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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2021/22 Prof. em. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen …

Prof. em. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Osterhammel

Source: private
University of Freiburg
Distinguished Fellow
Balzan Prize 2018
March 2019 - December 2025

Room 02 006
Phone + 49 (0) 761-203 97402
Fax +49 (0) 761-203 97451


Jürgen Osterhammel was a senior lecturer in political science at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität (1986-1990) and a professor of modern and contemporary History at the FernUniversität (Open University) Hagen, The Graduate Institute (Geneva) and, from 1999, the University of Konstanz. He retired in 2018. He received his doctorate from the University of Kassel (1980) and his Habilitation from the University of Freiburg (1990). In 2018, the European University Institute (Florence) awarded him an honorary doctorate. In the same year, he was admitted to the Order Pour le Mérite (the German Order of Merit). He is a member of the academies of science in Halle (Leopoldina), Berlin, Vienna and Torino and also of the British Academy and the Academia Europaea. His awards include the Leibniz-Preis (2010), the Sigmund-Freud-Preis of the German Academy for Language and Literature (2014), the Toynbee Prize (2017) and the Balzan Prize (2018).

Osterhammel began as a historian of both modern China and the British Empire. He also taught the history and theory of international relations. As a pupil and collaborator of historians Ernst Schulin (1929-2017) and Wolfgang J. Mommsen (1930-2004), he developed an interest in comparative and world history and became one of the pioneers of global history in Germany. His work in that mode culminated in an analytical world history of the nineteenth century (2009) that has been translated into several languages. He has also worked on the Enlightenment, on the social history of music and, most recently, on the history of the global public sphere (Weltöffentlichkeit).


Selected Publications

  • Osterhammel, J. (2018) Unfabling the East: The Enlightenment’s Encounter with Asia, tr. Robert Savage, Princeton,NJ: Princeton University Press, 676 pp.
  • Osterhammel, J. / S. Conrad, eds. (2018) An Emerging Modern World, 1750-1870, Cambridge,MA: Harvard University Press, 1090 pp.
  • Osterhammel, J. (2017) Die Flughöhe der Adler: Historische Essays zur globalen Gegenwart, Munich: C.H. Beck, 300 pp.
  • Osterhammel, J. / J. C. Jansen (2017) Decolonization: A Short History, tr. Jeremiah Riemer, Princeton,NJ: Princeton University Press, 252 pp.
  • Osterhammel, J. (2014) The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century, tr. Patrick Camiller, Princeton,NJ: Princeton University Press, 1167 pp.

Complete list of publications (pdf)


FRIAS Research Project

Balzan Project in Global History: Global Processes and the Dynamics of Regions

The project, funded by the Balzan Foundation (Milano/Zürich) as part of the Balzan Prize awarded to Jürgen Osterhammel in 2018, is a comprehensive programme rather than a sharply focussed research project. It will run from 2019 to 2022 and will be directed by Osterhammel in conjunction with Prof. Dr. Stefanie Gänger (Cologne), a global historian and specialist on Latin American history. The programme consist of three different elements: (1) a Balzan Junior Fellowship hosted by FRIAS: (2) a bi-annual Balzan-FRIAS Lecture in Global History, open to the general public, that is accompanied by a workshop where invited early-career scholars will be able to meet a prominent global historian; (3) a series of three international conferences under the general title of "Disconnect" that will explore systematic and historical aspects of the tension between global and regional dynamics from the eighteenth century to the present day. All events under the auspices of the programme are fully accessible to members of FRIAS, and most of them welcome participants and audience from the University of Freiburg. The general purpose of the programme is to strengthen a global and comparative perspective in historical studies, to build bridges to neighbouring disciplines and to support young scholars engaged on doctoral and postdoctoral studies.