German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: Tel. +44-(0)20-7309 2050



German Historical Institute London


The German Historical Institute London enables and furthers humanities research across borders. As an intermediary between scholars from Germany and scholars from Britain, Ireland, and the Commonwealth, we support German scholars working on British history, joint German-British projects, and British scholars teaching and researching German history. Our staff specializes in British and Irish history from medieval to modern times, British-German and European relations, and colonial and global history.

The GHIL Library is open to readers

Our current opening hours are Monday, Tuesday and Friday (10am-3pm). In order to book a slot, please send us an email (, including your name, reader number, topic of research, and the date and time you would like to visit us. Please let us know if your research need is urgent so that we can prioritize your request.

Applications for scholarships starting August 2021 are now being accepted.

Please check our scholarship page for details on how to apply. The GHIL Stipendienregelung has been updated, so please read it carefully.


Events and Conferences


25 May (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Amy S. Kaufman
‘Medievalism, Extremism, and “White History”’

Online event

8 June (3.30pm)

GHIL Colloquium

Annika Stendebach (Gießen)
Not our place? Changing Youth culture and Social Spaces in Ireland, 1958–1983

Online event

15th June (5.30m)

GHIL Lecture

Barbara Manthe (Bielefeld)
‘Writing a History of Right-Wing Terrorism in Post-WWII Germany: Chances, Challenges, and the Need for New Narratives’

Online event





Visiting Postdoctoral Research Fellow

6 month stipendary fellowship, starting 1 October 2021

The Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London, and the German Historical Institute London intend to appoint a Visiting Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Closing date for applications: 24 May 2021


Postgraduate and postdoc scholarships

Starting August 2021 (up to 6 months, depending on project requirements)

Each year, the GHIL awards a number of research scholarships to postgraduate students, Habilitanden and postdocs at German universities to enable them to carry out research in Britain.

Closing date for applications: 31 May 2021

Summer School

British Decolonization in a European Perspective

18th Summer School in British History
7–10 September 2021

Organizers: Das Historische Seminar der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Professor Kiran Patel) and the German Historical Institute London (Dr. Michael Schaich)

Speakers: Professor Sarah Stockwell (London), Dr. Itay Lotem (Westminster), and Professor Elizabeth Buettner (Amsterdam)

Aimed at advanced BA or MA students studying history, English studies, or related topics at German universities.

German Historical Institute London/Online

Closing date for applications: 31 May 2021

GHIL Bulletin

Volume 43 (2021), No. 1

May Issue

Featured Article

Mirjam Brusius

Introduction to Special Issue
Living through the Wende: Housing and the Home c.1989

German Historical Institute London Bulletin, vol. 43 (2021), no. 1, 3–11

Featured Article

Sonya Schönberger

Zingster Straße 25

German Historical Institute London Bulletin, vol. 43 (2021), no. 1, 12-33

New Publications

Peter Mandler

The Crisis of the Meritocracy

How Popular Demand (not Politicians) Made Britain into a Mass Education Society

The Annual Lecture / German Historical Institute London. 2020

London: German Historical Institute London, 2021

eBook GHIL

Birte Meinschien

Geschichtsschreibung in der Emigration

Deutschsprachige Historikerinnen und Historiker in Großbritannien

Veröffentlichungen des Deutschen Historischen Instituts London. Bd. 84

Berlin: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2020

ask librarian

Simon Ball, Philipp Gassert, Andreas Gestrich, and Sönke Neitzel (eds.)

Cultures of Intelligence in the Era of the World Wars

Studies of the German Historical Institute London

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020


Featured Research


Cross-Cutting Research Theme

Histories of Kinship and Gender

Black and white image of a group of students during the student revolution, 1967/68, West Berlin (Stiftung Haus der Geschichte, Ludwig Binder, [CC BY-SA 2.0])

The categories of kinship and gender are powerful indicators of social place, but also social binding agents. How are individuals and groups assigned a social place? How are social hierarchies and differences, or support networks, created by the production of kinship and gender identities? Attention will be paid to the role of experts and knowledge, to practices ‘from below’, and the negotiation and strengthening of norms by situative performances. This will involve a dialogue with new methods and theories from other disciplines such as ethnography and gender studies. Both gender and kinship are here understood as multi-relational, in the sense of intersectionality.


GHIL Podcast

Svenja Goltermann

Perceptions of Interpersonal Violence: A History of the Present

GHIL in co-operation with the Faculty of History, University of Oxford

0:48 h

Our understanding of what violence actually is has changed considerably in the second half of the twentieth century. When violence against children and women first became a public and political issue in the 1960s, it was exclusively considered as physical violence. Today, however, violence is no longer regarded as a physical act alone; psychological, emotional, and linguistic violence is also problematized. Looking at three cases—gender-based violence, language as violence, and bullying—this lecture will examine the preconditions and effects of this development and argue that our ideas of vulnerability have changed fundamentally over the last fifty years.

Svenja Goltermann is Professor of Modern History at the University of Zurich. She has published widely on the history of violence, the history of psychiatric knowledge, and changing perceptions of victimhood. Her latest book, provisionally titled Victims: Perceptions of Suffering and Violence in Modern Europe, will be published by OUP.


Patrice Poutrus

Contested Asylum: The History of the 2015 Refugee Crisis

Modern German History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, 25 February 2021

0:42 h

After 1945, both the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic included asylum law, and thus the admission of politically persecuted persons, in their constitutions. Since then, debates about the admission of refugees/displaced persons have continued in West German and East German society, persisting into the decades after reunification. Time and again, issues such as flight, asylum, and admission have mobilized the German public and provoked deep controversies. Patrice G. Poutrus argues that these discussions are not so much about specific questions of admission policy, but more about a fundamental struggle regarding German society’s political and moral self-understanding. They raise questions such as: what consequences should follow from the history of National Socialism? Do we want to live in a pluralistic society? What identity does German society have and who belongs to it? Patrice G. Poutrus is the author of a book about this ‘contested asylum’ in which he examines its history from 1945 to the present.

Patrice G. Poutrus studied history and social sciences at Humboldt University, Berlin and wrote his Ph.D. on the social and economic history of the GDR at the Europa University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder). He works on the history of divided Germany after 1945, and on historical refugee and migration research. He is currently working on a research project at Erfurt University about family memories in the GDR and the post-1990 transformation of Thuringia.


Nandini Gooptu

New Cultures of Work, Youth, and Politics in India

GHIL Lecture Spring 2021, 23 February 2021                                                                                                                                                            

0:46 h

Nandini Gooptu is Associate Professor of South Asian Studies in the Oxford Department of International Development and a Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford. She is the author of The Politics of the Urban Poor in Early-Twentieth Century India (2001), editor of Enterprise Culture in Neoliberal India (2013), and joint-editor of India and the British Empire (2012), and The Persistence of Poverty in India (2017).

India has, in recent decades, witnessed a sea change in the nature and settings of work. New workplaces and work cultures have grown in tandem with India’s consumer revolution, notably in the burgeoning interactive service sector. Here, the demands of customer service are reshaping the political subjectivity and democratic sensibility of the predominantly young workforce. Workers develop new forms of critical understanding of the self and society through the assessment of customers’ needs and conduct, as well as through emotional reflexivity, self-control, and self-awareness that are critical components of customer care. These, in turn, stimulate a personalized, individualized, transactional, and clientelistic approach to politics in preference to collective action, while also unleashing a critique of class, power, and hierarchy.


Peter Burschel

The Dance of the Tapuya: On the Cultural Coding of Skin Colour in the Early Modern Period

GHIL Lecture Spring 2021, 9 February 2021                                                                                                                                                            

0:45 h

Peter Burschel is Professor of Medieval and Early Modern Cultural History at the University of Göttingen and Director of the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel. Among his many publications is Die Erfindung der Reinheit: Eine andere Geschichte der frühen Neuzeit (2014).

This lecture will show how European perceptions of skin colour – rather than primarily of skin markings, as was the case in the Middle Ages – increasingly began to influence European perceptions of non-European ‘aliens’. Peter Burschel will argue that it was not until the sixteenth century that skin was seen as a ‘supra-individual’ distinguishing characteristic that made it possible to structure, classify, and, not least, to hierarchize intercultural encounters chromatically. This shows that the process was not merely about the perception of skin colour per se, but always also addressed the question of who was white, and who was not.

Originally scheduled for March 2020 and postponed due to Covid-19 lockdown.

Images mentioned in the Lecture

Please see here for the main images mentioned in this lecture: a series of double portraits by Albert Eckhout, now at the National Museum of Denmark.


Latest Blogposts

06 May 2021


Paul Labelle

Britten’s Virtual Mystery

In 1964 the first of composer Benjamin Britten and writer William Plomer’s ‘Church Parables’ – Curlew River – was premiered at the Aldeburgh Festival in St. Bartholomew’s Church in Orford. Britten had been working on the project off and on with his librettist Plomer following Britten’s encounter with Noh theatre during a visit to Japan in 1955...

Category: Research, Scholarships

27 April 2021


Kirsten Kamphuis

Not your Average National Hero: Scattered Archives and the Women of the Indonesian Anticolonial Movement

In her captivating autobiographical novel Buiten het gareel [Out of Line], the Indonesian author Suwarsih Djojopuspito painted a vivid image of her experiences as an activist teacher during the last few years of Dutch rule in Indonesia. The book, published in Dutch in 1940, tells the story of Sulastri, an idealistic young teacher who runs a non-governmental school for Indonesian children together with her husband, Sugondo...

Category: ISWG, Research