Davis, Belinda J. (Belinda Davis, Belinda Joy Davis)
Davis, Belinda J. (Belinda Davis, Belinda Joy Davis)
Education: Wesleyan University, B.A., 1981; University of Michigan, M.A., 1987, Ph.D., 1992.
Historian, educator, and writer. Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, associate professor of history. Consultant for the television PBS/BBC series The Great War and the Shaping of Our Century, episode six, "Collapse," Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), 1995; member of the advisory board for H-German Online Listserv, 1993-1996.
German Women's History Study Group, Northeast Working Group on German Women's History and Culture, Conference Group on Central European History, Berkshire Association of Women Historians, German History Society (Great Britain), German Studies Association, American Historical Association, Alumni of the Freie Universität Berlin.
Recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including Max-Planck-Institute für Geschichte research fellowship, 1994, 1996; Volkswagen Foundation, research fellowship, 2005-06.
Contributor to books, including Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, and Berlin, 1914-1919, volume 1, edited by J.M. Winter and J.-L. Robert, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England) 1996; Society, Culture, and the State in Germany, 1870-1930, edited by Geoff Eley, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1996; The Sex of Things: Gender and Consumption in Historical Perspective, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1996; Difficult Memories, edited by M. Morris and J. Weaver, Peter Lang (New York, NY), 2002; Home Front—Battle Front: Military and Gender Relations in the Two World Wars, edited by K. Hagermann and S. Schüler-Springorum, Berg (New York, NY), 2002; Berlin—Washington, 1800-2000: Capital Cities, Cultural Representation, and National Identities, edited by C. Mauch and A. Daum, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 2005; Coming to Terms with the Past in West Germany: The 1960s, edited by P. Gassert and A. Steinweis, Berghahn (New York, NY), 2006; and Terrorismus in der Bundesrepublik. Medien, Staat und Subkulturen in den 1970er Jahren, edited by H.G. Haupt and others, M. Campus (Frankfurt, Germany), 2006. Contributor to American and foreign journals, including Michigan Feminist Studies, Urban History, Contemporains, Archiv für Sozialgeschichte, Radical History Review, Loccumer Protokolle, and Vorgänge, Mitteilungsblatt des Instituts für soziale Bewegungen. Also reader for Journal of Modern History, German History, Journal of the History of Ideas, Signs, Public Culture, Social Politics, Journal of Women's History, Women's History Review, Social and Cultural History, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, the University of Michigan Press, the University of North Carolina Press, Stanford University Press, the University Press of New England, and Bedford/St. Martin's Press.
In her first book, Home Fires Burning: Food, Politics, and Everyday Life in World War I Berlin, historian Belinda J. Davis examines German civilians, especially the country's poorer women, and how they influenced German domestic and military policies during World War I. Focusing primarily on the city of Berlin, Davis writes of how protests by poor women over food and other shortages erupted into "street scenes" throughout Berlin and various other German cities. As a result, the general populace banded together to make a united stand with common demands on the government for assistance. Surprisingly, the government acted quickly to provide aid to the beleaguered people, which according to Davis, resulted not only in legitimizing the people's demands but also forging a new relationship between the government and the people. The author further contends that this new relationship empowered the people not the government and eventually played an important role in the government's eventual downfall at the end of the war. The book includes thirty-six illustrations, such as political cartoons, photographs, postcards, and maps.
In a review of Home Fires Burning in the Women's Review of Books, Marion A. Kaplan wrote that the author's "almost anthropological attention to the details of everyday life enlivens and enriches her study." Kaplan went on to write: "The descriptions of everyday life invoke a gritty reality, but they are often filled with color and wit." Other critics also praised the book, including Journal of Modern History contributor Maureen Healy, who noted: "Home Fires Burning is at once a history of everyday life, a history of food, and a shrewd analysis of the way that both shape politics." Leisa Meyer, writing in the Journal of Women's History, commented: "Davis's study provides a blueprint for future work on wartime homefronts and especially calls for scholars of women and gender and war to broaden their definition of ‘politics’ to incorporate the many ways in which women's actions and the representation of these actions play a critical role in political decision-making."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Historian, winter, 2002, Arden Bucholz, review of Home Fires Burning: Food, Politics, and Everyday Life in World War I Berlin, p. 441.
Journal of Modern History, June, 2002, Maureen Healy, review of Home Fires Burning, p. 440.
Journal of Women's History, summer, 2002, Leisa Meyer, review of Home Fires Burning, p. 162.
Women's Review of Books, January, 2001, Marion A. Kaplan, review of Home Fires Burning, p. 16.