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Our research highlights diversity and non-simultaneity as characteristics of European developments between the late eighteenth and the twentieth century in a global perspective. Our methodological focus is on comparative approaches: stepping back from the familiar and self-evident, questioning common hypotheses and national historiographical traditions and raising new questions – these strengths of comparative history, the history of transfers and entangled history are what make them so fascinating. A second focus is on the history of culture and experiences.

Our team is involved in interdisciplinary projects at the Faculty of Philosophy, such as the SFB 948. At the same time, the Chair supports individual projects and is open to multiple historical approaches and topics.

Current Research Projects

Andreas Bolte

Temporal Practices and Imperial Rule in British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, ca. 1900-1940

The project wants to investigate the relation between temporal practices (like planning and scheduling) and imperial rule in early twentieth century Southeast Asia by taking a closer look at the rubber industry and its role in the colonial economy.

Andreas Eder

Untruths and Falsehoods. Discussing Political Lies in Germany and the United Kingdom 1880-1914

The PhD Project examines discussions about political lies, accusations of lying, and debates in parliaments, courtrooms, and during election campaigns about the importance of truth in politics.

Valentina Escherich

Knowledge History of Female Homosexuality (Germany and Italy around 1900)

Valentina Escherich examines the category of female homosexuality in terms of its construction, popularisation and politicisation in negotiation processes about criminal law, marriage, the women's movement and prostitution.

Sebastian Fahner

The Socialist Labour Movement’s Political Use of History in Spain and the Habsburg Monarchy, 1890–1914

My PhD project studies the political interpretations of history in the socialist labour movements in the Habsburg monarchy and Spain between 1890 and 1914. I explore how these organisations positioned themselves between different national pasts and an internationalist future.

David Fetzer

Political Parties and Defensive Associations in Bohemia and Ireland, 1885-1914

The project analyses the relationship between political parties and defensive associations in Bohemia and Ireland between 1885 and 1914. It rests on the assumption that the relationship between political parties and self-styled non-political defensive associations such as the Bund der Deutschen in Böhmen and the Irish Orange Order serves as an entry point for analysing the nationalist movements in both regions.

Claudia Gatzka

Die „Wiege der Zivilisation“ als imperiale Destination. Westlicher Tourismus ans östliche Mittelmeer, 1840–1930

Das Habilitationsprojekt untersucht westliche Selbstverortungen im Rahmen der touristischen Erkundung antiker Geschichte und orientalisierter Gegenwarten am östlichen Mittelmeer. Es fragt nach nationalen und sozialen Eigenlogiken, nach Interaktion und Abgrenzung bei der Konstruktion touristischer Destinationen im Zeitalter imperialer Massenkultur.

Claudia Gatzka

Gut vertreten? Politische Repräsentationen des „Volkes“ in der Bundesrepublik

Das Projekt erforscht, wie Wähler:innen und Gewählte seit den Anfängen der Bundesrepublik ihre Beziehungen zueinander gestalten. Es fragt nach Selbstinszenierungen und Repräsentationen „des Volkes“ und den zirkulierenden Vorstellungen guter politischer Vertretung vor und nach Beginn des Internetzeitalters.

Manuel Geist

An den Schnittstellen der Macht. Französische und britische Russlandexperten als politische Akteure in den internationalen Beziehungen (1870-1924).

Das Projekt beschäftigt sich mit der Rolle französischer und britischer Wissenschaftler und Journalisten, die als Wissensproduzenten, mediale Meinungsführer sowie als Berater und inoffizielle Agenten die Russlandpolitik ihrer Länder mitbestimmten.

Kristoffer Klammer

Authority and Globalisation. Referees and Umpires in Modern Sport, c. 1850-2000

The project examines referees (and umpires) as crucial and meanwhile indispensable actors in modern sport and modern societies. It proceeds from the observation that modern sport essentially depends on referees who make their decisions on the grounds of attributed authority, which needs constant justification and be accepted by all parties involved (athletes, officials, crowd).

Kristoffer Klammer

‘Autorität’ as a Basic Concept in the 20th Century

This project in the field of conceptual history examines the change in the semantics of ‘Autorität’ [‘authority’] in the 20th century. Its aim is the corresponding article for the large-scale project “Das 20. Jahrhundert in Grundbegriffen. Lexikon zur historischen Semantik in Deutschland [“The 20th Century in Basic Concepts. Lexicon on Historical Semantics in Germany”].

Jörn Leonhard (together with Ulrike von Hirschhausen)

Empires. A global history 1780-1920

Empires and imperialism are ubiquitous in our present times when we try to make sense of a polycentric world. As Empires are often characterised by multi-ethnic populations, the book focuses on the problem of ethnic diversity in various contexts in the long nineteenth century, particularly from subaltern perspectives. We focus on the question of how these actors reacted to measures and strategies of imperial rule and, thereby, highlight the global variety of individual options in dealing with empires.

Jörn Leonhard

The Crises of the World 1918-1937/41

The period between the long end of the First World War and the global outset of the Second World War between 1937 and 1941 was more than an interwar period. This book deconstructs simplified conceptions that see this period only as a prelude to the collapse of democracy and the escalation of violence. Instead, it looks for global convergences and divergences on various levels: internal and external attempts of creating an international order after 1918, revolutions and counter-revolutions in the context of a new rivalry of utopian visions of future, global challenges and experiences of capitalist and democratic resilience, cultural awakenings, and the development of global media which led to new perceptions of the world.

Anna Mashi

Statelessness in the Weimar Republic: An international History of Germany between National Sovereignty, International Politics and the Influence of Private Organisations 1922-1936

This PhD project studies the history of statelessness in Germany 1922-1936. Two observations were important in the development of the project: After the First World War, the model of the sovereign nation-state began to gain ground. At the same time, the importance of international politics and humanitarian organisations for national politics increased.

Elise Mazurié

Occupying Germany, representing France ? (Ex-Colonized soldiers in the French Army in the French Zone of Occupation (FZO) in Germany, 1945-mid sixties

This dissertation project deals with the Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian soldiers who were stationed in the French Occupation Zone in Germany from 1945 to 1955.

Tabea Nasaroff

Surveyors and Purveyors of Democracy. Political Scientists and the Public Sphere in the Federal Republic of Germany (1949–1989)

Political and social scientists made a significant contribution when it came to the question of establishing and maintaining the acceptance of the West German democracy amongst the population.

Friedemann Pestel

Global Players – Orchestral Tours and International Musical Life, 1880‒2000

During the 20th century, symphony orchestras turned into crucial international actors shaping cultural relations across the globe. This book project looks at the tours of German and Austrian orchestras in Europe, North and Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Case studies include the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, the Meiningen Hofkapelle, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Hungarica Marl. “Global Players” investigates the political driving forces of musical mobility, embedded in the economic and artistic contexts of international musical life.

Sebastian Petznick

Contre la vie chère: Cost of Living, Political Culture and Democracy in Interwar France, c. 1919-1937

This project is a study of consumer conflicts in interwar France. It focuses on conflicts over the cost of living, also known contemporaneously as "vie chère". These conflicts were characterized by a remarkable disparity between the potential and actual consumption possibilities available to individuals.

Helke Rausch

U.S.-American Philanthropies in 20th century Europe

U.S. American Philanthropy of the Carnegie Endowment, the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations in Western Europe from the 1920s to the 1970s was a multipolar political endeavour of science and scientific diplomacy. The varied emerging social sciences served as its intellectual, social and political vehicles: Philanthropists and European academics alike raised high expectations when it came to solving social problems and anticipating future dynamics of western societies based on social science expertise.

Luca Scalzini

„Eppure l’Africa ci è necessaria.“ The Società Geografica Italiana and its Imagined Futures of Italian Colonialism 1867–1920

This project analyses the imagined futures of Italian colonialism envisioned by the members of the Italian Geographical Society (IGS) in the liberal era of the Kingdom of Italy. It wants to investigate why this scientific society became a major proponent of Italian colonialism.

Pierre Schmuck

Democracy as an educational project? The Reichszentrale für Heimatdienst and Volkshochschulen in the Weimar Republic 1918/19-1933

The research project examines ideas and practices of civic and political education in the Weimar Republic. In political education, many contemporary actors after 1918/19 saw a way to fill the new political order with democratic thinking and action and thus to consolidate it in the long term.

Moritz Sorg

Foreignness and Monarchic Rule: Transnational Monarchy in the Age of Nationalism, 1815-1943

The research project examines the phenomenon of foreign monarchs and consorts in the nineteenth century, the First World War and the interwar period. Focusing on transnational marriage customs of European monarchy and the import of foreign princes as monarchs for newly founded nation-states in the nineteenth-century, the comparative analysis uses a wide range of European and global examples around central case studies of Belgium and Romania to examine the remarkable contiguity of monarchic foreignness and the rise of nationalism.

Jens Späth

Perception and effect of the southern European revolutions of 1820-23 in the German Confederation

The Mediterranean revolutions of the 1820s had a strong impact across Europe and America. The major European powers, including Prussia, discussed the events at several international congresses. At first glance, the revolutions in Spain, the two Sicilies, Portugal, Sardinia-Piedmont and Greece in the states of the German Confederation seemed to be received most intensively in Austria. In contrast, this project examines more closely the immediate, medium- and longer-term perceptions and effects of the southern European revolutions of 1820-23 in the southern German states of the German Confederation, with a special focus on transnationally circulating ideas and practices.

Johannes Staudt

Rural Cultures of Innovation and the Emergence of European Capitalism.

In order to improve our understanding of the emergence of sustained economic growth in 18th and 19th century Europe, this project inquires rural cultures of innovation focusing on clock and watch making in the Black Forest and the Jura.

Completed Research Projects

Completed PhD Theses and Postdoctoral Projects


  • Axel Dröber: Nation, Militär und Gesellschaft im postrevolutionären Frankreich: Zur politischen und gesellschaftlichen Bedeutung der französischen Nationalgarde
  • Konrad Hauber: Sichtbare Geheimnisse. Optische Telegrafie in Westeuropa, ca. 1790-1850
  • Andrés Antolín Hofrichter: Fremde Moderne. Wissenschaftspolitik, Geschichtswissenschaft und Nationalnarrative unter dem Franco-Regime, 1939-1964 (erschienen 2018 bei De Gruyter Oldenbourg)
  • Andrea von Hohenthal: Griff nach der Psyche? Psychologie im Ersten Weltkrieg in Großbritannien und Deutschland
  • Anna Laiß: Die harkis in der Fünften Französischen Republik (1958-2007). Zwischen republikanischem Ideal und kolonialen Kontinuitäten. (erschienen 2021 bei Heidelberg University Publishing)
  • Benjamin Marquart: Held – Märtyrer – Usurpator. Der europäische Napoleonismus im Vergleich (1821–1869) (erschienen 2019 im Ergon-Verlag)
  • Sarah Panter: Zwischen jüdischer Solidarität und staatsbürgerlicher Loyalität - Jüdische Kriegserfahrungen während des Ersten Weltkriegs (erschienen 2014 bei Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht)
  • Friedemann Pestel: Raumwandel und Wendezeiten. Französische Revolutionsmigranten als europäische Akteure (erschienen 2015 bei De Gruyter Oldenbourg)
  • Fabian Rausch: Verfassungsgeschichte als Interpretationsgeschichte der Revolution. Zur Verfassungskultur in Frankreich 1814-1851 (erschienen 2018 bei De Gruyter Oldenbourg)
  • Stefan Schubert: Von der militärischen zur politischen Heroisierung: Paul von Hindenburg und Philippe Pétain im Vergleich.
  • Florian Wagner: Colonial internationalism : how cooperation among experts reshaped colonialism (1830s-1950s). (erschienen 2022 bei Cambridge University Press)


  • Theo Jung: Qui tacet: Die Politik des Schweigens im Europa des langen 19. Jahrhunderts
  • Sonja Levsen: Autorität und Demokratie. Eine Kulturgeschichte des Erziehungswandels in Westdeutschland und Frankreich, 1945-1975 (erschienen 2019 im Wallstein Verlag)
  • Friedemann Pestel: Global Players: Orchestertourneen und internationaler Musikbetrieb 1880-2000

Collaborative Projects

Book Publications

Prof. Dr. Jörn Leonhard

Leonhard - Der überforderte Frieden Der überforderte Frieden. Versailles und die Welt 1918-1923, C.H. Beck 2018.
Leonhard - Büchse der Pandora (Paperback) Büchse der Pandora. Geschichte des Ersten Weltkriegs (Paperback), C.H. Beck, 2018.
Leonhard - Pandora’s Box Pandora’s Box. A History of the First World War, Harvard University Press, 2018.
9783412502805.jpg Semantiken von Arbeit: Diachrone und vergleichende Perspektive, hg. von Jörn Leohard und Willibald Steinmetz, Böhlau-Verlag: Köln/Weimar/Wien 2016.

Liberalismus im 20. Jahrhundert, hg. von Jörn Leonhard und Anselm Doering-Manteuffel, Steiner-Verlag: Wiesbaden 2015.

Vergleich und Verflechtung

Vergleich und Verflechtung. Deutschland und Frankreich im 20. Jahrhundert, hg. von Jörn Leonhard (Studien des Frankreich-Zentrums der Universität Freiburg, Bd. 22), Erich Schmidt Verlag: Berlin 2015.

Menschen im Krieg 1914-1918 am Oberrhein (2014).jpg

Menschen im Krieg 1914-1918 , Verlag W. Kohlhammer: Stuttgart 2014


Die Büchse der Pandora. Geschichte des Ersten Weltkriegs, Verlag C. H. Beck: München 2014.

Aktualisierte 5. Auflage im Handel erhältlich

comparingempires.jpeg Comparing Empires. Encounters and Transfers in the Nineteenth an Early Twentieth Century, ed. together with Ulrike von Hirschhausen, Schriften der FRIAS-School of History, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht: Göttingen² 2012.
Militär und Medien Militär und Medien im 20. Jahrhundert (Themenheft der Militärgeschichtlichen Zeitschrift, Vol. 70/1), hg. von Ute Daniel und Jörn Leonhard und Martin Löffelholz, München 2011.
nobility.jpeg What makes the nobility noble? Comparative Perspectives from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century, hg. zusammen mit Christian Wieland, Schriften der FRIAS-School of History, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht: Göttingen, 2011.
kolonialevergangenheiten.jpeg Koloniale Vergangenheiten – (post)imperiale Gegenwart, hg. zusammen mit Rolf Renner (Studien des Frankreich-Zentrums der Universität Freiburg, Bd. 19), Berliner Wissenschaftsverlag GmbH (BWV): Berlin 2010.
empires-nationalstaaten.jpg Empires und Nationalstaaten im 19. Jahrhundert, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht: Göttingen² 2010.
Bellizismus.jpg Bellizismus und Nation. Kriegsdeutungen und Nationsbestimmung in Europa und den Vereinigten Staaten 1750-1914 (Studien zur Ideengeschichte der Neuzeit, hg. von Dietrich Beyrau, Anselm Doering-Manteuffel und Lutz Raphael, Bd. 25), Oldenbourg Verlag: München 2008.

Werner-Hahlweg-Preis (1. Preis), 2006

Preisträger im Wettbewerb "Historisches Buch des Jahres 2008" in der Kategorie Neuere Geschichte (HSOZKULT), 2009

Landesforschungspreis des Landes Baden-Württemberg 2010
Leonhard - Empires and the Military.jpg Multi-Ethnic Empires and the Military: Conscription in Europe between Integration and Desintegration, 1860-1918 (Journal of Modern European History 5/2), hg. zusammen mit Ulrike von Hirschhausen, Verlag C.H. Beck: München 2007.
Leonhard - Ten Years.jpg Ten Years of German Unification. Transfer, Transformation, Incorporation, hg. zusammen mit Lothar Funk, Birmingham University Press: Birmingham 2002.
Leonhard - Nationalismen in Europa.jpg Nationalismen in Europa: West- und Osteuropa im Vergleich, hg. zusammen mit Ulrike v. Hirschhausen, Wallstein Verlag: Göttingen 2001.
leonhard-liberalismus.jpg Liberalismus - Zur historischen Semantik eines europäischen Deutungsmusters (Veröffentlichungen des Deutschen Historischen Instituts London, hg. von Peter Wende, Bd. 50), Oldenbourg Verlag: München 2001.

Forschungspreis des Deutschen Historischen Instituts London, 1998

Wolf-Erich-Kellner Forschungspreis der Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung Bonn, 1999

Dr. Claudia Gatzka

Gatzka - Die Demokratie der Wähler. Stadtgesellschaft und politische Kommunikation in Italien und der Bundesrepublik 1944-1979, Düsseldorf 2019.

Dr. Friedemann Pestel

kosmopoliten Kosmopoliten wider Willen. Die monarchiens als Revolutionsemigranten (Pariser Historische Studien 104), Berlin/Boston 2015.
umschlag_14856.jpg Weimar als Exil. Erfahrungsräume französischer Revolutionsemigranten 1792-1803 (Transfer. Deutsch-Französische Kulturbibliothek 28), Leipzig 2009.