Friedemann Pestel

Guest Scholar

Pacific Office of the German Historical Institute
Institute of European Studies | University of California, Berkeley | 249 Moses Hall | Berkeley, CA 94720-2316

Biographical Summary

Friedemann Pestel is Assistant Professor in Modern European History at the University of Freiburg, Germany. He held fellowships at the German Historical Institutes in Paris and London, the Universities of Vienna and Bordeaux, and the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies. In 2022/23 he is a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of European Studies at UC Berkeley sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Pestel obtained his PhD from the University of Freiburg with a dissertation on the émigrés of the French Revolution published in 2015 with De Gruyter under the title Kosmopoliten wider Willen. Die monarchiens als Revolutionsemigranten. He has worked and published on political migration in the Age of Revolutions, ideas and practices of counterrevolution, postcolonial monarchy in Haiti, the history of classical musical life, European memory, and ideas of Europe.

Pestel is currently completing a book project titled Global Players: Orchestral Tours and International Musical Life, 1880‒2000. Looking at the tours of German and Austrian symphony orchestras in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa, this project investigates the political, economic, and artistic driving forces of musical mobility. Taking a longue durée approach, Global Players highlights the powerful continuities and transitions in concert life and artistic careers against political ruptures and diverging political regimes in different world regions. Focusing on the interplay between public and private actors, the political instrumentalization of music, the music business, and musical infrastructures, Global Players emphasizes the agency of internationally active musicians, unlocks the multiple meanings of musical performances across the globe, and shows the impact of globalization on domestic contexts of music-making.

    Main Areas of Interest

    • European history and its global entanglements (18th to 21st century)
    • French and Haitian Revolutions
    • History of global musical life and musical mobility
    • Political migration and opposition to revolution
    • History of ideas and concepts
    • Memory studies
    • Transnational history, cultural transfers, and histoire croisée