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Ongoing projects


Project staff members

Heidrun Zettelbauer is associate professor of Modern/Contemporary History at the Institute of History of the University of Graz as well as head of the subject area Cultural and Gender History, which was newly established in 2020. In her research, she focuses on the areas of cultural-theoretical gender history, gender-sensitive research on nationalism, German nationalism and ethnic movements, gender history of the First World War, auto-/biographical research, body history and theoretical museology.

Ingrid Sharp is professor of German Cultural and Gender History at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. As an incoming senior researcher, she is part of the Elisabeth-List-Fellowship-Programme for Gender Research. In her research, she focuses on gender-specific issues in the context of pacifism and war resistance as well as on the history of female activism in the context of the First World War. 

Viktoria Wind is a doctoral student at the Institute of History of the University of Graz. She researches in the field of contemporary military history with regard to gender history. Specifically, she focuses on the constructions of gender concepts in the military contexts of the First World War and the period between the world wars.

Having previously earned degrees at the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, Chantal Sullivan-Thomsett now joins as a doctoral student at the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies of the University of Leeds. She is an incoming junior fellow in the Elisabeth-List-Fellowship-Programme for Gender Research. In her research, she focuses on German politics, political culture and protests.


Brief description of the project

The project deals with the local and global gender politics in the First World War. A particular focus is on the areas of welfare and war welfare as well as the associated gender-specific rhetoric and practices. The project aims to analyse discourses on gender, war, and violence, along with their patterns and political functions. Processes of de- and re-stabilisation of gender in war and its connection to discursivation of (war) violence is at the centre of research activities.

The content ranges from the study of explicitly politically positioned actors (peace movement, women's suffrage movement, etc.) to analyses of explicitly anti-democratic war welfare policies under the direction and participation of protagonists from the German-nationalist or Catholic-conservative milieu. In particular, specific negotiations of gendered concepts of citizenship are in focus.

In terms of space, both regional contexts (Habsburg Monarchy, German Empire) and global aspects of the topic are taken into account. The First World War as the first "global" and first "total war" is particularly suitable for exploring questions of how experiences of war and violence fundamentally affect the cultural constitution of societies and what role gender plays in this.

An international conference on the subject was held in December 2021.

This project, funded by a postdoctoral grant from the OeAW (Austrian Academy of Sciences) and a Rachel Carson–Simone Veil Fellowship (RCC & PHE Munich), is a biographically oriented environmental history study from the perspective of women’s and gender history. Its central goal is to position women and their biographies as actors in the history of environmental movements in Germany and Austria (approx. 1900–1992). It is the first major research project of its kind, as research on (especially German-speaking) environmental history so far has largely excluded women. Consequently, the project aims to not just add women to the already researched contexts, but to rethink questions of environmental history from the perspective of modern women's and gender history.

The collective biographical portrayal of environmental activists with different social, economic and cultural backgrounds is reconstructed using the concept of “rooms for manoeuvre / scopes of action” and intersectionality. Discourses and questions central to environmental movements are discussed through the analytical lens of biographically oriented case studies.

Gero Roedern, MA, BA

The research project examines series of letters that were written in the context of the National Socialist Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD). The primary research goal is to fathom how 'ordinary' labor service members dealt with mobilization and indoctrination in the RAD and what effects this 'education' produced. The study complements current research on National Socialist rule with a research contribution on writing in a hitherto little researched central educational institution of the regime. Above all, the project provides important insights into the previously completely underexposed perspective of young adults on the RAD. It is dedicated to their descriptions of life and their own position within National Socialist society. Particular focus is placed on their acceptance of roles assigned by the regime, their negotiations, and their struggles with societal pressures. With the help of a software-supported qualitative content analysis and an innovative recourse to cultural studies, extensive new insights into individual interpretations of National Socialism and education in the RAD are thus gained.

  • Fulbright U.S. Student Award, University of Kansas
  • Project management: Amy Millet (Hillsboro/Oregon)
  • Supervision: Heidrun Zettelbauer (Graz)
  • Duration: Academic year 2021–2022

Amy Millet is a doctoral student in history. She received a research award for Austria, where she will study the intersection of gender history, national identity and food studies in 19th century Austria. Her work will examine how women used daily culinary practices, pre-political obligations that cut across partisan lines, to articulate their views of womanhood. Her research will make a unique contribution to Austrian food history by exploring the dynamic 19th century forces, including industrialization and urbanization, that altered consumption patterns and shaped notions of gender, class, nationality and ethnicity.


Head of subject area

Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr.phil.

Heidrun Zettelbauer

Institut für Geschichte
Heinrichstraße 26/II
8010 Graz

Phone:+43 316 380 - 2382



Sarah Christina Perner

Institut für Geschichte

Phone:+43 316 380 - 2368

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