German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: Tel. +44-(0)20-7309 2050



German Historical Institute London


The German Historical Institute London enables and furthers humanities research across borders. As an intermediary between German scholars and scholars from Britain, Ireland, and the Commonwealth, we support German scholars working on British history, joint German-British projects, and British scholars teaching and researching German history and culture. Our staff specializes in British and Irish history from medieval to modern times, Anglo-German and European relations, and colonial and global history. As an independent academic institution with a research library, the GHIL is part of the Max Weber Stiftung – Foundation German Humanities Institutes Abroad.

Closure Notice


Due to the Covid restrictions the GHIL library is closed until further notice.
GHIL staff will continue to work from home and can be reached via email or telephone.


Events and Conferences


29–30 January


The Classics in the Pulpit
Ancient Literature and Preaching in the Middle Ages

Online Event

9 February (5.30pm)

GHIL Lecture

Peter Burschel (Wolfenbüttel)
The Dance of the Tapuya: On the Cultural Coding of Skin Colour in the Early Modern Period

Online event

11 February (6.30pm)

European Leo Baeck Lecture Series London

Hanno Loewy (Jüdisches Museum Hohenems, Austria)
Unrewarded Love: Alpine Clubs, Ski-Tourism, Folklore and the Jews

Online event


Call for Papers


Call for Papers

Medieval History Seminar 2021
30 September–2 October 2021

Organized by the German Historical Institute London and the German Historical Institute Washington, D.C. 

GHI London

Deadline: 31 January 2021

Call for papers

Contemporary Historians and the Re-Use of Social Science-Generated Data Sets
An International Dialogue on the Challenges Presented by ‘Social Data’

Workshop convened by DFG-Projekt 'Sozialdaten als Quellen der Zeitgeschichte'

GHIL contact: Christina von Hodenberg

German Historical Institute London

Deadline: 5 February 2021


GHIL Bulletin

Volume 42 (2020), No. 2

November Issue

Featured Article


Words Matter: Our Thoughts on Language, Pseudo-Science, and ‘Race’

German Historical Institute London Bulletin, vol. 42 (2020), no. 2, 3–8

Featured Article

Ulrich Herbert

The Short and the Long Twentieth Century: German and European Perspectives

German Historical Institute London Bulletin, vol. 42 (2020), no. 2, 9-24

New Publications

Birte Meinschien

Geschichtsschreibung in der Emigration

Deutschsprachige Historikerinnen und Historiker in Großbritannien

Veröffentlichungen des Deutschen Historischen Instituts London. Bd. 84

Berlin: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2020

Simon Ball, Philipp Gassert, Andreas Gestrich, and Sönke Neitzel (eds.)

Cultures of Intelligence in the Era of the World Wars

Studies of the German Historical Institute London

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020


Ulrike Freitag

Cosmopolitanism in a Global Perspective

The Annual Lecture / German Historical Institute London. 2019

London: German Historical Institute, 2020

ask librarian

Featured Research


Cross-Cutting Research Theme

Histories of Kinship and Gender

Black and white image of a group of students during the student revolution, 1967/68, West Berlin (Stiftung Haus der Geschichte, Ludwig Binder, [CC BY-SA 2.0])

The categories of kinship and gender are powerful indicators of social place, but also social binding agents. How are individuals and groups assigned a social place? How are social hierarchies and differences, or support networks, created by the production of kinship and gender identities? Attention will be paid to the role of experts and knowledge, to practices ‘from below’, and the negotiation and strengthening of norms by situative performances. This will involve a dialogue with new methods and theories from other disciplines such as ethnography and gender studies. Both gender and kinship are here understood as multi-relational, in the sense of intersectionality.


GHIL Podcast

Alice Rio

Legal Role-Playing and Storytelling in Early Medieval Francia

GHIL Lecture Autumn 2020, 1 December 2020                                                                                                                                                             

0:54 h

Alice Rio is Professor of Medieval History at King’s College London. An enduring problem in early medieval history is what to make of the legal material, which is abundant relative to the total surviving evidence (legislation, acts of practice, models, old texts, new texts), and paints extremely contradictory pictures of contemporary legal practices both within and across legal genres. The lecture will try to show that this level of contradiction results from people calling on many different legal and cultural frameworks for representing their own actions, all of which were potentially valid provided that they could be sold successfully to one’s audience: what mattered was success in getting others to play along through scene-setting and role-play. Alice Rio has written two books on early medieval legal and legal-ish practices: Legal Practice and the Written Word in the Early Middle Ages: Frankish Formulae, c.500–1000 (2009); and Slavery After Rome, 500–1100 (2017).


Martina Kessel

An Empire of Shaming: Reading Nazi Germany through the Violence of Laughter

Gerda Henkel Foundation Visiting Professorship Lecture, 26 November 2020

0:49 h

Survivors of the Shoah have often described how the SS liked to define torturing practices during the genocide as ‘jokes’. The paper discusses the systematic presence of derisive laughter in Nazi Germany and analyzes its meanings as a way both to act out understandings of Germanness and to ‘justify’ violence.

The Gerda Henkel Foundation Visiting Professorship Lecture 2020, hosted by the German Historical Institute and London School of Economics and Political Science, was be held as an online event on Thursday, 26 November 2020.


Peter Mandler

The Crisis of the Meritocracy: How Popular Demand (not Politicians) Made Britain into a Mass Education Society

GHIL Annual Lecture, 6 November 2020

0:55 h

The 2020 Annual Lecture 'The Crisis of the Meritocracy' was given by Professor Peter Mandler, Cambridge, on Friday, 6 November 2020.


Latest Blogposts

20 January 2021


Marcus Meer

Broken Symbols: Display and Destruction during the Attack on the Capitol

Almost two weeks later, recordings and photographs of the attack on the Capitol are still making newspaper headlines, flicker across screens, and fill the feeds on social media.

Category: Research

14 January 2021


Pierre Sfendules

An Ancient Church Father and his Victorian Audience: Christian von Bunsen’s...

As nineteenth-century Europe faced the challenges of advancing modernity and its shattering consequences for the religious mind, a lost treatise by an ancient Church Father, the Philosophoumena, was rediscovered in the dusty library of Mount Athos...

Category: Research