Department of History

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Image of Jörg Arnold

Jörg Arnold

Assistant Professor in Contemporary History, Faculty of Arts



I was educated at the Universities of Göttingen, Edinburgh, Southampton and Heidelberg, where I studied for a joint honours degree in English Literature and History. I received my PhD in Modern European History from the University of Southampton in 2007, from where I went on to teach at the Universities of Edinburgh and Freiburg im Breisgau. I joined the department of History at Nottingham in October 2013.

Expertise Summary

I have two main research interests. The first is concerned with memory and war in twentieth-century Europe, the second with economic change and its socio-cultural repercussions in old industrial regions across Europe and North America in the period of circa 1970 to 2000.

I would be happy to supervise any student interested in the ways that societies, communities and individuals have sought to come to terms with the memory of cataclysmic events, such as wars, revolutions or mass crimes.

I also welcome students interested in the political, social and cultural fallout of 'de-industrialisation' in late twentieth-century Europe and North America, that is in the often convulsive transition from producer-oriented ways of life revolving around manual labour and manufacturing to consumer-oriented, 'post-industrial' modes of being.

Teaching Summary

Do historical epochs have a colour? The father of one of our prospective students certainly thought so. When asked what came to mind when he thought of the 1970s, he said 'the colour of rust'. The… read more

Research Summary

My first book, based on my PhD and published with CUP in 2011, was a comparative study of the cultural 'aftermaths' of Allied bombing of German cities in World War II. It explored the ways in which… read more

Recent Publications

Do historical epochs have a colour? The father of one of our prospective students certainly thought so. When asked what came to mind when he thought of the 1970s, he said 'the colour of rust'. The image of 'rust' captures very well the 'dark view' of the period, a tale of the post-war dreams of economic prosperity and of permissive liberalisation turned sour. And indeed, by the 1970s ghosts returned that many thought had been laid to rest for good: economic stagnation and mass unemployment; social polarisation and dislocation; the rise of political extremism and an authoritarian Right. In my teaching, we shall engage with this dominant conceptualisation of the 1970s and 1980s as 'crisis decades', but we shall also test the plausibility of a 'bright' view - a tale of crisis overcome through a reassertion of the state, the liberation of the market, and of conspicuous consumption.

These themes are explored in two modules, the second-year option V12285: "De-industrialisation: A Social and Cultural History, c. 1970-1990" (20 credits) and the third-year Special Subject, V13378: "After the Golden Age: The West in the 1970s and 1980s" (40 credits).

The second-year module on de-industrialisation compares the development of old industrial regions in the north of England, the German Ruhr basin and the Industrial Midwest in the United States. It explores, from a social and cultural perspective, the momentous economic changes that swept through traditional industrial regions across the West in the 1970s and 1980s and which turned proud heartlands into rustbelts in less than one generation.

The third-year Special Subject takes a more comprehensive view of the West in the 1970s and 1980s. Taking thematic approaches, we shall explore economic, social and cultural change as well as continuity during a period that is often seen as a decisive turning point in the history of the West. We shall analyse topics including

· Détente and the second Cold War;

· the crisis of industrialism and structural economic change;

· social change and continuity, with special emphasis on the class structure;

· the disintegration of 'consensus politics' and the rise of the New Right;

· liberalisation, new social movements and cultural politics;

· domestic terrorism, the public and the state;

· heritage, memory and nostalgia.

In addition, I also contribute to the first-year module Learning History as seminar tutor and lecturer and to the second-year lecture series Doing History.

Current Research

My first book, based on my PhD and published with CUP in 2011, was a comparative study of the cultural 'aftermaths' of Allied bombing of German cities in World War II. It explored the ways in which urban communities engaged with and sought to come to terms with the memory of devastating air raids in the half century or so after the bombs had stopped falling. The book was reprinted as a paperback edition in 2016.

I continue to be active in this field of research, with recent publications on the social usage of visual representations of death under the bombs in the post-war period and a case study on the memory of the air war in Frankfurt am Main.

My main focus of research has shifted towards the societal repercussions of economic change in late twentieth-century Europe, and in particular, the political, social and cultural impact of de-industrialization during the 1970s and 1980s.

My research takes the experience of the north of England (broadly defined) as a vantage point to engage with recent conceptualisations of the later twentieth century as a watershed in European history. In contrast to much of the literature, which looks at individual industries or partial aspects of this transformation, the project adopts a holistic approach, albeit from a particular vantage point: It is interested foremost in what gets lost, for better or worse, rather than in what replaces it.

  • ARNOLD, J., 2019. ‘That rather sinful city of London’: The coal miner, the city and the country in the British cultural imagination, ca. 1969 to 2014 Urban History. (In Press.)
  • ARNOLD, J, 2018. Receding Futures, Shifting Pasts: The British Coal Industry, generational change and the politics of temporality, ca. 1967-1987. In: Coal, Crisis, Heritage: King Coal and the Energy Revolutions after 1945 (In Press.)
  • ARNOLD, J., 2015. „Managed Decline“?: Zur Diskussion um die Zukunft Liverpools im ersten Kabinett Thatcher (1979-1981) Informationen zur modernen Stadtgeschichte. 139-154
  • ARNOLD, J., 2015. 4. Dezember 1914, 10. Mai 1940, 27. November 1944: Freiburg in den Luftkriegen. In: CHRISTIANE PFANZ SPONAGEL, R. JOHANNA REGNATH, HEINRICH SCHWENDEMANN AND HANS-PETER WIDMANN, ed., Auf Jahr und Tag: Freiburgs Geschichte in der Neuzeit Rombach. 179-201
  • ARNOLD, J., 2014. Forum: Anniversaries German History. 32(1), 79-100
  • ARNOLD, J., 2013. Der ‘22. März’ im Gedächtnis der Stadt: Kontinuität und Wandel eines Gedenktages. In: MICHAEL FLEITER, ed., Heimatfront Frankfurt am Main im Luftkrieg 320-35
  • ARNOLD, J.,, 2013. ‘Es war einmal eine wunderschöne Stadt…’ Von der Sehnsucht nach Alt-Kassel im langen Nachkrieg (1943 bis ca. 2000). In: JENS FLEMMING AND DIETFRID KRAUSE-VILMAR, ed., Kassel in der Moderne 562-82
  • ARNOLD, J., 2012. ‘De-industrialization’: A Research Project on the societal history of economic change in Britain (1970-1990) Bulletin of the German Historical Institute. 34-60
  • ARNOLD, J., 2012. ‘In wächserner Blässe wie Schaufensterpuppen’: Leichenbilder aus dem Luftkrieg und ihr sozialer Gebrauch (1940-1960) Fotogeschichte. 32(125), 27-38
  • ARNOLD, J., 2012. ‘Li dove i tetti giacciono sparsi per le strade’. Nuovi studi sul bombardamento della Germania. In: NICOLA LABANCA, ed., I bombardamenti aerie sull’ Italia: Politica, Stato & società (1939-1945) pp. 57-77
  • ARNOLD, J., 2011. The Allied air war and urban memory: the legacy of strategic bombing in Germany Cambridge University Press.
  • ARNOLD, J., 2010. Beyond Usable Pasts. Rethinking the Memorialisation of the Strategic Air War in Germany, 1940 to 1965. In: BILL NIVEN AND CHLOE PAVER (EDS.), ed., Memorialisation in Germany since 1945 Palgrave Macmillan. 26-36
  • ARNOLD, J., SÜSS, D and THIESSEN, M., eds., 2009. Luftkrieg: Erinnerungen in Deutschland und Europa Wallstein.
  • ARNOLD, J., 2009. ‘Kassel 1943 mahnt...’ Zur Genealogie der Angst im Kalten Krieg. In: BERND GREINER, CHRISTIAN TH. MÜLLER AND DIERK WALTER, ed., Die Politik der Angst im Kalten Krieg Hamburger Edition. 465-94
  • ARNOLD, J.,, 2007. ‘Krieg kann nur der Wahnsinn der Menschheit sein!’ Zur Deutungsgeschichte des Luftangriffs vom 22.Oktober 1943 in Kassel. In: DIETMAR SÜß, ed., Deutschland im Luftkrieg: Geschichte und Erinnerung Oldenbourg. 135-49

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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