Picturing the Volksgemeinschaft: Women and Labor in Nazi Photojournalism (M.A. History of Art Dissertation, 2014)

Abstract: To resolve the social crises of the Weimar period, the NSDAP attempted to remove middle-class women from the workplace upon its seizure of power in 1933. Six years later, it would make a concentrated effort to coerce this same population back into the labor force. To help accomplish both of these goals, propaganda was subtly inserted into mass media outlets, such as the illustrated press, with the goal of swaying middle-class women into or out of employment. Since policies, but not underlying ideology, regarding middle-class women and their employment shifted according to national economic needs, the study of how this population was addressed through mass media serves to illustrate how dependent the regime was on their cooperation. The illustrated press in particular presented images of the national community, or Volksgemeinschaft, as an illusion of social harmony in order to manipulate the middle-class population into complacency with Nazi ideology and employment policies. By making appeals to emotion, rather than reason, the Party attempted to coerce women into and out of employment by depicting the roles it wished them to take on as being in service to the greater good of the Volksgemeinschaft, expecting them to engage in whatever behaviour was it currently presenting as ‘correct’. Historical data shows that these propaganda applications were not particularly effective; however, by examining how middle-class women were addressed by illustrated media, we can determine some of the boundaries within which meaning was constructed and represented by the Nazi Party.

Mother of the State, State of the Mother (B.A. Art History Capstone, 2013)

Submitted for completion of BA Art History degree at Cleveland State University; essay and associated historiography. An examination of depictions of women and motherhood in Weimar and Nazi German political propaganda.

Curatorial/Education Intern, Cleveland Museum of Art, 2011

Completed in-depth research into the provenance, material, content, and context of objects in the CMA’s modern collection using publications and CMA archive materials, and compiled this research into object reports and short essays for use in the museum’s ARTLens and Gallery One augmented reality programs (launched later in 2011).