I am a historian of Modern European thought, especially Europe’s engagement with the wider world. My studies and teachings have concentrated on modern European history, political institution building, and religious thought.
My first book, The Weimar Century: German Émigrés and the Ideological Foundations of the Cold War (Princeton University Press, 2014), uncovers the intellectual, political, and institutional forces that shaped Germany’s reconstruction after World War II and the broader ideological genesis of the Cold War. By tracing the careers of influential German émigrés of diverse theoretical and political backgrounds, it claims that political ideas from Weimar Germany (1918-1933) were fundamental in molding the postwar order in Europe and the construction of American global hegemony. It was awarded the Council of European Studies’ 2016 Book Prize (for best first book in European studies published in 2014-2015). Chinese, German, Korean, and Hebrew translations are forthcoming. You can read more about it here.
I am currently working on a second book-length project, tentatively titled From “Enemies of the Cross” to “Brethren in Faith”: Global Politics and the End of Europe’s Protestant-Catholic War, 1885-1965. This project explores the surprising end of Europe’s Catholic-Protestant conflict. For centuries, European Christian religious, political, and cultural life had been divided along denominational lines; and anti-Catohlicism and anti-Protestantism were powerful cultural tropes. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, however, Europe experienced a radical revolution in intra-Christian relations. After centuries of mutual hostility, Catholics and Protestants across the continent increasingly began making peace with each other; they founded common social associations, cooperated in lay organizations, and declared they were “brethren in faith.” While scholars have largely attributed this unanticipated shift to the trauma of Nazi persecution or the Cold War, this project argues that another major motor behind it was the collapse of Europe’s colonial project. For centuries, both Catholic and Protestant organizations had been active participants in European imperial expansion. Much of the hostility between them therefore stemmed from a sense of global competition: the belief that only they truly represented the West’s “civilizing mission.” Yet the challenges of postwar decolonization changed their calculations. A growing sense that European—and Christian—expansion was ending and that Europe’s cultural and religious influence was on the decline led Protestants and Catholics to view each other as necessary partners in the fight against Islam, Communism, and nationalist revolutionary ideologies in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. This cooperation in turn laid the groundwork for their shifting views in Europe.
At Dartmouth, I teach classes on Modern European history, with focus on intellectual history, international politics, German history, and WWII. In 2016, I was voted by the senior class as Dartmouth’s best professor, and was awarded the Jerome Goldstein Award for Distinguished Teaching. You can see some syllabi here.