History Department
History Department

UT History Graduate Student Nadine Ross Wins University Three Minute Thesis Competition

Wed, March 1, 2017
UT History Graduate Student Nadine Ross Wins University Three Minute Thesis Competition
Nadine Ross, Ph.D. Candidate in History, University of Texas at Austin

Story by Rebecca Adeline Johnston, Ph.D Student, UT History Dept.

The Department of History is proud to announce that history graduate student Nadine Ross has been chosen as the winner of the University of Texas at Austin’s Three Minute Thesis competition. She will now go on to compete at the regional level in Annapolis, MD on March 4. Congratulations, Nadine!

Nadine’s winning entry drew on her research exploring the complexities of racial and national identity in Nazi Germany. For the contest, she highlighted the story of Hans, the son of a French Algerian father and German mother who grew up in the Rhineland. Due to his mixed-race heritage, he was continually told growing up that he was “not German.” Soon enough, however, Hans found himself proudly asserting his German identity in the most unlikely of circumstances: as a conscripted Wehrmacht soldier held in a Soviet POW camp.

“So when we reflect on Han's experiences in the Wehrmacht,” Nadine explains, “we're not talking about a citizen who was fighting for the fatherland. Rather, we're talking about a subject forced to fight for the very fatherland that rejected him.”

Nadine also highlighted the importance of her research to contemporary debates on citizenship and national identity taking place around the world. “I believe that if we take moments to reflect on the stories of individuals like Hans,” she argues, “we can be able to perhaps provide some historical perspective that is needed in these discussions.”

Originally developed at the University of Queensland in 2008, Three Minute Thesis encourages graduate students to frame their highly-specialized research in a way that is accessible to a general audience. As the contest website puts it: “An 80,000 word thesis would take 9 hours to present. Their time limit... 3 minutes.” This is UT-Austin’s first year participating in the contest.

Watch Nadine give her winning talk in the History Department’s internal competition here. Footage of the full university-wide competition is also available to view.

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