I was educated at the University of Münster, Liverpool John Moores University, and the Université Rennes II, gaining Master degrees in Modern and Contemporary History, Cultural Studies, and Irish Studies. Before returning to academia as a lecturer, I worked as a project manager and senior editor for a couple of New Media companies. In my current position as a Lecturer for EAP and Business English at the University of Applied Sciences Münster, I am responsible for several Bachelor and Master programmes, including curriculum and material development, lecturing, quality control, and thesis supervision. I am also strongly involved in all matters regarding research methods and academic writing at the faculty, with a focus on research development and ethics.
My own research, however, is grounded in a very different field, namely in social, cultural, and community history; it focuses predominantly on memory and identity issues regarding political violence, terrorism, and intrastate conflicts, with an emphasis on Europe and North America. I see myself as a sociocultural historian, specialising in the areas of sociology, psychology, and sociocultural anthropology in the context of conflict situations in modern times. I am particularly fascinated by the aetiology of young people's responses to past conflict situations, dealing with themes of memory and identity, specialising in the issue of transgenerational and transnational memories and their influence on the creation of bi-national and bi-cultural identities within the descendants of immigrants.
These collective memories are often based on the perceived existence of a collective "origin" identity which needs to be preserved; in times of political or social conflict, this could motivate the offspring of immigrants to identify with the principles of terrorist groups working against the country of residence. These observations have brought up two research projects: While my main interest focuses on the experiences of adolescents of Irish background growing up in 1970s Britain, I also try to examine the attitudes of Irish American teenagers towards the Troubles in the 1970s and 1980s. The principal idea is that these studies might lead to a better understanding of bi-cultural identities in times of conflict and war.
Further research interests are terrorism and gender, inter-community relations, post-conflict reconstruction, and the development of social policies regarding the aforementioned issues, including migrant integration and assimilation. I am involved with some related research networks, e.g. the groups "Radicalisation and Violence" and "Transnational Memory and Identity" at the Council for European Studies, the Conflict Research Society, the Association of Critical Heritage Studies, the Society for Terrorism Research, and the British International Studies Association.
Additionally, I am interested, inter alia, in all things to do with criminal psychology as well as crowd psychology, in particular crowd responses to perceived threats at major events.