and 2020-21)

HIST2P53 – ‘Totalitarian Temptation: Europe’s 20th-Century’

HIST2P56 – ‘Gender in European History’

HIST3F02 – ‘Making History in Niagara’ (offered 2020-21)

HIST3M50 – ‘Modern Germany in Berlin’ (study abroad course)

HIST3P55 – ‘London, Paris, Berlin: Modern History through the Urban Landscape’

HIST3P56 – ‘Weimar Germany, 1918-1933’

HIST4P42 – ‘Nazi Germany’

Graduate

HIST5F01 – ‘Historiography and Historical Methods’

HIST5V12 – ‘Gender and Nationalism’

Completed:

2008 – Jorge Pineda, ‘Re-analysing the Nicaraguan Revolution’

2011 – Melanie Gilligan, ‘The End of a Skirt, the End of Identity: Clothing, Gender and Identity in 18th Century Britain’

2015 – Marica Vukovic, ‘Poverty, Manipulation, Disease and Female Autonomy: The Problems with Prostitution in Cinquecento Italy’

2017 – Dylan Fortushniok, ‘Canada’s Nazi War Criminals: The Deschênes Commission’

2018 – Matt Busnello, ‘Local Jewish Memorial Traditions and the Importance of Continued Commemoration: a Comparative Analysis of Holocaust Monuments in Southern Ontario’

2018 – Spencer Alder, ‘The Creation and Absence of Cultural Memory: Elizabeth Ascher, Resident of Niagara-on-the-Lake’ (co-supervised with Prof. Renée Lafferty-Salhany)

2019 – Kate McGregor, ‘Christmas in the (German) Colonies’

In progress:

Jade Biggar, ‘Ridley College and War Remembrance, 1918-1939’

‘From Cabaret to Babylon Berlin: The Weimar Republic in History and Popular Culture’ – Public lecture – St. Catharines Public Library, October 2019.

‘Shot at Dawn: British, French and German Deserters in History and Memory’ – Public lecture – St. Catharines Public Library, February 2016.

‘Shot at Dawn: British, French and German Deserters in History and Memory’ Guest speaker – Niagara Historical Society, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, July 2015.

Speakers panel – St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre, ‘Doing Our Bit: World War One from St. Catharines to the Western Front’ exhibition opening, September 2014.

‘The Origins of the Great War’ – Guest speaker – Grimsby Historical Society, October 2014.

‘Fighting Against Their Will: Forced Conscripts in Occupied Europe, 1942-1945’ – Public lecture – ‘Brock Talks’ at the St Catharines Public Library, February 2014.

What is THL?

The History Lab is a scholarly community engagement partnership founded in 2018 that builds, strengthens and promotes collaboration between scholars and grassroots citizen organizations in the Niagara region.

We develop projects that help deepen and broaden our knowledge and understanding of Niagara’s history by taking a transnational perspective.

We facilitate academic student engagement, experiential education and community engagement.

The History Lab mobilizes scholarly and academic engagement in the Niagara region through guest lectures, seminar series, special events, research, and academic community outreach activities.

All the activities of the History Lab have been designed to support the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Past THL activities:

Public event – ‘Honouring International Holocaust Remembrance Day,’ Niagara Artists Centre, St. Catharines, Ontario. January 2020.

2019:

Public event – ‘Honouring International Holocaust Remembrance Day,’ Niagara Military Museum, Niagara Falls, Ontario. January 2019.

Lecture (hosted at the Royal Niagara Military Institute) – Dr. Nancy Taber (Brock University) ‘Breaking the rules: Personal and Scholarly Reflections on Women and Gender in the Military.’ March 2019.

Public event – ‘Student Day 2019: History beyond the classroom.’ April 2019.

Public exhibit – Remembering the “Forgotten Peace”: The “A.B.C.” Peace Conference Niagara Falls, Canada, May-July 1914. In collaboration with the Niagara Military Museum. September 2019.

2018:

Public event – ‘Honouring International Holocaust Remembrance Day,’ Niagara Military Museum, Niagara Falls, Ontario. January 2018.

Public lecture – Ian McKay (McMaster University), ‘A happy face on a Holocaust? The transformation of the public memory of Canada’s First World War,’ Niagara Military Museum, Niagara Falls, Ontario, March 2018.

Public event – ‘Open House 2018: A celebration of community and collaboration as we grow together,’ Niagara Falls Public Library and the Niagara Military Museum, Niagara Falls, Ontario, April 2018.

‘What is The History Lab’ – Presentation by associate fellows Elizabeth Vlossak and Maria del Carmen Suescun Pozas to the Royal Niagara Military Institute, St Catharines, Ontario, April 2018.

Exhibit – ‘The World Remembers’ – First World War interactive commemorative exhibit hosted at four sites in Niagara. September-November 2018.

Remembrance Day ceremony – Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University.