Generally speaking, my research topic will be on the use of children in Nazi Photography, particularly in the ways children are portrayed with Hitler, and how emotion and/or physiognomy portray a certain message to the viewer. I have come across a few different avenues which I can take this project, so as I am reading I will come to a decision based on what I find the most compelling. On way I could take the project is doing a transnational comparison between Hitler and Stalin as it pertains to children and photography, and discern what is nationally distinctive about Germany. Another could be examining how Nazis photographed children during the war, particularly how they tried to illicit responses through emotion (specifically of anti-Bolshevist photography of starving Soviet children).
One of my mentors actually suggested this topic for my research project, as she is researching the subject, but I have be given the flexibility to take it in my own direction. I have always been interested in Nazi Germany, and this was an aspect of its history that I have never read about or considered before. What excites me about this project is being able to look at history through the lens of the photographer, and trying to discern what response they were trying to evoke within the political and social situation at the time. Most of all, I am excited to discover a facet of history that has not really been written about or studied in the past.
What I am most nervous about is probably finding, and translating, German sources. Many primary documents belong to German libraries, although I have been lucky to have accessed a few in the States. Although I have taken 3 semesters of German, I am not yet fluent, and it is harder to skim a book for important information when you don’t know all the vocabulary. Apart from that, I am making headway on my research project, and look forward to delving deeper into my topic!