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Dr Joachim Häberlen


Office Hours:


Room 3.49, third floor, Faculty of Arts Building
+44 (0)24 76523425 (x23425) 

Tuesdays, in person: 11:00-12:00

Wednesdays, online: 14:00-15:00 (please email in advance to book a slot)

Office Hours will be held either in person or via MS Teams. Please email me to arrange for different times if you cannot make it to regular office hours (preferably via Teams then).



Two new publication on the reception of refugees in Germany:

Lessons of Citizenship: What Syrians Can Teach Germans, Al-Jumhuriya, 18 February 2020,

Heißt Humanitäre Hilfe auch Solidarität? Ein kritischer Blick auf die deutsche "Willkommenskultur", Geschichte der Gegenwart, 2 February 2020,

Intellectual Project

My intellectual agenda is driven by an attempt to understand how people in the past have attempted to challenge and change the existing social and political order. Studying these issues in a historical perspective will shed light, I hope, on the potential for envisioning societal and political change, but also highlight possible limitations, problems and dangers when it comes to practically implementing this change. It is for this reason that I find radical political movements fascinating – they often put seemingly established truths into question, put new issues on the agenda, and might develop new ideas and practices that are first exceptional and marginal, but sometimes became, in an altered way, normal and ordinary. I am less drawn to intellectual debates, but more to the (everyday or extraordinary) practices that challenge and alter the microdynamics of power relations. This perspective ‘on the ground’ results in a more nuanced and complicated understanding of the past. It has the potential to highlight ‘ordinary’ people’s agency and potential to enact change, for the better or worse.

Empirically, my research so far has focused on continental Europe during the twentieth century, though I am actively reading on related issues in different times and places, and I’m always looking forward to collaborate with colleagues on these issues whose specialty is not modern Europe.

For my dissertation and the resulting book, I studied the working-class movements struggles against the rise of the radical right in interwar France and Germany, focusing on two local case studies, Lyon and Leipzig. This work, and in particular its focus on the role of trust and distrust in social movements, will be of interest for any scholars working on political or social mobilization. A second issue this work addressed concerned the contested place of the political in everyday life and the reshaping of the political field itself. My current second project continues this interest in political mobilization and changing contours of the political. The project examines what I call the politics of emotions within the radical alternative left in Europe, roughly between 1968 and 1984. This project seeks to understand how radical activists understood and challenged what might be called an ‘emotional regime’ (William Reddy), but also developed their own ‘emotional regime’. It shows how new issues, namely emotions, became the subject of politics. Ultimately, I hope that the project will enable us to reconceptualize the transformations of the post-war period. I started this project at the Centre for the History Emotions, Berlin, where I not only developed interest in methodological approaches to the study of emotions, but also the history of the body. Two future lines of inquiry will thus address, first, the global transformation of the post-war world, and, second, the nexus between bodies, emotions and the realm of politics.

These interests are also reflected in my teaching. At Warwick, I offer a second year Optional Module on ‘Radical Politics and the Struggle for Democracy in Europe, 1917-1945’. This module seeks to make sense of the often violent attempts to create a radically different social and political order in Europe. I also teach a third year Advanced Optional Module on ‘Politics of Protest in Europe, 1968-1989’. This module is closely linked to my current research. It offers students an opportunity to think about the emergence of new forms of radical politics which might be deeply relevant for our contemporary world. Both modules are transnational in scope and address both Eastern and Western Europe.

See here for more information about my current research project The Politics of Emotions.

Since September 2015, I have also been actively engaged in supporting refugees in Berlin. While this was not motivated by academic interests (indeed, it started because I needed a break from academia), I have since reflected and published about the experiences in Berlin. In particular, it has led me to think about the importance of friendships between strangers. And not least, these experiences have generated a great deal of optimism. I have published a short online commentary in German, an article in German Politics and Society, and a book in German on these issues. The book uses a friendship with a young and brave woman from Afghanistan to think through some of the issues of making friends with strangers. It portrays her desires for freedom, the sometimes difficult, sometimes funny ways of dealing with (intimate) differences (spoiler: it's a lot about kissing), and ultimately pleads for a politics of friendship, as friendships create a space for difference and disagreement. As my friend wrote after we had a fierce fight about what is culturally acceptable and what is not: "We will always be friends, even when we disagree."

Research Interests

  • Modern European History, especially Germany and France in the 20th century
  • Comparative and Transnational
  • Cultural History of the Political, Micro-History, History of Emotions
  • Political and Social Movements, Revolts and Revolutions

Academic Career

  • Associate Professor of Modern Continental European History, University of Warwick
  • 2014-2019, Book Review Editor for German History
  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Center for the History of Emotions, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin
  • Ph.D. in History, with distinction, University of Chicago
  • Doctoral Fellow at the Berlin School for Comparative European History
  • M.A. in History, University of Chicago

Major Grants

  • 2014-2017: Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (€75,000)
  • 2011: German Academic Exchange Service Returnee Fellowship
  • 2006-2009: Doctoral Fellowship at the Berlin School for Comparative European History
  • 2007/08: German Academic Exchange Service Research Fellowship (France)
  • 2008: German Historical Institute Paris Research Fellowship





Edited Volumes

  • With Mark Keck-Szajbel and Kate Mahoney (eds.), The Politics of Authentic Subjectivity: Countercultures and Radical Movements Across the Iron Curtain (1968-1989). New York: Berghahn Books, 2018.
  • With Binder, Beate, Benno Gammerl, Jan Hutta, and Monique Scheer. Feeling Differently: Approaches and Their Politics. Special issue of Emotions, Space and Society, 25 (2017).
  • With Russell Spinney, Emotions in Protest Movements in Europe since 1917. Special Issue of Contemporary European History, 4/23 (2014).
  • With Agnes Arndt and Christiane Reinecke, Vergleichen, Verflechten, Verwirren? Europäische Geschichtsschreibung zwischen Theorie und Praxis [Comparing, Entangling, Confusing? Writing European History between Theory and Practice.] Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011.

Peer Reviewed Articles

  • Spiritual Politics: New Age and New Left in West Germany around 1980. European History Quarterly (2021): 239–261.

  • Feeling at Home in Lonely Cities: An Emotional History of the West German Urban Commun Movement During the Long 1970s. Urban History 48 (2021): 143-161.

  • "En route vers la liberté?" Trois récits de réfugiées musumlanes an Allemagne. Clio. Femmes, Genre, Histoire 51 (2020): 155-168.

  • Demokratische Erzählungen: Zur Verortung von »Willkommenskultur« und »Flüchtlingskrise« in der bundesrepublikanischen Geschichte. Werkstatt Geschichte 80 (2019), 93-104.

  • (Not) Narrating the History of the Federal Republic: Reflections on the Place of the New Left in West German History and Historiography. Central European History 52 (2019), 107-124.

  • The Contemporary Self in German History (Review Article). Contemporary European History 27 (2018), 674-692.
  • With Leonie Karwath, Mit der Technik Tanzen: Technokörper im Berlin der frühen Neunziger Jahre. Body Politics: Zeitschrift für Körpergeschichte 6 (2018), 95-122.
  • With Maik Tändler, Spaces for Feeling Differently: Emotional Experiments in the Alternative Left in West Germany During the 1970s. Emotion, Space and Society 25 (2017), 103-110.
  • Making Friends: Refugees and Volunteers in Germany. German Politics and Society 34 (2016), 55-76.
  • Feeling Like a Child. Dreams and Practices of Sexuality in the West-German Alternative Left During the Long 1970s. The Journal for the History of Sexuality 25 (2016), 219-245.
  • With Jake P. Smith, Struggling for Feelings: The Politics of Emotions in the Radical New Left in West Germany, c. 1968-84. Contemporary European History, 4/23 (2014) (Special Issue Emotions in Protest Movements in Europe since 1917), 615-637.
  • With Russell Spinney, Introduction. Contemporary European History, 4/23 (2014) (Special Issue Emotions in Protest Movements in Europe since 1917), 489-503.
  • Kameradschaft mit dem Messer? Zum Zerfall des linksproletarischen Milieus in Leipzig am Ende der Weimarer Republik. Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 53 (2013), 223-243.
  • Rooms of Maneuver and Political Options: The German Working-Class Movement and the Rise of Nazism. Politics, Religion & Ideology 14 (2013) (Theme Issue on the Nazi Machtergreifung 1933), 377-394.

  • Between Class War on All Fronts and Anti-Political Autonomy. The Contested Place of Politics in the Working-Class Movements of Leipzig and Lyon during the Interwar Years. Contemporary European History 22 (2013), 33-63.
  • Between Global Aspirations and Local Realities. The Global Dimensions of Interwar Communism. Journal of Global History 7 (2012), 415-437.
  • Klassenkampf an allen Fronten oder politische Belästigungen? Umstrittene Räume des Politischen innerhalb der Arbeiterbewegung in Leipzig am Ende der Weimarer Republik. [Class War on All Fronts or Political Molestations? Contested Spaces of the Political within Leipzig’s Working-Class Movement during the Final Years of the Weimar Republic.] Werkstatt Geschichte 59 (2012), 79-91.
  • "Weiter haben sich besonders zwei Frauenpersonen hervorgetan." Zur Rolle von Frauen in der Straßenpolitik am Ende der Weimarer Republik. ["Furthermore, Two Female Persons Distinguished Themselves." Women in Street Politics during the Final Years of the Weimar Republic.] L’Homme. Zeitschrift für feministische Geschichtswissenschaft 23 (2012), 91-105.
  • Practices within the Working-Class Movement in Leipzig and Lyon, 1929-1933/38. Reflections on Comparative Everyday History. International History Review 33 (2011), 687-704.
  • Mobilisierung, Politisierung und Zerfall. Aufstieg und Fall des Front populaire in Lyon, 1934-1938. [Mobilization, Politicization and Collapse: Rise and Fall of the Popular Front in Lyon, 1934-1938.] Francia. Forschungen zur Westeuropäischen Geschichte 38 (2011), 149-168.
  • Meint Ihr’s auch ehrlich? Vertrauen und Misstrauen in der linken Arbeiterbewegung in Leipzig zu Beginn der 1930er Jahre. [Are You Honest About This? Trust and Distrust in the Leftist Working-Class Movement in Leipzig and Lyon during the Early 1930s.] Geschichte und Gesellschaft 36 (2010), 377-407

Book Chapters

  • Social Democrats and Communists in Weimar Germany: A Divided Working-Class Movement. In The Oxford Handbook of the Weimar Republic, edited by Nadine Rossol and Benjamin Ziemann. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.

  • Genealogien der Vernunftkritik: Von der Lebensreform zur Alternativbewegung. In Lebensreform um 1900 und Alternativmilieu um 1980: Kontinuitäten und Brüche in Milieus der gesellschaftlichen Selbstreflexion im frühen und späten 20. Jahrhundert, edited by Detlef Siegfried and David Templin, 47-60. Göttingen: V&R unipress, 2019.

  • With Mark Keck-Szajbel, Introduction. In The Politics of Authentic Subjectivity: Countercultures and Radical Movements Across the Iron Curtain (1968-1989), edited by Joachim C. Häberlen, Mark Keck-Szajbel and Kate Mahoney. 1-23. New York: Berghahn Books, 2018.
  • Erfolge und Niederlagen: Die Arbeiterbewegung in Leipzig und Lyon im Kampf gegen die radikale Rechte. In Gewerkschaften, Arbeitswelt und Arbeiterkultur in Frankreich und Deutschland von 1890-1990, edited by Etienne François and Wilfried Loth, 57-69. Stuttgart: Steiner, 2017.
  • Conclusion. In Dropping out of Socialism, edited by Juliane Fürst and Josie McLellan. 304-318. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.
  • Sekunden der Freiheit. Zum Verhältnis von Gefühlen, Macht und Zeit in Ausnahmesituationen am Beispiel der Revolte 1980/81 in Berlin. In Ausnahmezustände. Entgrenzungen und Regulierungen in Europa während des Kalten Krieges, edited by Dirk Schumann and Cornelia Rau, 195-213. Göttingen: Wallstein, 2015.
  • Ingrid's Boredom. In Ute Frevert et al., Learning How to Feel: Children's Literature and Emotional Socialization, 1870-1970 (Emotions in History), 228-244. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Politik und Autoritäten. Lebenswelten kommunistischer Jugendlicher in Leipzig während der Weimarer Republik. In Jugendkulturen in Mitteldeutschland im 20. Jahrhundert, edited by Alfons Kenkmann and Leonard Schmieding, 83-100. Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 2012.
  • Die Praxis der Arbeiterbewegung in Lyon und Leipzig. Überlegungen zu einer vergleichenden Alltagsgeschichte." In Vergleichen, Verflechten, Verwirren? Europäische Geschichtsschreibung zwischen Theorie und Praxis, edited by Agnes Arndt, Joachim C. Häberlen and Christiane Reinecke, 295-316. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011.
  • With Agnes Arndt and Christiane Reinecke. Einleitung: Europäische Geschichtsschreibung zwischen Theorie und Praxis – Chancen, Risiken und Grenzen. In Vergleichen, Verflechten, Verwirren? Europäische Geschichtsschreibung zwischen Theorie und Praxis, edited by Agnes Arndt, Joachim C. Häberlen and Christiane Reinecke, 11-26. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011.
  • Indépendance du sport ou lieu de politisation: la relation problématique entre le mouvement sportif ouvrier et les partis ouvriers à la fin de la République de Weimar. In La société civile organisée aux XIXe et XXe siècles : perspectives allemandes et françaises, edited by Jay Rowell and Anne-Marie Saint-Gille, 275-285. Lyon: Presses Universitaires de Septentrion, 2010.


Conferences Organized

  • Underground Adventures: Temporal Experimentation in Postwar Countercultures. Co-Organized with Jake P. Smith and Jan Hansen. International Workshop at the Humboldt University, Berlin, 24/25 March 2017.
  • New Subjectivities, New Emotions, New Politics: Oppositional Politics and Counter Cultures Across the Iron Curtain During the Long 1970s. Co-Organized with Mark Keck-Szajbel and Kate Mahoney. International Workshop at the Center for Interdisciplinary Polish Studies, Europe University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder, Germany, 12/13 June 2015.
  • Feeling Differently. Emotional Non-Conformism in the 20th & 21st Centuries. Co-Organized with Beate Binder, Benno Gammerl, Jan Hutta, and Monique Scheer. Centre for the History of Emotions, Berlin, December 2013.