Anna Holian

Associate Professor
Faculty
TEMPE Campus
Mailcode
4302

Biography

Anna Holian is a cultural, social, and political historian of twentieth-century Europe, with a special interest in the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. Her other key research interests are migration and displacement; architecture, urban planning, and city life; nationalism and internationalism; and film studies. Her geographical area of specialization is Germany. However, her work ranges broadly across continental Europe and has a strong comparative and transnational dimension.

Holian's first book, entitled "Between National Socialism and Soviet Communism: Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany," tackles the big question of how Europeans made sense of the Second World War. It examines how Eastern European refugees in postwar Germany defined and represented themselves. Focusing on Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, and Jewish refugees, it explores how divergent historical narratives about the war, especially wartime encounters with Nazi and Soviet power, formed the basis for the development of distinct displaced political communities.

She is currently working on two new book-length research projects. The first, entitled "Reconstructing Livelihoods after Genocide: Jewish Shops and Shopkeepers in Postwar Germany," examines how Jewish survivors established themselves in trade in West Germany during the first two postwar decades and considers what role their businesses played in the reconstruction of Jewish life more generally. It also considers how survivors’ personal economic histories mapped onto the larger economic history of postwar West Germany. It challenges the prevailing view that Jews in postwar Germany were “sojourners,” temporary residents who were prepared to leave—and abandon their businesses—at the earliest opportunity. Combining economic and spatial history, it treats Jewish businesses both as economic ventures and as interventions in the postwar urban built environment.

Her second project, “Europe’s War Children: A Cinematic History," explores how postwar European filmmakers addressed what was perceived as one of the critical issues of the day: “war children.” Combining historical and film studies methodologies, it examines how the “problem” of war children was represented in popular culture and how popular cultural understandings drew on and fed discussions among politicians, social workers, and medical professionals.

Holian is also involved in a large collaborative research project entitled “Geographies of the Holocaust.” Based at Middlebury College and Texas State University, the project brings together historians, art historians, and geographers to explore how spatial methods of analysis can enhance our knowledge of the Holocaust. Together with the geographer Alberto Giordano, she has examined spatio-temporal patterns of flight and deportation in Italy during the period of German occupation. The results of their research were published in Geographies of the Holocaust, ed. Anne Kelly Knowles, Tim Cole, and Alberto Giordano (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014). More information about the project can be found at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website. A visualization for the Italian case study can also be found at the Stanford Spatial History Project website.

Holian's teaching focuses on modern German and European history and the history of migration. She regularly teach courses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Germany, the Holocaust, European fascism, Europe since 1945, migration in modern Europe, and history and film.

Education

  • Ph.D. History (with distinction), University of Chicago 2005
  • M.A. History, University of Chicago 1997
  • B.A. History (with general and departmental honors, University of Chicago 1990

Publications

Books

Between National Socialism and Soviet Communism: Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany, in the series Social History, Popular Culture, and Politics in Germany, ed. Geoff Eley (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011)

Selected Publications

Courses

Spring 2018
Course Number Course Title
HST 304 Studies in European History
HST 330 Historical Thinking
Fall 2017
Course Number Course Title
HST 640 Historical Methods
Spring 2017
Course Number Course Title
HST 495 Methods of Historical Inquiry
Fall 2016
Course Number Course Title
HST 640 Historical Methods
Spring 2016
Course Number Course Title
HST 304 Studies in European History
HST 590 Reading and Conference
Fall 2015
Course Number Course Title
HST 294 Special Topics
HST 495 Methods of Historical Inquiry
HST 598 Special Topics
Spring 2015
Course Number Course Title
HST 304 Studies in European History
HST 356 Europe since 1945
Fall 2014
Course Number Course Title
HST 304 Studies in European History
HST 499 Individualized Instruction
HST 500 Research Methods
Spring 2014
Course Number Course Title
HST 429 Modern Germany
HST 493 Honors Thesis
HST 495 Methods of Historical Inquiry
Fall 2013
Course Number Course Title
HST 492 Honors Directed Study
HST 495 Methods of Historical Inquiry
HST 499 Individualized Instruction

Service

  • Rookie Camp: A Seminar on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Participant (2005 - 2005)
  • Visiting Committee to the Social Sciences Division of the University of Chicago, Presenter (2002 - 2002)