Tobias Boes University of Notre Dame

Tobias Boes

student advising

Senior Thesis Projects:

Monika GrzesiakMonika Grzesiak (2009-2010)
I am a 2010 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where I completed a senior thesis on “The Unconscious Mind in Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening“  under the direction of Professor Boes.
In my thesis project, I used German playwright Frank Wedekind’s unpublished journals to defend an alternative interpretation of his play, Spring Awakening. I was able to gather materials for my project in the Wedekind archives in Germany and Switzerland with the support of university research grants. My thesis built on this research and argued that Wedekind’s play, beyond critiquing prudish bourgeois values, presented an exploration of nihilism and questioned the existence of free will.
After graduation, I was awarded a one-year Fulbright research fellowship to study at the Freie Universität in Berlin. I then returned to Notre Dame to obtain my Master’s degree in English Literature. My research interests are in comparative approaches to German, Polish, and American literature with a focus in post-WWII literature and Holocaust and survival narratives.


Marcus Liddell (2013-2014)
I graduated in 2014 from the University of Notre Dame, following the completion of a senior thesis under the direction of Professor Boes titled “The Persistent Past: Notgeld and Proto-Fascist Sentiments in Germany Between the World Wars”.
In my thesis project, I analyzed a collection of emergency currency notes from the period of the Weimar Republic, making the argument that the middle class in Germany, the primary collectors of such bank notes, were offered and collected imagery that supported volkish ideology, a proto-fascist movement whose ideas were largely adopted by the Nazi party in their successful bid for power in Germany. I received a university grant to present my thesis at the German Undergraduate Research Conference at Illinois Wesleyan University.
Following my graduation, I accepted a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Germany for the 2014-2015 school year. My plans immediately following the completion of my Fulbright term include teaching secondary education in the US.

IMG_3927Caitlin O’Connor (2015-2016)
I am a 2016 graduate of the University Notre Dame. Under the direction of Professor Boes, I completed a senior capstone for my minor in European Studies titled “Inheriting Hell in Poetry from the Great War.” My work built upon themes introduced to me in a course taught by Professor Boes in the Notre Dame London Program in the fall of 2014. In my senior project I analyzed the use of classical descriptions of hell in poems by the British war poets Wilfred Owen and Robert Graves. Tracing the influence of the hell descent narratives found in the Odyssey, the Aeneid, and the Inferno, I argue that these poets found traditional devices to be an appropriate and intellectually rich way of conveying the weight of new, modern warfare. My readings of these poems push against those scholars, particularly literary critic Paul Fussell, who claim that writers from the Great War rejected the tools of their literary predecessors, finding the war to be impossible to comprehend through traditional means.
In addition to my capstone, I benefited from Professor Boes’s advising during the completion of my history senior thesis. Professor Boes supervised my application for a travel and research grant from the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, which enabled me to undertake research in the photographic archives of the Imperial War Museum, London. The Nanovic Institute awarded my application the 2015 R. Stephen and Ruth Barrett Family Grant for the Best Undergraduate Travel and Research Proposal. The final result of this primary research, “Bringing the War Home: Witnessing, Remembering, and British Photography During World War I,” was awarded the 2016 History Department Prize for Best Senior Thesis.
After graduation, I am moving to San Francisco where I have accepted a position in Gap Inc.’s competitive training program for fashion merchandising and production.

Directed Readings:

William Stewart (Spring 2012)
Graduating from Notre Dame in 2012, I studied in Professor Boes’ seminar The Crises of Modernity and, later, participated in a directed readings that dealt with the essays of Thomas Mann.  The directed readings were in direct support of my senior thesis, “Irony, Dialectic, and Aporia: The Complexities of Artistic Genius in Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus, written under the direction of Professors Mark Roche and Denis Robichaud.
In addition, Professor Boes advised me during my application for and receipt of a travel research grant through the Nanovic Institute for European Studies.  The topic of the research was W. G. Sebald’s Die Ringe des Saturn, and involved a week in Great Britain’s East Anglia along the coast of the North Sea.
I am currently living in Berlin and studying for a Master’s in German Studies at the Freie Universität under the auspices of Middlebury College.  My research interest is 20th century German intellectual history, especially the Frankfurt School and its influence on American thinking.


Kevin Fox (Spring 2014)
During the spring semester of my sophomore year at Notre Dame, I participated in a directed reading on Collective Memory and the Memorial Culture of the Great War with Professor Boes. I am spending the summer of 2014 working at Round Hill Capital GmbH in Berlin, sponsored by Notre Dame’s Student International Business Council. After that, I will move to Heidelberg, where I will spend the fall semester of my junior year as an exchange student at the Ruprecht Karl University.