Jan Hansen

Fellow in the History of the Americas
German Historical Institute
1607 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington DC 20009
Phone +1.202.387.3355

Biographical Summary

My research focusses on the intersection of global urban history, the anthropology of technology, the history of the everyday life, and the formation of identities. Currently I am doing research on infrastructure in Los Angeles between 1860 and 1930. I examine how ordinary people adopted and adjusted to having water and power supplies in their daily lives. Analyzing how the materiality of these new technologies mattered to them, I argue that they fashioned their identities through the appropriation of infrastructure. Since this process involved various ethnic groups from diverse cultural backgrounds, I understand Los Angeles as a laboratory for the hemispheric study of everyday practices of technology.

My previous work includes research on the cultural and social history of the Cold War, with a special emphasis on anti-nuclear protests. I am the author of Abschied vom Kalten Krieg? Die Sozialdemokraten und der Nachrüstungsstreit (1977-1987) (Berlin: de Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2016) and co-editor of Making Sense of the Americas: How Protest Related to America in the 1980s and Beyond (Frankfurt: Campus, 2015).

Since 2015, I have been an assistant professor (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) in the Department of History at the Humboldt University of Berlin. I am also a book review editor for H-Soz-Kult.

Main Areas of Interest

  • Global urban history
  • Anthropology of infrastructure and technology
  • History of the everyday life
  • Construction of identities
  • Cultural history of the Cold War