Elisabeth Engel

Research Fellow
German Historical Institute
1607 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington DC 20009
Phone +1.202.387.3355

Biographical Summary

Elisabeth Engel is a historian of North America in the modern era, specializing in colonial and racial entanglements and the history of risk and uncertainty in the Atlantic world . After receiving her PhD in modern history from the Freie Universität Berlin in January 2014, she joined the GHI as a research fellow. She has worked as an assistant professor at the departments of North American history of the Universität zu Köln, Universität Kassel and Freie Universität Berlin and was a visiting scholar at Columbia University (NYC), Université de Montréal, and The John Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD). Her first monograph, Encountering Empire: African American Missionaries in Colonial Africa, 1900-1939 (Stuttgart, 2015), was awarded the Franz Steiner Prize for outstanding manuscripts in the history of transatlantic relations. In her current research she explores African American missionary photography and discourses on race and the 'American Negro' in the ecumenical movement in the twentieth century. In addition, she is working on her second book project, in which she traces how notions of risk were constructed and inscribed into the everyday routines of the American population in the American revolutionary era.

Main Areas of Interest

  • Early and modern North America
  • History of risk and uncertainty
  • History of race and religion
  • Atlantic and transnational history
  • Colonial and missionary history
  • Postcolonial studies

GHI Research Project

  • "Risks Will be Taken: Insurance and the Insecure Beginnings of American Independence, 1770s-1840s" Read on

Professional Positions

since 2014Research Fellow, German Historical Institute Washington DC
2014Lecturer, Department of North American and British History, Universität Kassel
Winter Term 2010/11Adjunct instructor, Departments of History and Culture, John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin
2008 - 2009Assistant professor, Department of Anglo-American History, Universität zu Köln