Advancing Research

German Historical Institute Washington

The GHI promotes research in three core fields: German history, American & transatlantic history, and global history.

Supporting Scholars

German Historical Institute Washington

The GHI works to enable scholars to conduct research and share their findings with their colleagues.

Building Networks

German Historical Institute Washington

The GHI’s programs rest on the assumption that communication is as important as research in advancing historical understanding.

The German Historical Institute Washington (GHI) is a center for advanced historical research. Working with junior and senior scholars around the world, the GHI facilitates dialogue and collaboration across national and disciplinary boundaries.

Latest News


Visiting Fellowships at the GHI

Deadline: January 15, 2024 (extended) | The GHI is now accepting applications for its 2024-2025 visiting fellow program for European and North…

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Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize

Deadline: March 1, 2024 | The Friends of the German Historical Institute, Washington, DC, are now accepting nominations for the annual Fritz Stern…

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2024 Spring Lecture Series: Knowledge in the Shadows: Intelligence, Hidden Pasts, and Historians in the U.S. and Germany

With the 2024 spring lecture series at the German Historical Institute Washington, we cordially invite you on a journey through the captivating…

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Max Weber Stiftung announces search process for next director of GHI Washington

Deadline: January 22, 2024 | The Max Weber Stiftung is hiring for next director of GHI Washington to begin October 1, 2025


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Call for Papers

29th Transatlantic Doctoral Seminar: German History in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Deadline: January 15, 2024 | Seminar at the Harnack Haus, Berlin-Dahlem | June 23-25, 2024

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Events & Conferences

The GHI organizes international scholarly conferences, public programs and lectures on a wide variety of historical topics.

Feb 22, 2024

A Frank and Open Discussion about the Secret World of Spying

Lecture at GHI Washington | Speaker: Alexis Albion (International Spy Museum)

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Feb 23, 2024

Sixth West Coast Germanists' Workshop: Globalizing German History in Research and Teaching

Workshop at University of California, Los Angeles | Convener: Anna-Carolin Augustin (GHI Washington), Glenn Penny (UCLA), and Isabel Richter (GHI Washington | Pacific Office, Berkeley)

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Mar 14, 2024

Exploring Epistemic Virtues and Vices: Data, Infrastructures, and Episteme between Collaboration and Exploitation

Sixth Conference on Digital Humanities and Digital History at the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH) | Conveners: Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH), in collaboration with the German Historical Institute Washington (GHI), the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM), and the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ) Tokyo

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Mar 21, 2024

From Abundant Papers to Limited Pixels: Digitization and Intelligence Reduction in the Brazilian Serviço Nacional de Informações (SNI) in the late 1970s

Lecture at GHI Washington | Speaker: Debora Gerstenberger (University of Cologne)

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Apr 14, 2024

Music, Knowledge, and Global Migration, ca. 1700−1900

Symposium at the University of California, Berkeley | Conveners: Tina Frühauf (Columbia University/The CUNY Graduate Center, New York), Simone Lässig (German Historical Institute Washington), and Francesco Spagnolo (The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, UC Berkeley)

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Apr 18, 2024

Spy vs. Spy: West German Counterintelligence and GDR Espionage

Lecture at GHI Washington | Speaker: Michael Wala (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

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May 20, 2024

Fugitive Histories and Migrant Knowledge in Latin America and the Caribbean

Workshop at the University of California, Irvine | Conveners: Kevan Antonio Aguilar (University of California, Irvine), Amy Kerner (University of California, Berkeley & GHI Washington | Pacific Office), Fabio Santos (University of California, Berkeley & GHI Washington | Pacific Office), and Chelsea Schields (University of California, Irvine)

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May 23, 2024

The History and Future of State Secrecy

Lecture at GHI Washington | Speaker: Matthew Connelly (Columbia University / the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, University of Cambridge)

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Jun 23, 2024

29th Transatlantic Doctoral Seminar: German History in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Seminar at the Harnack Haus, Berlin-Dahlem | Conveners: Anna von der Goltz (Georgetown University), Stefanie Schueler-Springorum (Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung, Technische Universität Berlin), and Richard Wetzell (GHI Washington)

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Jun 28, 2024

Archives in/of Transit: Historical Perspectives from the 1930s to the Present

Workshop at University of Southern California, Los Angeles | Conveners: Einstein Papers Project / California Institute of Technology (Jennifer Rodgers); German Historical Institute Washington and its Pacific Office at UC Berkeley (Simone Lässig, Anna-Carolin Augustin, Swen Steinberg); Holocaust Research Institute, Royal Holloway, University of London (Dan Stone); Queen Mary, University of London (Jane Freeland); Wiener Holocaust Library, London (Toby Simpson, Christine Schmidt) as part of the Holocaust and Genocide Research Partnership (HGRP); USC Dornsife Center for Advanced Genocide Research (Wolf Gruner)

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Jul 03, 2024

Historicizing the Refugee Experience, 17th–21st Centuries

Fourth Annual International Seminar in Historical Refugee Studies in Tübingen | Organized by University of Tübingen (UT), the German Historical Institute in Washington (GHI) and the American Historical Association (AHA), in cooperation with the Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21)

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Jul 14, 2024

Making a World of Many Worlds: Identities, Activisms, and Comparisons

Summer School | Pacific Office, Berkeley | organized by The Maria Sibylla Merian Center for Advanced Latin American Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (CALAS), the Pacific Office of the German Historical Institute Washington (GHI) at UC Berkeley, and the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 1288 “Practices of Comparing” at Bielefeld University

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Sep 05, 2024

Science and Democracy in Political Crises, 1900-2024

Conference at GHI Washington | Conveners: Axel Jansen (GHI), Alexander Bogner (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna), Carsten Reinhardt (Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina – German National Academy of Sciences, Halle), Heidi Tworek (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)

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Oct 31, 2024

Wings of Globalization? New Approaches to the History of Commercial Aviation, 1920s–2020s

International Conference at the German Historical Institute Washington | Conveners: Andreas Greiner (GHI Washington) and Stefan Rinke (Freie Universität Berlin)

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Research Fields

German/European & Jewish History

German/European & Jewish History

Modern German history and the history of German-speaking Jewry have been core research fields at the GHI since the institute’s founding in 1987. German migrations to North America, relations between Germany and the United States, and the flight of German Jews from Nazi Germany have been major research topics since the GHI’s early years. More recently, the GHI has given increased attention to the transnational and global dimensions of German, Central European, and Jewish history.

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History of the Americas & Transatlantic History

History of the Americas & Transatlantic History

From an initial focus on North American history and the history of the transatlantic relations, the GHI has broadened the scope of its core research agenda to encompass the Americas as a whole. Its long engagement with the histories of the United States, Canada, and North American-European ties is the point of departure for its new initiatives in the history of the Americas. GHI-supported projects are exploring the myriad entanglements linking the societies of North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean to each other and societies across the globe. The interconnections of the Atlantic and Pacific worlds are focal point of the research program of the GHI’s Pacific Regional Office in Berkeley.

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Global & Transregional History

Global & Transregional History

The GHI’s engagement with global and transregional history is an outgrowth of its work in transatlantic history and its longstanding interest in comparative history, especially historical comparisons of the U.S. and Germany. Global and transregional history at the GHI are defined less by subject matter than by analytical perspective. GHI-supported research explores processes that transcend individual polities and entangle disparate states, regions, and continents. The GHI is particularly interested in historical comparison as a tool to illuminate trends and developments at the transregional and global levels.

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History of Knowledge

History of Knowledge

The history of knowledge analyzes the production and circulation of knowledge, taking into consideration a broad spectrum of actors, practices, and social contexts. It seeks to understand the creation of knowledge orders and systems along with the power relationships upon which they rest. The development of the field has taken different paths in Europe and North America. Consequently, a central objective of the GHI’s program in the history of knowledge is to spur transatlantic exchange on research methodologies. The history of knowledge also serves as vehicle for collaboration across the GHI’s core research fields and other subfields of history. Notably, the GHI’s Pacific Regional Office in Berkeley “Migrant Knowledge” initiative is supporting research at the intersection of migration history and the history of knowledge.

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History of Mobilities & Migration

History of Mobilities & Migration

The GHI’s longstanding engagement with the migration of German-speakers to North America from the seventeenth century to the present is the foundation for the wider reaching program in migration history it launched in 2015. Current GHI-supported projects look beyond the flows of European migrants across the Atlantic and analyze migrant groups and receiving societies around the world. The research at the institute also places a focus on spatial mobility and its social impacts and asymmetries by bringing together projects on migration with colleagues working on different mobile groups, objects, information, or ideas. Particular attention is given to forced migration and comparative research on the social and cultural integration of migrants. The roles of migrants as producers and transmitters of distinctive bodies of knowledge is the focus of the “Migrant Knowledge” initiative at the GHI’s Pacific Regional Office. The collaborative project "German Heritage in Letters" draws on the tools of digital history to explore the ways German emigrants and their family and friends at home created transnational spaces of communication and knowledge circulation.

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Digital History

Digital History

The GHI’s digital history program operates at the crossroads of multiple disciplines and professions. One overarching goal is to forge links between seemingly disparate communities and pursuits: digital historians and “book” historians; projects informed by public history concerns versus those motivated by research objectives; and research and academic teaching. In addition to its own digital history projects – German History in Documents and Images, German History Intersections, and German Heritage in Letters – the GHI collaborates with partner institutions across Europe and North America in exchange and networking initiatives to support the development of digital tools and methodologies for historical research.

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Collaborative Projects

German History in Documents and Images (GHDI)

GHDI is a comprehensive collection of primary source materials documenting Germany's political, social, and cultural history from 1500 to the present.

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German History Intersections

The German History Intersections project is a transatlantic initiative that will begin by examining three broad themes – German identity; migration; and knowledge and education – over as many as five centuries.

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German Heritage in Letters

German Heritage in Letters is a project to create a digital collection of German-language correspondence currently held in private hands, by archives, by special collection libraries, museums, and other institutions.

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Migrant Connections

Migrant Connections is a digital research infrastructure for historical research on German migration to the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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In Global Transit

In Global Transit builds from the endeavors of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution to explore the spatial and temporal dimensions of global transit. Currently it consists of two separate pillars: a conference series and resulting research network and individual projects from GHI research staff.

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Interaction and Knowledge in the Pacific Region: Entanglements and Disentanglements

The project analyzes the Pacific as a space of knowledge transfer and interaction, which shape state and non-state actors through contacts, reciprocal influences and conflicts.

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Latest Publications

Adam Bisno

Big Business and the Crisis of German Democracy: Liberalism and the Grand Hotels of Berlin, 1875–1933

Publications of the German Historical Institute. Cambridge University Press, 2023.

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Timon de Groot

Citizens into Dishonored Felons: Felony Disenfranchisement, Honor, and Rehabilitation in Germany, 1806-1933

Studies in German History. Vol. 28. New York: Berghahn Books, 2023.

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Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk

End Game: The 1989 Revolution in East Germany

Studies in German History. Vol. 26. New York: Berghahn Books, 2022.

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Latest Blogposts

Nov 13, 2023

Charis Marantzidou

Shared Spaces of Knowledge: Russian Exiles and the V. P. Kuzmina Gymnasium in Interwar Bulgaria

In 1924, a private gymnasium opened its gates, welcoming children of Russian exiles to the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. The founder of the school, Varvara Pavlova Kuzmina, a teacher from St. Petersburg…

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Nov 08, 2023

Jan Siegemund

Rumors in Transition: Uncertain Information in the Premodern Culture of News

“Flying Tales” of War Sometime in early 1523, the merchant Matthias Mulich (†1528) received a letter from his servant Matthias Scharpenberch. Mulich usually lived and worked in the Hanseatic cit…

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Oct 11, 2023

Anna Georgiev

Provenance Research as History of Knowledge: Archaeological Finds from the Syrian-Turkish Border at the British Museum

The British Museum is one of the most popular museums in the world. The free permanent exhibition provides information about two million years of human history from a cross-cultural perspective. Since…

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Sep 26, 2023

Shepherd Aaron Ellis

Unicorns: Knowledge of the Environment and the Hispanic Mediterratlantic

Unicorns, although they are non-existent, are ubiquitous today as symbols. For example, they remain the national animal of Scotland, first added to the Scottish coat of arms in the 1500s to represent …

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Sep 20, 2023

Mayukhi Ghosh

From Nabob to Saheb: Reflections of British Rule in The Indian Vocabulary

Examines The Indian Vocabulary (1788) produced in Britain for colonial civil servants in order to discern the ambiguous relationship toward India and British efforts to define itself in relation to i…

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Sep 11, 2023

Jan Hua-Henning

Exploring Histories of Risk and Knowledge

Editorial note: The editors wish to acknowledge that the date of this post about risk cultures, highlighting the example of fire-fighting technologies, marks the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist…

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Sep 06, 2023

Robert McKee Irwin

Migrant Autonomy in the Face of Regimes of Deterrence: Complications and Resiliency

Introduces the digital storytelling project Humanizing Deportation, which documents the human consequences of contemporary regimes of migration and border control in the United States and Mexico. The …

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Aug 25, 2023


The U.S. in the (Digital) World: Working with the Foreign Relations of the United States Series in 2023

By Linus Lanfermann-Baumann Editorial note: Having finished his undergraduate studies in History and English at Göttingen University, Linus Lanfermann-Baumann is in the final phase of his master’s …

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Aug 21, 2023

Ramon Wiederkehr

Epistolary Knowledge in Transit: Migrant Letters in Swiss Refugee Periodicals after the Second World War

Presents the knowledge produced and shared in refugee letters in periodicals in Switzerland in the post-World War II period. The post Epistolary Knowledge in Transit: Migrant Letters in Swiss Refugee …

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Jul 12, 2023


Navigating the Challenges of OCR-based Research in the Arabic Script and Language

By Maximilien Gudenburg Editorial note: Maximilien Gudenburg is a student of Global History (M.A.) at the University of Heidelberg, with a special emphasis on American and German history. Before comin…

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Jun 21, 2023


Social Media as Social Movement Archives

By Charlie Kleinfeld Editorial note: Charlie Kleinfeld is currently finishing his Masters degree in American Studies from Leipzig University. He is writing his thesis on the uses and symbolism of food…

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Jan 10, 2023

katharina hering

The World Wide Web of Internationalism: Evaluating Total Digital Access for the League of Nations Archive (LONTAD) and Its Potential for Historical Research

By Valentin Loos Editorial Note: Having gained his bachelor‘s degree in 2020, Valentin Loos is now a master‘s student of history and English and American studies at Osnabrück University. His inte…

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