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hist-whitehouse

Christine Whitehouse

Graduating with a history degree from MSVU instilled me with the confidence and passion to pursue my research interests at the graduate level. After taking a year off to travel Europe, I completed my MA at Carleton University in postwar German memory culture, focusing in particular on contemporary local commemorative practices through the example of Stolpersteine (http://www.stolpersteine.com/; twitter: @_Stolpersteine_). I decided to stay at Carleton for my doctorate degree for three key reasons: the history department’s focus on public history and theory; the reputation of my supervisor and the professional relationship we developed through my MA; and the opportunities it afforded me outside of the classroom.

Since entering graduate school, I have had the good fortune to travel to Germany for research, Poland for a graduate fellowship, and New York City for a workshop with advanced doctoral candidates and post-docs. Through conferences I have met with like-minded grad students from across Canada, the United States, and a few from Europe and Israel. Thanks to events sponsored by our department and the University community more broadly, I’ve had the opportunity to network with some of the biggest names in my field—a history geek’s idea of celebritydom! In 2013 I expect to travel to Mexico City and Berlin for an extended period of time to conduct research for my dissertation, tentatively titled, “The Free Germany Movement: Jewish Exiles in Transnational Perspective.” This project, which examines the processes behind (subversive) identity-making in Nazi Germany and postwar East Germany, is funded by a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship.

I would encourage history students to think outside of the box when it comes time to make career choices. In a field like ours, the options can appear limited with most students electing to teach in some capacity after graduating with a BA. Watching my fellow colleagues and professors network, I’ve come to realize that sometimes you have to take charge and create your dream position if it doesn’t already exist.

 

December 2012