Research fields

Basel Graduate School of History actively contributes to the dynamic environment of the History Departement at Basel University. Historical research at Basel has distinguished itself internationally since the 1990s through cultural-historical, historical-anthropological and gender-historical studies, with the faculty becoming a renowned centre for Swiss, Eastern European, and African history.

The department has established two overarching fields of focus in research and teaching: “A global perspective on European History”, and “Renaissance”. These have been augmented by a series of specific research projects in African history; eastern European history; images, objects, media; gender history; history of knowledge, and history of Basel.

The regular research colloquia  organised by the individual research groups offer extensive opportunities for discussion of specific research questions.

The faculty members at Basel Graduate School of History operate in multi-layered fields of study.

Prof. Dr. Caroline Arni

Professor of 19th and 20th Century General History*

The predominant focus lies on the following areas: 19th and 20th century social and cultural history, gender studies, science studies, Swiss history, historical anthropology, and theories and methods in historiography and sociology.

Prof. Dr. Susanna Burghartz
Professor of the History of the Renaissance and the Early Modern Era

Here, questions of perception, representation, and mediality are linked with gender- and socio-historical issues of early modern expansion and colonial history, the history of reformation and of confessionalisation, and the history of Basel and Switzerland in the Renaissance and early modern era.

Prof. Dr. Lucas Burkart
Professor of the History of the Late Middle Ages and the Italian Renaissance

Current research focuses on the history of Basel as quintessential regional history between 1350 and 1550, international Renaissance studies, the history of relations between Italy and the Orient, and the significance of the materials for the constitution of identities in pre-modern societies. 

Prof. Dr. Madeleine Herren-Oesch (associate member)

Professor of Modern History and Head of the European Institute of the University of Basel

Research centres on general history of the 19th and 20th century, methods and theories of historical sciences, with particular attention given to the history of Europe, European expansion and integration. A further focus falls on global history and the question how global, local and national actors influence one another.

Prof. Dr. Martin Lengwiler

Professor of Modern General History

This chair develops innovative projects for the following research areas: 19th and 20th century European history, the history of the welfare state, and the history of science and knowledge.

Prof. Dr. Jan-Friedrich Missfelder
Professor of the History of the Early Modern Era (SNF)

Research centres on topics related to the history of media, the history of communication and sensory studies in the early modern period, the history of reformation and the history of religious denomination in early modern europe, the political history of ideas as well as the theories of history and the history of historiography.

Prof. Dr. Claudia Opitz-Belakhal

Professor of the History of the Early Modern Era

Research centres on topics relating to gender history and historical anthropology (marriage, parenthood, sibling relationships, and childhood) and on the history of political ideas and culture (the French Revolution, court society). Other important areas of research and teaching are the history of education and knowledge as well as cultural transfer studies.

Prof. Dr. Erik Petry (associate member)
Center for Jewish Studies

Research focuses on history of Jews in Germany and Switzerland, history of Zionism, history of anti-Semitism, history of the Middle East, Oral History and History of Memory.

Prof. Dr. Jan Rüdiger

Professor of General History of the Middle Ages

Primary areas of focus are the history of Northern and Western Europe during the early and high middle ages. Current research subjects include the political culture of maritime societies (“Thalassocracies”), political language in the middle ages, the economic history of the Hanseatic and Rhenish areas, the perception of space and time in the high and late middle ages, representations and mediality of rulers, the martial society of the 10th century in the duchy of Schwabia, and regional historical cultures in the 19th to the 21st century.

Prof. Dr. F. Benjamin Schenk
Professor of Eastern European History

Research focuses on questions of Eastern European history from a cultural-historical perspective. Special emphasis is given to the history of Russia or, respectively, the Soviet Union and Eastern central Europe of the 19th and 20th century, and particularly to issues relating to the history of empires, the history of historical regions, the history of remembrance, the history of infrastructure, and the history of biography and autobiography.

Prof. Dr. Julia Tischler
Professor of African History

Research and teaching focus on social and environmental processes in the 19th and 20th century, mainly in southern Africa (South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe), but also involving East and West Africa. Central research topics include knowledge and science, work and labour, development, agriculture, natural resources, (settler) colonialism and decolonization, race. 

*These faculty member are currently not available as potential supervisors for starer scholarships applicants.