Professor Winson Chu

Curriculum Vitae

Winson Chu is Associate Professor of Modern Central European History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Since 2007, he has offered undergraduate and graduate courses on the world wars, National Socialism, Germany after 1945, genocide and ethnic cleansing, and national historical narratives. Dr. Chu studied history and German literature at the University of California, San Diego, and he spent his Junior year abroad in Göttingen, Germany. He received his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in 2006. His book The German Minority in Interwar Poland was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012 in the Series of the German Historical Institute (Washington, DC). He is co-author of "A Sonderweg through Eastern Europe? The Varieties of German Rule in Poland during the Two World Wars," which appeared in the journal German History and was awarded the German History Article Prize.

Research project at the Kolleg

Germans, Poles, and Jews in the Making of the "Lodzermensch": Competing Nationalisms in Łódź, 1880-2009

Dr. Chu is currently working on a history of the Polish city of Łódź with a focus on the competition between German, Polish, and Jewish nationalisms in the twentieth century. The project explores the possibilities and limits of German-Polish-Jewish interaction on a (trans)local, national und European level. The local stereotype of an ethnically undefined "lodzermensch" is used as a guiding theme to help understand national utopian thought on Łódź in different contexts and places. Above all, this project aims to see how changing ethnic activist and multiculturalist strategies developed across political caesuras and reflected broader trends in German and Polish understandings of nationhood and modernity. Serving as narrative bookends are the negative portrayals of multiethnicity in the 1880s and the optimistic but no less contested views of multiculturalism in 2009.

Main areas of research

  • German-Polish relations 
  • Ethnic minorities and diasporas 
  • Politics of memory and history in Central Europe 
  • Urban history

Positions and Memberships

  • American Historical Association 
  • Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies 
  • Central European History Society 
  • German History Society 
  • German Studies Association 
  • Kommission für die Geschichte der Deutschen in Polen 
  • Polish Studies Association