We would like to introduce you to the members of our School and show the diversity of the themes that are studied within it. Every month, the mini-interview gives you a glimpse into one research project. This edition: PhD candidate Félix Streicher (Maastricht University).
What is your research project about?
‘My PhD project explores a case of foreign rule hitherto neglected in academic research: the Luxembourgish occupation zone in post-war Germany (1945–55). The thesis not only seeks to put the largely forgotten story of this military occupation on the map of scholars of contemporary European history, but also mobilizes it as a case study to analyse the mechanisms of military occupations and their socio-political effects through the lens of a history of everyday life, space and gender.’
Would you describe your project as political history? Why (not)?
‘Luxembourg’s military intervention in post-war Germany was first and foremost a political move. In that sense, my project clearly belongs to the realm of the political. Yet, it is no political history in the traditional sense (i.e. a diplomatic history of ‘great’ men, their thoughts and their decisions) but rather a history of doing politics. As such, my PhD project focuses on the performative aspects of military occupation: the ground-level practicalities of foreign rule, and the methods and strategies employed by the Luxembourgers to stabilize and legitimize their rule in Germany.’
What do you like most about your project?
‘Something I very much cherish about my project is its eclectic character. It does not only deal with questions of political rule and legitimacy, but also with everyday encounters and social interactions, gender relations, questions of masculinity, space and the history of emotions. The Luxembourgish case might be geographically small, yet offers a rich ground for historical exploration.’