Dr Paul Miller PhD

 

Marie Curie Fellow (2011-2013)

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

About

My chief task during these two years at the University of Birmingham is to complete a book project on the memory of the Sarajevo assassination of June 28, 1914. I greatly look forward to the insights, ideas, and critiques of new colleagues with whom I will have the opportunity to discuss this ongoing work.

Biography

I did a Ph.D. in modern European history at Yale University (1995), writing on the antimilitarist left in France in the period before the First World War. My book, From Revolutionaries to Citizens, was published by Duke University Press in 2002. 

Following a stint editing the journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies, I joined the history department of McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, where I am currently Associate Professor.   I subsequently collaborated on a documentary film on the controversy over the (non) bombing of Auschwitz (They Looked Away), and in 2004–2006 was a Fulbright scholar in Sarajevo, where I lectured and wrote on genocide/memory in Bosnia and began research on my current book project on the memory of the Sarajevo assassination. Tentatively entitled June 28, 1914: A Day in History and Memory, this project has benefited greatly from the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and, now, the EU’s Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship program.

Teaching

As an historian of modern Europe at a small liberal arts college, I have taught a range of courses including: 19th and 20th –century Europe; History & Memory; The First World War in History & Memory; Modern Germany; Modern France; Fathoming Evil: Genocide in the Modern World; the Holocaust; and an interdisciplinary seminar on the Third Reich. 

In the future I hope to offer a course on Yugoslavia (and its breakup), including a specialized seminar tentatively entitled: “The Bosnian War: From Common Life to Crimes Against Humanity”.

Research

The assassination of the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, on June 28, 1914, in Sarajevo was the immediate cause of a diplomatic crisis that led to the First World War, thus marking the onset of the twentieth century and the decline of European international hegemony. It was also highly predictable, utterly random, and entirely disproportionate to its global cataclysmic consequences. 

 My research project thus treats the Sarajevo assassination as what the historian Pierre Nora calls a “lieu de mémoire,” a site of memory on which to explore how this contradictory past has been re-used, re-interpreted and, even, re-invented through different time frames and in diverse social, cultural, and political contexts. By examining monuments, museums, memoirs, anniversaries, art, textbooks, literature, folklore, film, media, and scholarly writing itself, my work explores the manifold ways in which the assassination has been conjured and construed since it first entered human consciousness as an event of world historical significance. 

 In so doing, the study also seeks understanding of how this difficult past has been assimilated and absorbed in different European contexts and, thereby, of the Sarajevo assassination’s inherent capacity to link the diverse states and peoples of Europe into a “gesamteuropäische Erinnerungskultur,” or European-wide memory culture—a concept which has attracted much attention from academics and the EU of late in terms of probing the roots and possibilities of pan-European identity.

Other activities

During my fellowship at the University of Birmingham, I will work with my research director, Dr. Pierre Purseigle, to organize a small conference/seminar on the question of writing an integrated history of World War I and the place of memory in that process. We are exploring the possibility of holding the event in Sarajevo. I also look forward to opportunities to share my work with colleagues in the history department and the wider university community, as well as taking advantage of the broad range of conferences and lectures held on campus and in European institutes each year on themes related to my research, including memory, conflict/terrorism, World War I, and Austrian and Yugoslav history.

Publications

Books

  • June 28, 1914: A Day in History and Memory (research/writing in progress)
  • One Day in Sarajevo, Pivotal Moments in World History series, Oxford UP (under contract)
  • From Revolutionaries to Citizens: Antimilitarism in France, 1870–1914 (Duke UP, 2002)

Selected Articles

  • “From Annexation to Assassination: The Sarajevo Murders in Bosnian and Austrian Minds,” in Catherine Horel, ed., 1908, l’annexion de la Bosnie-Herzégovine, cents ans après (Bruxelles: P.I.E. Peter Lang, 2011), pp. 239–53.
  • “Victims Rites,” Transitions Online (April 16, 2010): http://www.tol.org.
  • “Just Like the Jews: Contending Victimization in the Former Yugoslavia,” in John K. Roth, Jonathan Petropoulos, and Lynn Rapaport, eds., Lessons & Legacies, vol. IX: Memory, History, Responsibility: Reassessments of the Holocaust, Implications for the Future (Northwestern UP, March 2010), pp. 251–68.
  • “Le souvenir de l’attentat de Sarajevo à Sarajevo,” in Daniel Baric, Jacques Le Rider, and Drago Roksandić, eds., Mémoire et histoire en Europe centrale et orientale (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2010), pp. 63–71.
  • “Compromising Memory: The Site of the Sarajevo Assassination,” Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, East European Studies, “Meeting Report” online publication (May-June 2007).
  • “Contested Memories: The Bosnian Genocide in Serb and Muslim Minds,” Journal of Genocide Research 8:3 (Sept. 2006), pp. 311–24.
  • “Counterfactual History: Not ‘What If?’ but ‘Why Not?’,” The Chronicle of Higher Education 50:23 (Feb. 13, 2004), pp. B10–B11: http://chronicle.com/article/Counterfactual-History-Not/10384/.
  • “David Wyman and the Controversy Over the Bombing of Auschwitz,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 40:4 (Fall 2003), pp. 370–80.
  • “Down But Not Out: The French Left in the Aernoult-Rousset Affair, 1909–1912,” French History 17:2 (June 2003), pp. 172–85.
  • “Imagined Enemies, Real Victims: Bartov’s Transcendent Holocaust” (Forum Response Essay), The American Historical Review 103:4 (Oct. 1998), pp. 1177–1181.

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