Sie sind hier: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2020/21 Dr. John Eicher

Dr. John Eicher

(c) Julia Whicker
Pensylvania State University, Altoona
External Junior Fellow (Marie S. Curie FCFP)
September 2020 - August 2021

Raum 02 011
Tel. +49 (0) 761-203 97425
Fax +49 (0) 761-203 97451



2015                      Ph.D., History, University of Iowa.

2009                      MA, History, University of Iowa.

2005                      BA, Interdisciplinary (History, Religion, Sociology), Goshen College.


2016-17                Postdoctoral Fellow, German Historical Institute, Washington DC.

2017                     D. C. Spriestersbach Dissertation Prize in the Humanities and Fine Arts, University of Iowa Graduate College (awarded biennially, the recipient is the University’s nominee for the 2017 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award).

2016                     Dissertation Prize in German-Canadian Studies, Spletzer Family Foundation and University of Winnipeg German-Canadian Studies Program.

2014-15                Ballard and Seashore Dissertation Fellow, University of Iowa.

2012-13                Dissertation Fellow, Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, Freie Universität Berlin.

2013                     Research Grant, Mennonite Historical Society.

2011                     Intensive Language Course Grant, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

2010                     Constant H. Jacquet Research Award, Religious Research Association.

2010-12                Crossing Borders Fellowship, UI International Programs.


Publikationen (Auswahl)

  • Exiled Among Nations: German and Mennonite Mythologies in a Transnational Age, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press 2020.

  • “Rustic Reich: Nazi Impressions of South America’s German-Speaking Enclaves.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 60, no. 4 (2018): 998-1028.

  • “A Sort of Homecoming: The German Refugee Crisis of 1929.” German Studies Review 40, no. 2 (2017): 333-352.

  • ‘Every Family on Their Own’?: Iowa’s Mennonite Farm Communities and the 1980s Farm Crisis.” Journal of Mennonite Studies 35 (2017): 81-102.

  • “Comparative Narratives: Russlanddeutsch Migration Stories.” In Jenseits der "Volksgruppe": Neue Perspektiven auf die Russlanddeutschen zwischen Russland, Deutschland und Amerika [Beyond the "Volksgruppe": New Perspectives on Russian Germans between Russia, Germany, and America]. Edited by Victor Dönninghaus, Jannis Panagiotidis, and Hans-Christian Petersen. Berlin: De Gruyter 2017, 73-85.


The Sword Outside, the Plague Within: Influenza, War, and Religion, 1918-1920

This book project compares the 1918 influenza pandemic’s cultural effects on rural communities in the British isles and Central Europe in order to understand popular perceptions of science, religion, at folk cures at the beginning of western medicine’s “golden age.” Based on archival research and approximately 1,000 handwritten survivors’ accounts, I hypothesize that: 1) Interpretations of the flu varied between urban/rural contexts and across national/confessional lines. 2) Rural communities placed greater trust in local leaders than in overburdened national authorities. 3) In contrast to modern Europeans’ dependency on a welfare state, rural Europeans in 1918 had fewer expectations that governments were responsible for citizens’ health, which enhanced social stability during the crisis.