I’m a historian and writer. I received my academic training at the University of Chicago, where I graduated with a Ph.D. in Modern European History in 2011. After that, I worked for two years as post-doctoral research fellow at the Centre for the History of Emotions in Berlin. In 2013, I joined the History Department at the University of Warwick, where I most recently held a position as Associate Professor of Modern Continental European History. I have quit my academic position and now live and work in Berlin, where I’m undergoing additional training to become a teacher of English and History.
Engaging with the past, I hope to find not lessons, but inspirations for the present: I’ve studied how people in different and often difficult circumstances struggled for a better word, how they fought against oppression and authorities, how they tried to develop better alternatives and tried to live better lives. Yet, I remain equally wary of romanticizing the past and its struggles. All too often those who sought to build a better world ended up reproducing oppressive power structures. As much as these histories can inspire hope and imagination, they should also inspire a healthy sense of skepticism.
Even though I’ve left the academic world, I continue to write and publish.
My most recent work has focused on two areas. First, I have researched protest movements in post-war Europe. While much of my empirical research has focused on West Germany, and specifically the Politics of Emotions in the Alternative Left during the 1970s, I have also looked beyond national borders to understand protest cultures across the Iron Curtain. This work has resulted in a book exploring the struggles for a better world after the Second World War all across Europe, forthcoming with Penguin Press in 2023.
My second area of work comes out of my engagement for refugees, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan, in Berlin since 2015, and the numerous friendships between unlikely strangers formed in this context. I’ve published political commentary on the German gaze on refugees, academic articles, and two books: a short essay, in German, on what makes friendships between strangers political, and a longer book, in English, about the stories that those fleeing from Afghanistan and Syria tell about their lives, and what we can learn about citizenship from these stories.
If you’re interested in my work, please contact me at Dr.Joachim.Haeberlen@gmail.com
I have a literary agent at Johnson & Alcock.