May 25, 2021
My research investigates how nineteenth-century Bavarian cultural and social understandings of death, burial, and the corpse changed with the establishment of the morgue. I am so grateful to my hosts at LMU München who helped me acquire digitized documents when the archives were still closed. While working digitally was helpful, I realized that I needed to be open to new ways to dig deeper into my research topic. To do so, I traveled to the provincial areas of Munich and Bavaria and spent time hiking outside mainstream areas to see the very districts on which my dissertation focuses. Even in the midst of Covid-19, I have been able to immerse myself in my surroundings, see important sights for my research, and experience Bavarian culture. I even learned how to pack sausage!
Although the pandemic prevented me from sitting in an archive for the first three months of my stay in Munich, the Fulbright Fellowship pushed me to see and experience the world around me. While things are a bit different with masks, partitions, and time limits, over the last few months my research has mostly returned to normal, and I have been able to work in the archives in person. I hope to continue my archival research until the end of my trip. Overall, this Fulbright experience has taught me new ways of looking at my topic, its relevance to our present predicament, and how to approach the research process differently. That is all for now – Alyssa signing off from Munich!