Dr Anna Ross

​Research interests:

In her first monograph – Beyond the Barricades: Politics and Society in German-Speaking Europe, 1848-66 (forthcoming) – Anna examines the transformation of conservative politics across German-speaking Europe, focusing especially on Prussia. She argues that many Prussian conservatives saw the limitations of overly doctrinaire conservatism as practiced during the pre-revolutionary years and provided support for the wave of new reforming activity initiated by the Manteuffel Ministry of State. At times this was in cooperation with moderate liberals of the upper middle classes and at times in conflict, as professionals distanced themselves from the ministry and complained about the course of reform. The urban and rural lower-middle classes likewise influenced the nature of reconstruction undertaken in the German states and the work also looks to include their manifold encounters with state authorities in the years after 1848. Indeed the work seeks to show the many ways in which Germans remained political in the 1850s before the rapid return of public life in the 1860s. Anna has a book chapter related to this research project in 1848 as a Turning Point in Political Thought, edited by Gareth Stedman Jones (Cambridge: CUP, 2016).

After completing her first book manuscript, Anna extended her work to consider post-1848 urban-extension projects across Germany and its overseas territories. In this book - currently titled, Building Germany in an Age of Global Expansion, 1871-1920 - Anna documents the creation of new German cityscapes inflected with different regional concerns. Alongside this monograph Anna has written an article entitled, 'Down with the Walls! The Politics of Place in Spanish and German Extension Planning, 1848-1888', in which she examines contemporary debates about what modernising cities represented and whose interests they embodied, in both northern and southern Europe. The article explores conservative politics from a slightly different angle to her earlier work, making use of the rich residential debates about urban change in the post-revolutionary years. At present, Anna is also working on a study of Spanish construction projects in Tétouan – the capital of the Spanish protectorate of Morocco (1913-56) – to illuminate larger questions about Spain as an imperial power after the loss of its empire in the Americas. Tétouan is an ideal space for considering the nature of Spanish imperialism at the turn of the twentieth century given the layering of political power, religious tension and refuge, and commercial activity that shaped urban expansion under the Spanish. It is also a rich case study thanks to the stunning visual sources we possess for this extension project.

During her postdoctoral research fellowship Anna has paralleled her interest in German cityscapes during the age of industrialization with several smaller projects on reurbanization in the twentieth century in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Such research includes a book chapter on the politics of photographing reurbanization in the 1970s and 1980s in West Berlin in The Ethics of Seeing: 20th Century German Documentary Photography Reconsidered, edited by Paul Betts, Jennifer Evans, and Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann (Oxford: Berghahn, 2017). In this piece Anna looks at the creation, collection, and exhibition of 'quarter portraits' at the height of the largest reurbanization program in German history, and the role such activity played in shifting the housing debates in the FRG. This activity included efforts by residents to document the development of the Berlin cityscape right back to the nineteenth century. In addition, Anna is currently working on an article entitled, 'Between the Local and the Global: Photographing Neighbourhoods in the Post-War Germanies, 1970-85'. In this article, she examines urban portraits taken by professional photographers in four decaying inner-city suburbs. She claims that east and west of the wall, there was a similar urge to interrogate the concept of 'community' in the face of failed housing policies. She shows that in photographs one can see more clearly what was meant by this nebulous term, and in particular, one can see the evolving strategy to link oneself to global communities in housing debates. In the future, Anna hopes to keep her interest in photography alive through a biography of Franz Hubmann, doyen of Austrian photography in the twentieth century, as a means of investigating the manifold ways in which Austrians and Germans saw political upheavals from WWI through to the fall of Communism in 1989.

Publications

  • DOWN WITH THE WALLS! THE POLITICS OF PLACE IN SPANISH AND GERMAN URBAN EXTENSION PLANNING, 1848-1914

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