Dr Lynne Humphrey
Lecturer in German History
After working on behalf of local government, Trade Unions and the voluntary sector, I began lecturing after the completion of my PhD in 2018. I have many research and teaching intrests, but, since my PhD, I have specifically focused on three key areas: (1) how history and historians reconstruct 'the truth' about the past; (2) how historians and jurists have collaborated in bringing perpetrators and deniers of ‘the Holocaust’ to trial; and (3) how states and populations 'come to terms with' difficult and/or criminal pasts. All of these interests are represented in a module that I lead on 'Remembering the Holocaust in Germany: Coming to Terms with the Past?’
Before joining the history department at Cardiff University in October 2019, as a Lecturer in Modern German History, I was a lecturer at Northumbria and Newcastle Universities. At these Universities I taught a range of modules relating to 20th century Europe, but specifically the cultures and politics of modern Germany, the ‘Third Reich’ and 'the Holocaust'.
All of my research and teaching is multi-disciplinary and would be of interest to history, law, politics and sociology students.
My teaching remit and portfolio covers the cultural, political and social histories of Europe from the 20th century to the present day, with a specific focus on Germany. In the 20/21 academic year I teach and supervise on the following modules:
HS1775: Europe East and West, 1945-1995
HS1864: Remembering the Holocaust in Germany: Coming to Terms with the Past'?
HS1105: Making of the Modern World
HS1702: Exploring HIsorical Debate
HS1801: Third Year Dissertation
HS1120: History in Prctice (2)
My current research extends from my PhD and combines my interests in debates surrounding the history discpline, the history-law relationship in general and its collaboration in Holocaust-related trials in particular. I have recently published an article, based on my PhD research, which, as its title suggests, represents these combined interests: 'The Holocaust anf the Law:: A Model of 'Good History'? http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13642529.2019.1655852
I would like to organise my PhD interests and research into a book proposal that will contribute to debates that continue to be critical of bringing the Holocaust to trial. My research confirmed that the law confines and can distort historical evidence. It also confirmed that it can undermine the credibility of the historian as expert witness. It likewise confirmed that proving the falsity of Holocaust denial in a courtroom is a waste of time, since deniers continue to peddle their antisemitic agendas. However, in contrast to a 'consensus of critique' warning of the dangers of bringing history into a courtroom, my research showed that the law was just as capable as history to find and reconstruct 'the truth' of a past event, in this case, 'the Holocaust'.
I would also like to develop a multi-disciplinary hub of Holocaust studies in Wales. As shown in the vast literature of Holocaust historiography, this genocide can act as a medium through which diverse interests, for example, antisemitism, bio-racism, 'collective memory', gender, policies of extermination, political ideologies, 'transitional justice', can be investigated.