Elizabeth Vlossak

Associate Professor

Office: GLA 217
905 688 5550 x4020

Elizabeth Vlossak (B.A., Mount Allison; M.St., Oxford; Ph.D., Cambridge) teaches 20th-century European history, including courses on Weimar and Nazi Germany, nations and nationalism, and gender in modern European history. She has taught at the University of Ottawa and at the Queen’s University International Study Centre (Herstmonceux Castle, UK). Her research interests include the cultural history of the two world wars, women’s history and the history of European feminisms, border studies, gender and nationalism, and memory and the politics of commemoration. She has presented her work at conferences in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Luxembourg, Australia, and New Zealand. 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.

Dr Vlossak is co-organizing an interdiscliplinary conference, ‘Refusing to Fight: Reimagining War in Global Perspectives,’ that will take place at Brock on 11-13 October 2018.

From 2015 to 2018 Dr Vlossak was the Department of History’s Graduate Program Director. She will be the interim director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts for twelve months, starting 1 July 2018.

Dr Vlossak is a founding member and associate fellow of The History Lab, a scholarly community engagement partnership between herself, the Niagara Military Museum, Seedling for Change in Society and Environment, and Professor Maria del Carmen Suescun Pozas.


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


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)

‘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)

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.

‘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)

‘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)

Work in progress:

‘Gender approaches to the history of nationalism,’ in Writing the History of Nationalism, ed. Stefan Berger and Eric Storm (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2018)

‘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, 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.


HIST1F95 – ‘A Violent Century: The World Since 1900’

HIST2P53 – ‘Totalitarian Temptation: Europe’s 20th-Century’ (offered Fall Term 2018-19)

HIST2P56 – ‘Gender in European History’

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

HIST3P55 – ‘London, Paris, Berlin: Modern History through the Urban Landscape’ (offered Winter Term 2018-19)

HIST3P56 – ‘Weimar Germany, 1918-1933

HIST4P42 – ‘Nazi Germany’



HIST5F01 – ‘Historiography and Historical Methods’

HIST5V12 – ‘Gender and Nationalism’



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)


In progress:

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

‘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 the History Lab? 

THL is a scholarly community engagement partnership between the Niagara Military Museum, Seedling for Change in Society and Environment, and historians and scholars Maria del Carmen Suescun Pozas and Elizabeth Vlossak.

THL builds, strengthens and promotes collaboration between scholars and grassroots citizen organizations in the Niagara region to expand the knowledge economy.

Associate fellows, researchers-in-training, museum staff, and partner organizations with THL advocate for interdisciplinary research in history in a multidisciplinary environment.

THL creates, supports, and sustains vibrant communities that promote and support research in history through scholarly citizen engagement.

What exactly does THE HISTORY LAB do?

Activities carried out through THL reflect and advance the respective missions of the Niagara Military Museum, Seedling for Change in Society and Environment, and fellow associate scholars:

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

THL acts as a bridge that connects academia with grassroots organizations like the NMM.

THL facilitates academic student engagement through field trips to the NMM; seminars and talks at the NMM and academic institutions; experiential education and community engagement; events co-organized with student clubs/associations/societies, and editors and authors of undergraduate, graduate, and professional scholarly journals; co-op work placements for undergraduate and graduate students in academic institutions; high school mentorship placements.

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

THL organizes special annual commemorative events including International Holocaust Memorial Day, Canada Day, International Day of Peace, and the Day of the Dead; to promote projects, research, and scholarly and academic community engagement.

THL acts as a consulting body for other community groups and not-for-profit organizations.

Past THL activities:

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.