The Chair for British and North American History at the University of Kassel examines the histories of both societies from the early seventeenth century to the present. Its guiding premise is that the Anglo-American world, broadly defined, can only be understood as the product of multiple – often uneven – forms of entanglement and exchange. Covering a broad geographical and chronological range, we aim to provide theoretically informed and methodologically sound historical knowledge on a vast array of topics. In doing so, we familiarize students with key events and periods in US, Canadian, and British history. Particular emphasis is placed on the histories of political culture, imperial and national formations, ideas and emotions, discourses and practices, wealth and poverty, freedom and unfreedom, mobility and rootedness, violence and experiences of violence, conformism and diversity, and on categories of difference such as race, gender, age, class, and region. Current areas of research include the histories of youth and childhood, imperial history, age and anti-aging, media history, and the role of emotions in the history of democracy. Institutionally, the professorship serves as an important bridge between the research departments 05 and 02.
Studying British and North American history in ways that are edifying, cutting-edge, and useful is predicated on the ability to navigate different scales of analysis. Journalists, policymakers, and other public actors consult the history of the Anglo-American world to gain insight into local or national matters pertaining to the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. At the same time, the turn toward transnational and global history has posed a serious challenge to older, more insulated area studies traditions. Cognizant of such critiques, this professorship conceptualizes British and North American history as tightly interwoven with the rest of the world. We approach our subject as a dynamic contact zone shaped by various patterns of power and culture that is bound up with other parts of the globe through avenues of cooperation and conflict. We share this broadened perspective with other department chairs (Modern and Contemporary History, History of Western Europe, Early Modern History), which facilitates collaboration across temporal, spatial, and disciplinary boundaries. In privileging transatlantic and transpacific frameworks, we seek to produce meaningful historical knowledge for a globally connected and crisis-ridden twenty-first century world.