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Gesine Schuster

Sometime during childhood, we all get to this point when we start to ask ourselves why things are the way
they are, why people behave the way they do. For me it soon became apparent that I would only be able to
find satisfactory answers to these questions with a firm knowledge of history, which became the primary
focus of my university education.

From the start, the most interesting historical periods for me were those of rapid societal transformation,
in which liberalization and restoration, cosmopolitanism and nationalism, cultural openness and cultural
closure followed each other within a relatively short time span. Understanding the conditions in which
societies in the past have built, defended or lost political and social freedoms, might help us to strengthen
our democracies and stand firm against populist or autocratic threats.
An academic understanding is not enough, however, if we are not able to share and use this knowledge for
the good of our communities. People need to interact and think about the past in a way that enables them
to actively shape the future. This is why my research asks not only historic questions, but also social,
managerial and educational ones.


Research Foci

late 18th- to early 19th-century European history

the Weimar Republic

Postsocialist transformation

Identity building, memory culture and public history

(inter-)cultural processes of perception and exchange


PhD project: Perception and Communication of Cultural Heritage. How to Improve Cultural Participation in Rural Eastern Germany.