Professor Paul Betts

Professor of Modern European History

+44 (0) 4418 652 74538

BA Haverford, MA PhD Chicago

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). In November 2020 my new book Ruin and Renewal: Civilising Europe after World War II will be published by Basic Books in the US, and Profile Books in the UK. 

I have also co-edited seven volumes:

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.