Professor Paul Betts

Professor Paul Betts

BA Haverford, MA PhD Chicago
Paul Betts
Professor of Modern European History
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My research and publications center on Modern European Cultural History in general and 20th Century German History in particular.  I am especially interested in the relationship between culture and politics over the course of the century, and have worked on the themes of material culture, cultural diplomacy, photography, memory and nostalgia, human rights and international justice, death and changing notions of private life.

My published work includes the books Within Walls:  Private Life in the German Democratic Republic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010; paperback, 2012), which was awarded the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History by the Wiener Library, and The Authority of Everyday Objects:  A Cultural History of West German Industrial Design (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004; paperback, 2007). 

I have also co-edited seven volumes:

  • The Ethics of Seeing: Photography and 20th Century German History (Berghahn, 2017), with Jennifer Evans and Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann
  • Religion, Science and Communism in Cold War Europe (Palgrave, 2016), with Stephen A. Smith
  • Heritage in the Modern World:  Historical Preservation in International Perspective, Past & Present Supplement 10 (OUP, 2015), with Corey Ross
  • Years of Persecution, Years of Extermination:  Saul Friedländer and the Future of Holocaust Studies (Continuum, 2010), with Christian Wiese
  • Between Mass Death and Individual Loss: The Place of the Dead in Twentieth-Century Germany (Berghahn Books, 2008; pb, 2011), with Alon Confino and Dirk Schumann
  • Socialist Modern:  East German Everyday Culture and Politics (University of Michigan Press, 2008), with Katherine Pence
  •  Pain and Prosperity:  Reconsidering Twentieth Century German  History (Stanford University Press, 2003), with Greg Eghigian

Co-Curator, traveling exhibition and catalogue, Tito in Africa:  Picturing Solidarity, Museum of Yugoslavia, Belgrade (June-September 2017), Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford (November 2017-March 2018), Die Wende Museum, Los Angeles (Spring 2019). 

Co-Investigator, “Socialism Goes Global: Connecting the Second and Third Worlds,” 4 Year AHRC-Funded Collaborative Grant, with 6 other international institutions, 2014-2018.

I was Chair of the German History Society (2011-2014), and co-edited the journal German History, 2004-2009.  Since 2009 I have served on the Editorial Board of Past & Present.

I am Series Editor of New Directions in German History, Berghahn Books, 2012-, and was Series Co-Editor, St Antony’s Series, Palgrave Macmillan 2013-2016.  

I was Director of St Antony’s European Studies Centre, 2015-2017

Currently I am researching a new project on changing notions of civilization In Europe after 1945.  

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