Susan A. Crane

Susan A. Crane


Susan A. Crane is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Arizona.

My research focuses on thematic issues of collective memory, historical consciousness and historical photography, particularly in modern German history. 

In Nothing Happened.  A History (Stanford University Press, 2021) I explore what people really mean when they say "nothing happened," or "nothing is the way it was," or "nothing has changed" -- by looking at how the word "Nothing" is used to express historical consciousness.  Topics include photographs and postcards depicting ruins in postwar Europe; blank books and forms; UrbEx photography; historical landmark signs; When Prophecies Fail; histories of injustices and more.  For an introduction, see my discussion with Peter Fritzsche at the Seminary Coop Bookstore.

Editor, The Cultural History of Memory in the Nineteenth Century (Bloomsbury Publishers, 2020). I authored an introduction that offers an overview of memory in its multitudinous aspects of nineteenth-century cultures, emphasizing the role of new visual technology, particularly photography, in capturing the presence of the past.

Stuff I'm always thinking about: theory and practice of historical representation, including historical consciousness and historical subjectivity; museums and historical preservation; historical narrative; photographs as historical objects; the implicit caption; 19th- and 20th-century German and modern European intellectual and cultural history.

The Reading List: suggestions for further reading about intellectuals, Nothing and historical narrative

Book Launch of Nothing at the Seminary Coop Bookstore, Chicago!

Podcasts about Nothing: Jana Byars on New Books Network; Joey Ayoub on The Fire These Times

Reviews of Nothing: Lisa Gitelman in the American Historical ReviewAnna Karla for INTH

Selected Articles

“Photographs at/of/and Museums” in Gil Pasternak, ed., Handbook of Photography Studies (Bloomsbury Publishers, Jan. 2020).

"Take Nothing but Photos, Leave Nothing but Footprints”: How-to Guides for Ruin Photography," in Siobhan Lyons, ed., Ruin Porn and the Obsession with Decay (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). 

"The Pictures in the Background: History, Memory and Photography in the Museum" in Joan Tumblety, ed., Memory and History: Understanding Memory as Source and Subject (Routledge, 2013).

"Of Photographs, Puns and Presence" in Ranjan Ghosh and Ethan Kleinberg, eds., Presence: Philosophy, History and Cultural Theory for the 21st Century (Cornell University Press, 2013).

"The Presence of the Past as Visual Experience, 1800/1900/2000.” Sylvia Paletschek and Barbara Korte, eds., Popular History Then and Now (Transcript Press, History in Popular Culture series, 2012).

"Choosing Not To Look: Representation, Repatriation and Holocaust Atrocity Photography." History & Theory 47, no. 3 (October 2008): 309-330; reprinted in Highlights from History and Theory: A Selection of Articles from 2005-2009, May 2009.

"Historical Subjectivity: A Review Essay," Journal of Modern History 78:2 (June, 2006), pp. 434-456.

Courses Regularly Taught

HIST 374: The Holocaust in History and Memory

Missing file.

HIST 374 students met with Bryan Davis, director of the Tucson Holocaust History Center, and survivor Christine Tanz


HIST 375: Histories of Memories

HIST 375A: Histories of Memories in the 19th Century 

HIST 412B: The Role of the Intellectual in 20th Century Europe

Missing file.

HST 412B students with special guest Noam Chomsky, March 2019


HIST 496H: Honors Senior Capstone Research Seminar, Histories of Memories

HIST 490: The Philosophy of History

HIST 695K: Graduate Colloquium in Historiography