German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

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



European Perspectives

Research Area


Projects in this research area focus on European-British relationships or comparisons, with Europe in the foreground. They also investigate, or aim to enable, the travel of ideas and methods between Britain, Germany and Europe.

Collaborative Project

Pauper Letters and Petitions for Poor Relief in Germany and Great Britain, 1770–1914
Andreas Gestrich (University of Trier) and Steven King (University of Leicester)

Pauper letters and applications for relief contain sometimes rudimentary but often extensive information on the applicants’ material situation, their family circumstances, and their relationships with their home parish, or specific officials or friends from whom they expect support. This project proposes to collect and edit a substantial online corpus of these narratives.

Clemens Villinger

The Average Self
Colonial and Global History

Image of a page of an Edwardian family album, dated 1907, from the Hook family, possibly of Hull. It shows six images, 4 with people, one of a park and one of a home interior.

What is considered 'normal' and why? How are notions of normality communicated, reproduced and negotiated? What are the differences between academic and individual understandings of normality? In my project I examine how social scientists, historians and those being researched in Germany and Britain produced knowledge about normality in the 20th century.

Christina von Hodenberg

Ageing and 'Doing Gender' in the Era of Value Change

A black and white image of an older lady with her spaniel, in front of a rank of shops on Hamburger Strasse in Hamburg, 1965, featuring cutlery and men's hats

To what extent did old people, especially ageing women, play an active part in the processes of value change that transformed West Germany and Britain from the 1960s to the 1980s? Contemporary historians have often pointed to student protests and generational conflict between fathers and sons to explain cultural change. In contrast, this project explores the gendered subtext of value conflicts and the agency of women and the elderly.

Christina von Hodenberg

Writing Contemporary History with Social Data: Plans for a Digital Infrastructure

Image of a tape recorder of the type used by the BOLSA project for voice recordings

Historians working on the second half of the 20th century are confronted with new types of sources: so-called social data. These are the remains of state-sponsored data collection or social science research projects, and include tax data, polls, psychological interviews, and participant observations. Such data can appear in obsolete formats such as punchcards or magnetic tapes, and may be found in retired researchers’ attics rather than in archives. The GHIL has teamed up with external partners to tackle the challenges tied to the re-use of social data by historians.

Past and completed Projects

  • Euroscepticism in history (William King and David Lawton)
  • Nomadism as a Discursive Figure of (Post)Modernity (Sina Steglich)
  • "Conservatism Lost – Conservatism Regained": Political Languages of Conservatism in the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1960s and 1970s (Martina Steber)
  • The Semantics of Social Justice: Britain and West Germany since 1945 (Felix Römer)
  • History of Child Adoption in Europe (Benedikt Stuchtey, now at Philipps Universität Marburg)