Skip to main content

Professor Jan Palmowski

Contact details

Professor Jan Palmowski

Professor of Modern and Contemporary History - Secretary General to the Guild of European Research Intensive Universities

Jan Palmowski is a Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, and currently serves as Secretary General to the Guild of European Research Intensive Universities. Before joining Warwick in 2013, he was at King’s College London, where he received the King’s College Teaching Award (2007).

An expert on the history of the German Democratic Republic (1945-1990), Jan ‘s most recent book is on that state and its authoritarian leadership developed strategies for creating national identities, and how citizens responded to this. As part of this work, Jan has done extensive field work, including in Archives of the former State Security Service, the Stasi, to see what effect the world’s most dense network of unofficial informants had on society and communities.

Jan is particularly interested in how national identities are formed, and in processes of reconciliation in post-Conflict societies.

current research interests
  • The history of the German Democratic Republic (1945-1990)
  • How states constitute and define citizenship
  • How post-authoritarian states deal with their past
  • History, Identity and Politics in the European Union

teaching and supervision

Jan supervises a number of dissertations on German history since the 1850s. In the past, he has also supervised disssertations on the history of the European Union and on Europeanization. He has taught extensively on the politics of the European Union, on European history since 1789, and on the politics of contemporary Germany.



  • At the Crossroads of Past and Present: ‘Contemporary History in the Historical Discipline’, Journal of Contemporary History, special issue, vol. 46 (July 2011). Edited with Kristina Spohr-Readman
  • Inventing a Socialist Nation: Heimat and the Politics of Everyday Life in the GDR, 1945-90. (Cambridge University Press, 2009)
  • Citizenship and National Identity in Twentieth-Century Germany (Stanford University Press, 2008), edited with Geoff Eley