Joshua Sander is a PhD student in the Department of History. His advisor is Vejas Liulevicius. He is currently on a yearlong Norman Raab Foundation Fellowship at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Center for Advanced Holocaust Research in Washington D.C. This spring he was awarded a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship for a year of dissertation research in Germany.
His dissertation topic combines his training in modern German history with the current productive emphasis on examining transnational phenomena, crossing or transcending national boundaries. His thesis, entitled “The Greater Germanic Reich: Nazification and the Creation of a New Dutch Identity in the Occupied Netherlands,” examines how the Nazi rulers of the Netherlands sought to remake Dutch national identity, including its characteristic global dimensions (both commercial and colonial), for their own purposes, the founding of a racial empire marked by population shifts and genocide. The first steps in this ambitious agenda involved the genocide against Dutch Jews.
The intellectual stakes of his project are significant, large, and surprising: Sander’s work promises to overturn much of the current received scholarly wisdom, which sees the Nazis ‘merely’ pursuing milder, less radical occupation regimes in Western Europe, as opposed to their vast genocidal ambitions in the East. Sander seeks to illuminate in a new way the radical ambitions actually implicit in the occupation of the Netherlands and how these were linked to goals of wider racial empire. His work will force historians to rethink the West-East divide that is a commonplace in writing on Nazi imperialism.