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William Niven

Professor in Contemporary German History

School of Arts & Humanities

Staff Group(s)
History, Languages and International Studies

Role

Professor Niven teaches German history. In recent years, he has (co)organised symposia and conferences (also for postgraduates) on the relationship between culture, politics and memory in Germany and Europe.

Professor Niven is committed to building up MA and PhD recruitment within the area of Holocaust and Genocide studies at NTU.

Career overview

Bill Niven gained his MA and PhD from the University of St. Andrews. From 1984 to 1985, he worked at the University of Klagenfurt (Austria), before moving to Munich where he worked for Siemens until 1993. From 1993 to 1998, he was a lecturer in the German Department of Aberdeen University, before becoming Reader in History at NTU in 1998. He became Professor of Contemporary German History at NTU in 2005.

Research areas

National Socialism. Hitler. Memory of the Third Reich. History and memory of East Germany. Contemporary Germany. 20th century German film and literature. Memorials and memorialisation in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Professor Niven currently supervises the following MA and PhD dissertations, some of which are financed through the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership or through NTU bursaries:

  • Ruth Gibson (MA), Art at the Childrens’ Block in Auschwitz
  • Catrin Harris (PhD), How is the Holocaust taught in Primary Schools?
  • Elizabeth Kendrick (PhD), The digitisation and virtual future of Holocaust survivor testimony at the National Holocaust Centre and Museum
  • Daniel Long (PhD), A Disaster in Lübeck Bay: The Cap Arcona, Concentration Camp Inmates and the RAF, 1944-45
  • Anthony Peppiatt (MA), Britain's Buried Holocaust Documentary; Why was "Memory of the Camps" not broadcast for almost four decades?
  • Joan Salter (MA), A Comparative study of the Mission to Rescue the Jewish children living under Nazi Rule in Germany and Austria and those living in Occupied France.
  • Amy Williams (PhD), The Kindertransport in International Perspective
  • Hannah Wilson (PhD), Changing Topographies: The Re-conceptualisation of Sobibor Memorial Site

External activity

Professor Niven regularly acts as external examiner for PhD and MA candidates at British and European universites, as well as universities outside of Europe. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops nationally and internationally.

Sponsors and collaborators

Professor Niven is currently producing a digital exhibition “Legacies of the Holocaust” in collaboration with the National Holocaust Centre and Museum, of whose academic advisory board he is a founding member.

Publications

On a supposed taboo: flight and refugees from the east in GDR film and television. Niven W, German Life and Letters, 2012, 65 (2), 216-236

From countermemorial to combimemorial: developments in German memorialisation. Niven W, Journal Of War And Culture Studies, 2012, 5 (3)

Die Wilhelm Gustloff: Geschichte und erinnerung eines untergangs. Niven W, Mitteldeutscher Verlag, 2011

The figure of the soldier as resister: German film and the difficult legacy of Claus Schenck Graf Von Stauffenberg. Niven W, Journal Of War And Culture Studies 2, Journal of War and Cultural Studies, 2009, 2 (2), 181-193

The GDR, Weimar classicism and resistance at Buchenwald. Niven W, Temoigner entre Histoire et Memoire, 2009, 104, 175-190

See all of Bill Niven's publications...

Press expertise

National Socialism. Hitler. Memory of the Third Reich. History and memory of East Germany. Contemporary Germany. 20th century German film and literature. Memorials and memorialisation in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Course(s) I teach on

  • Barbed wire
    Postgraduate taught | Full-time | 2017

    https://www.ntu.ac.uk/study-and-courses/courses/find-your-course/arts-humanities/pg/2017-18/holocaust-and-genocide-by-research

  • Magnifying glass on books
    Postgraduate taught | Full-time | 2017

    https://www.ntu.ac.uk/study-and-courses/courses/find-your-course/arts-humanities/pg/2017-18/history