Journal Articles

Journal of Global History

“A Benchmark for the Environment: Big Science and ‘Artificial’ Geophysics in the Global 1950s,” Journal of Global History 15, no. 1 (2020): 149-168.

Security concerns during the early Cold War prompted United States strategists to solicit worldwide assistance in studying Earth’s physical environment. Comprehensive geophysical knowledge required cooperation between researchers on every part of the planet, leading practitioners to tout transnational Earth science—despite direct military applications in an age of submarines and ballistic missiles—as a nonpolitical form of peaceful universalism. This article examines the 1957-1958 International Geophysical Year as a powerful fulcrum in the transfer of ideas about Earth’s global environment from Western security establishments to conservationists worldwide. For eighteenth months, tens of thousands of researchers across every continent pooled resources for data collection to create a scientific benchmark for future comparisons. Illuminating Earth as dynamic and interconnected, participants robustly conceptualized humanity’s emergence as a geophysical force, capable of ‘artificially’ modifying the natural world. Studies of anthropogenic geophysics, including satellites, nuclear fallout, and climate change, conditioned the global rise of environmentalism.

 
 

German Studies Review

“Terms of Racial Endearment: Nazi Categorization of Mennonites in Ideology and Practice, 1929-1945,” German Studies Review 44, no. 1 (2021): 27-46.

The Christian Mennonite denomination maintained a privileged position within National Socialist thought and policy through its conceptual and legal association with an evolving series of racial categories. Nearly all the world's half-million Mennonites lived outside German borders between the World Wars. This allowed a small number of church leaders and sympathetic scholars to shape their image within Germany, especially as Hitler's wartime expansionism brought a fourth of the denomination's members under Nazi rule. Casting Mennonitism as part of one or more subgroups within a larger Germanic whole benefitted most adherents in regions administered by the Third Reich while simultaneously enabling their enrollment in propaganda and empire building.

 

Antisemitism Studies

“The Making of a Holocaust Denier: Ingrid Rimland, Mennonites, and Gender in White Supremacy, 1945-2000,” Antisemitism Studies 5, no. 2 (2021): 233-265.

The novelist Ingrid Rimland became a prominent Holocaust denier in North America during the 1990s. Before embracing neo-Nazism, Rimland won acclaim within the Mennonite church—the Christian denomination in which she was raised—for her writings about women’s hardships in the Soviet Union. Her debut novel, The Wanderers: The Saga of Three Women Who Survived (1977), reflected widespread efforts to position feminized Mennonite suffering as comparable to Jewish persecution under Nazism, coupled with silence about the role individual Mennonites played in the Holocaust. The church’s male-dominated elite offered Rimland limited structural support as a female writer, however, and she struggled to sustain her literary career while raising a son with disabilities. Patriarchal constraints alongside Mennonite leaders’ failure to address historic antisemitism helped allow her drift into white supremacy.