Loyola University Chicago

Department of History

Social History

DENNIS, David B.

Title/s:  Professor

Office #:  Crown Center 505

Phone: 773.508.2234


CV Link: Dennis CV

External Webpage: https://sites.google.com/a/etl.luc.edu/dbd/Home-Page

E-Commons: https://works.bepress.com/david-dennis/


David B. Dennis (Ph.D., UCLA, 1991; B.A., University of Wisconsin, 1984) is a Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago where he teaches courses on Western Humanities, Modern European Cultural and Intellectual History, and the Cultural History of Computing.

Having studied with scholars such as George Mosse, Harvey Goldberg, Robert Wohl, Eugen Weber, Saul Friedlander, Robert Winter, and others, Dennis’s own scholarship has focused on German cultural and political history. His Beethoven in German Politics, 1870-1989 (Yale University Press, 1996) examines evocations and uses of Beethoven’s biography and music by all of the major parties of 19th- and 20th-century German political culture.  The book attracted considerable international attention and was reviewed in both scholarly and popular media, including The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Guardian, the New Statesman and Society, the Frankfurther Allgemeine Zeitung, Music and Letters, the American Historical Review, the German Studies Review, and other publications.    

Dennis’s most recent book Inhumanities: Nazi Interpretations of Western Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2012) provides an intense and comprehensive examination of the main publication of the Nazi Party, the Völkischer Beobachter, showing how that newspaper interpreted the History of Western culture, from the Ancient Greeks through the Weimar Era, in the context of Nazi ideology. It has received very positive critical attention from the Times Literary Supplement, the Literary Review, and other press and media outlets.  He has written numerous book chapters and articles appearing in a variety of journals including, the International Journal of Humanities, the Journal of Political and Military Sociology, and the German Studies Review.

His current interdisciplinary project, The History of Computing and Its Cultures co-authored with George Thiruvathukal, Department of Computer Science, LUC, surveys the stages of computing history using critical historiographical methods to explore the relationships between these developments and their social and cultural contexts. It is scheduled for publication with Taylor & Francis in 2019.

Dennis has been recognized for excellence in teaching and was a recipient of a Master Teacher Award in the College of Arts and Sciences in both 2000 and 2003 and the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Freshmen in 2015. In 2010, he organized and moderated the film series Made in West/East Germany: Chicago-wide Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of German Reunification in conjunction with the Goethe-Institut Chicago, DePaul University, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois-Chicago. In 1993, he hosted the Topography of Terror: Gestapo, SS, and Reichssicherheitshauptamt on the Prinz-Albrecht Terrain Exhibit at Loyola University, in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Chicago and the German Consulate in Chicago. Dennis also served as the Graduate Program Director in the History Department from 2011-2014. 


Research Interests

Modern German History, History of Western Humanities, Music and History, Beethoven Studies, History of National Socialism, History of Computing

Courses Taught

History 101 Western Civilization: The Evolution of Western Ideas and Institutions to the 17th Century
History 102 Western Civilization: The Evolution of Western Ideas and Institutions since the 17th Century
History 106 Modern Western Civilization: The Humanities in Context since the 17th Century
History 267A 19th-Century German Culture and Politics
History 267B 20th-Century German Culture and Politics
History 279 History of Computing
History 300 Modern Europe and The Arts
History 321 Nineteenth-Century Europe
History 321 A Germany in the 19th Century
History 336 Germany in the 20th Century
History 327 Europe Since 1945
History 410 Cultural and Intellectual Histories of Modern Europe
History 433 Modern German History and Historiography
History 436 Culture and Politics in 20th-Century Europe
History 436 The Novel and 19th-Century German History
History 436 Cultural Studies and Modern German History
History 436 The Art and Craft of Historical Writing
History 540 The Novel and 20th-Century Europe

Selected Publications

Most publications can be found on eCommons

Representative publications include:

Inhumanities: Nazi Interpretations of Western Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Beethoven in German Politics, 1870 – 1989 (Yale University Press, 1996).

“The Most German of all German Operas: Die Meistersinger Through the Lens of the Third Reich” in Nicholas Vazsonyi (ed.), Wagner’s Meistersinger: Performance, History, Representation (University of Rochester Press, 2003).

“Beethoven At Large: Reception in Literature, the Arts, Philosophy, and Politics” in Glenn Stanley (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Beethoven (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

“Moving Academic Department Functions to Social Networks and Clouds: Initial Experiences” in Computing in Science and Engineering, co-authored with George K. Thiruvathukal and Konstantin Läufer (Vol. 13, No.5, Sept-Oct 2011), pp. 84-89.