Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena

Professor Winson Chu

Fellow Winson Chu

March - August 2014
Mail: wchu(at)uwm(dot)edu

Winson Chu is Associate Professor of Modern Central European History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Since 2007, he has offered undergraduate and graduate courses on the world wars, National Socialism, Germany after 1945, genocide and ethnic cleansing, and national historical narratives. Dr. Chu studied history and German literature at the University of California, San Diego, and he spent his Junior year abroad in Göttingen, Germany. He received his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in 2006. His book The German Minority in Interwar Poland was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012 in the Series of the German Historical Institute (Washington, DC). He is co-author of "A Sonderweg through Eastern Europe? The Varieties of German Rule in Poland during the Two World Wars," which appeared in the journal German History and was awarded the German History Article Prize.

Research project at the Kolleg

Germans, Poles, and Jews in the Making of the "Lodzermensch": Competing Nationalisms in Łódź, 1880-2009

Dr. Chu is currently working on a history of the Polish city of Łódź with a focus on the competition between German, Polish, and Jewish nationalisms in the twentieth century. The project explores the possibilities and limits of German-Polish-Jewish interaction on a (trans)local, national und European level. The local stereotype of an ethnically undefined "lodzermensch" is used as a guiding theme to help understand national utopian thought on Łódź in different contexts and places. Above all, this project aims to see how changing ethnic activist and multiculturalist strategies developed across political caesuras and reflected broader trends in German and Polish understandings of nationhood and modernity. Serving as narrative bookends are the negative portrayals of multiethnicity in the 1880s and the optimistic but no less contested views of multiculturalism in 2009.

Main areas of research

  •     German-Polish relations
  •     Ethnic minorities and diasporas
  •     Politics of memory and history in Central Europe
  •     Urban history

Positions and Memberships

  •     American Historical Association
  •     Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
  •     Central European History Society
  •     German History Society
  •     German Studies Association
  •     Kommission für die Geschichte der Deutschen in Polen
  •     Polish Studies Association

Selected publications

Chu, Winson. “Review Essay: Ethnic Cleansing and Nationalization in the German-Polish and German-Czech Borderlands.”German Studies Review 41.1 (2018): 143-152.

Chu, Winson. “From Łódź to Litzmannstadt: German Pasts and Holocaust Sites in Post-Communist Poland.”Holocaust and Genocide Studies 31.2 (2017): 240-267.

Chu, Winson, Kleinmann, Yvonne, Heyde, Jürgen, Hüchtker, Dietlind, Kałwa, Dobrochna, Nalewajko-Kulikov, Joanna, Steffen, Katrin, and Wiślicz, Tomasz. “’Something has destroyed my memory’: Stalingrad and Karl Dedecius’s Second World War.” Imaginations and Configurations of Polish Society: From the Middle Ages through the 20th Century. Wallstein Verlag, (2017): 355-375.

Chu, Winson, Barelkowski, Matthias, Kraft, Claudia, and Röskau-Rydel, Isabel. “Beyond Fantasy: Reexamining Colonial Legacies in the German-Polish Borderlands.” Zwischen Geschlecht und Nation. Interdependenzen und Interaktionen in der multiethnischen Gesellschaft Polens im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Ed. Matthias Barelkowski, Claudia Kraft, and Isabel Röskau-Rydel. Fibre Verlag, (2016): 279-292.

Chu, Winson, Demshuk, Andrew, and Weger, Tobias. “Germans into Lodzers? Reinterpreting Karl Dedecius’s Poland in the Twentieth Century.” Cultural Landscapes: Transatlantische Perspektiven auf Wirkungen und Auswirkungen deutscher Kultur und Geschichte im östlichen Europa. De Gruyter Oldenbourg, (2015): 169-186.

Chu, Winson, Lehrer, Erica, and Meng, Michael. “‘Lodzermensch’ and Litzmannstadt: Making ‘Virtually German’ sites in Łódź after 1989.” Jewish Space in Contemporary Poland. Indiana University Press, (2015): 193-207.

Chu, Winson, Kauffman, Jesse, and Meng, Michael. “A Sonderweg through Eastern Europe? The Varieties of German Rule in Poland during the Two World Wars.”German History 31.3 (2013): 318-344.

Chu, Winson. “Lodz/Łódź.”Online-Lexikon zur Kultur und Geschichte der Deutschen im östlichen Europa. Ossietzky Universität in Oldenburg, (2013).

Please find more information on Winson Chu on the website of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee