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Darcy C. Buerkle
Associate Professor

email Send E-mail office Office: Neilson Library 2/15 phone Phone: 585-3724
Office Hours: On Sabbatical 2016


Professor Buerkle’s research focuses on modern European women's and gender history with an emphasis on German and German Jewish women's intellectual and cultural history. She has also worked extensively on German visual culture of the early twentieth century. Related interests include the history of the social sciences, the history of psychoanalysis and contemporary debates in historiography. Her journal publications range from articles on German women and portraiture in the early twentieth century to the reconstruction of affect through Hannah Arendt, to consideration of original footage of the 1961 Eichmann trial and the 1999 film, The Specialist, as well as an essay on Norbert Elias, spectatorship and anxiety in an early Weimar film. She has also written about Charlotte Wolff, a Weimar-era doctor who was both part of early GLBTQ organizing and a prolific palm reader in exile. Professor Buerkle’s book, Nothing Happened: Charlotte Salomon and an Archive of Suicide was published in 2013 by the University of Michigan Press. You can read more about Professor Buerkle's book here. 

In her current essay-length work, Professor Buerkle combines her interest in the history of emotion with work on the concept of space through essays regarding the affective space of teaching the history of violence.  In this project, she is especially focused on a summer seminar that she led at the memorial site of the Buchenwald concentration camp.  Her focus on the history of emotion, sexuality and violence, visual culture and the legacy of antisemitism continue in her new book-project on the notion of “the victim” in the twentieth century and the role of gender in post- WWII relief efforts. Relatedly, she is working on the particularities of empathy as a mobilizing force in the history of emancipatory politics.  In 2011-12, Professor Buerkle held the Walter Benjamin Chair in German Jewish History and Culture at the Humboldt University-Berlin. In 2014-15, she serves as Director of the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center, which is housed at Mount Holyoke College.

Professor Buerkle has been honored with two teaching awards granted by the Student Government Association at Smith, the most recent was at Rally Day in 2013.  Her typical course offerings include two surveys in European women's and gender history (HST 252 and HST 253), in addition to a range of colloquia and seminars such as History and Memory (HST 246), and History of Psychoanalysis (HST 255). She teaches an advanced course in historiography (HST 350) and other topical seminars for advanced students, such as: Trauma and History, Recent Debates in Gender and Sexuality and Histories of the Holocaust which can be found under the course number HST 355. In Fall 2013, she offered a seminar on Gender and the Holocaust by video-link in collaboration with her colleague Andrea Petö at Central European University in Budapest and in Fall 2014, she will offer both HST 253 and an advanced seminar entitled, “Recent Historiographic Debates in the History of Gender and Sexuality.” In Spring 2015 Professor Buerkle will be in residence but will not teach and in 2015-16, she will be away on sabbatical.