Modern European History

The Modern European History field at OSU offers a rigorous and innovative graduate program with remarkable geographical and thematic breadth and depth. Our faculty members explore various aspects of the political, social, cultural, intellectual, diplomatic, and military history of Modern Europe as well as the history of science and technology, environmental history, gender and women's history, Jewish history, colonial and post-colonial history, and historiography. Geographically, they cover the entire continent from Britain, France, Germany and Scandinavia to Eastern Europe and Russia to the European overseas empires. Our faculty members also engage in thematic, comparative, interdisciplinary, and collaborative work that allows them to incorporate in their research and teaching a global and transnational perspective on the European continent and its history.


Alan Beyerchen (Emeritus Professor) works on nineteenth- and twentieth-century German history with a focus on the cultural relationships among science, technology, and modernity. He is the author of Scientists under Hitler: Politics and the Physics Community in the Third Reich (Yale, 1977). His current book project deals with Clausewitz and the quest for a science of war.

Nicholas Breyfogle specializes in imperial Russian history, especially the history of Russian imperialism, as well as environmental history. He is the author of Heretics and Colonizers: Forging Russia's Empire in the South Caucasus (Cornell, 2005) and the co-editor of Peopling the Russian Periphery: Borderland Colonization in Eurasian History (Routledge, 2007). He is currently working on an environmental history of the Lake Baikal region of Siberia, tentatively entitled Baikal: The Great Lake and its People.

Bruno Cabanes Bruno Cabanes is a historian of twentieth-century Europe, and more specifically, the social and cultural history of war. He is particularly interested in the period of transition that followed World War I. Among other publications, is the author of La Victoire endeuillée. La sortie de guerre des soldats français (Seuil, 2004), The Great War and the Origins of Humanitarianism, 1918-1924 (Cambridge University Press, 2014) (awarded the American Historical Association’s Paul Birdsall Prize), August 1914. France, the Great War and A Month that Changed the World Forever (Yale University Press, 2014), Un siècle de réfugiés. Photographier l’exil (Seuil, 2019). He has recently edited Une histoire de la guerre, du dix-neuvième siècle à nos jours (Seuil, 2018) with 57 of the world’s leading scholars in modern military history.

Mollie Cavender (Mansfield Campus) works on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Russian cultural, social and intellectual history. She is the author of Nests of the Gentry: Family, Estate and Local Loyalties in Provincial Russia (University of Delaware, 2007).

Alice Conklin specializes in the history of modern France and its empire, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between ideas and practices. She is the author of A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895-1930 (Stanford, 1997; paperback 1998); co-editor of European Imperialism: Climax and Contradictions (Houghton Mifflin, 1998); and co-author (with Sarah Fishman and Rob Zaretsky) of Modern France and its Empire, 1870-2005 (Oxford, 2010). Her current project, tentatively entitled In the Museum of Man: Ethnography, Race Science, and Empire, 1920-1950, is a cultural, political and intellectual history of French anthropology as a colonial science.

Theodora Dragostinova specializes in modern Eastern Europe, comparative nationalism and nation-building, immigrants, refugees, and minorities in modern Europe, and communism in Eastern Europe. She is the author of Between Two Motherlands: Nationality and Emigration among the Greeks of Bulgaria, 1900-1949 (Cornell, 2011, forthcoming). Her current project, tentatively entitled Communist Extravaganza, studies the years of late socialism in Bulgaria through an examination of cultural politics and national commemorations.

Carole Fink (Emeritus Professor) specializes in European international history and historiography. Her works include Defending the Rights of Others: The Great Powers, the Jews, and International Minority Protection, 1878-1938 (Cambridge, 2004); Marc Bloch: A Life in History (Cambridge, 1989); and The Genoa Conference: European Diplomacy, 1921-22 (Chapel Hill, 1984; Syracuse paperback, 1993). Her current research is on German Ostpolitik after 1966 and German-Israeli relations in the 1960s as well as on refugee problems during the 1920s and 1930s.

Harding Ganz (Emeritus Professor) (Newark Campus) specializes in German and military history. He has published on the Imperial German Navy, and on armored warfare, in Military Affairs, Armor, and Journal of Military History. He is presently engaged in research on the U.S. 4th Armored Division and on the 11th Panzer Division in World War II.

James Genova (Marion Campus) specializes in the colonial and post-colonial history of French-speaking West Africa. He is the author of Colonial Ambivalence, Cultural Authenticity, and the Limitations of Mimicry in French-Ruled West Africa, 1914-1956 (Peter Lang, 2004). His second book project, Moving Images and Distant Words: The Culture Wars of Decolonization in French/Francophone West Africa, 1945-1970, examines the cultural politics of decolonization through the prism of battles on the literary and cinematic terrain.

David Hoffmann is a specialist in Russian and Soviet history. He is the author of Peasant Metropolis: Social Identities in Moscow, 1929-1941 (Cornell, 2000); Stalinist Values: The Cultural Norms of Soviet Modernity, 1917-1941 (Cornell, 2003), and the editor of Stalinism: The Essential Readings (Blackwell, 2002), and co-editor of Russian Modernity: Politics, Knowledge, Practices (Macmillan, 2000). He is currently completing a book entitled, Cultivating the Masses: The Modern Social State in Russia, 1914-1939, which places Soviet social policies in an international comparative context.

Robin Judd works on Modern European and Jewish history as well as women's and gender history. She is the author of Contested Rituals: Circumcision, Kosher Butchering, and German-Jewish Political Life in Germany, 1843-1933 (Cornell, 2007. Her new project is Love at the Zero Hour: European War Brides, GI Husbands, and European Strategies for Reconstruction.

Stephen Kern specializes in modern European cultural and intellectual history. His publications include Anatomy and Destiny: A Cultural History of the Human Body (Bobbs-Merrill, 1975); The Culture of Time and Space: 1880-1918 (Harvard, 1983, 2003); The Culture of Love: Victorians to Moderns (Harvard, 1992); Eyes of Love: The Gaze in English and French Paintings and Novels (Reaktion, 1996); and A Cultural History of Causality: Science, Murder Novels, and Systems of Thought (Princeton, 2004). He recently completed the manuscript of a book on the modernist novel, and his next project will be on modernism and religion.

Christopher Otter specializes in the history of technology, the history of food, and environmental history. His geographical focus is Britain from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. He is the author of The Victorian Eye: A Political History of Light and Vision in Britain, 1800-1910 (Chicago, 2008). He is currently working on a book called The Vital State: Feeding Industrializing Britain 1750-1950.

Jennifer Siegel specializes in modern European diplomatic and military history, with a focus on the British and Russian Empires. She is the author of Endgame: Britain, Russia and the Final Struggle for Central Asia (Tauris, 2002). She co-edited Intelligence and Statecraft: The Use and Limits of Intelligence in International Society (Praeger, 2005). Her current research projects include an exploration of British and French private and government bank loans to Russia in the late imperial period up to the Genoa Conference of 1922, tentatively entitled "Peace and Money".

Birgitte Søland works on European women's and gender history. She is the author Becoming Modern: Young Women and the Reconstruction of Womanhood in the 1920s (Princeton, 2000), and she has co-edited Gender, Kinship, Power: A Comparative and Interdisciplinary History (Routledge, 1996), and Secret Gardens, Satanic Mills: Placing Girls in European History, 1750-1960 (Indiana, 2004). Her current work focuses on the history of youth, children and children's rights, with a particular emphasis on orphans.

Dale Van Kley (Emeritus Professor) is a historian of the Old Regime and the French Revolution. He is the author of The Jansenists and the Expulsion of the Jesuits from France (Yale, 1975); The Damiens Affair and the Unraveling of the Old Regime (Princeton, 1984); The Religious Origins of the French Revolution (Yale, 1996); and The French Idea of Freedom (Stanford, 1994). His present project focuses on the (failed) quest for a more conciliar Catholic Church and a more collegial Catholic communion in the second half of the century of "lights."

Courses in Modern European History

Graduate Program

Graduate Training

Graduate students at The Ohio State University may develop either a major or minor field in Modern European History, working with individual faculty members to tailor their interests in a particular geographical or thematic area. Each year, our faculty members offer a variety of graduate courses that provide vigorous training in diverse aspects of the historiography and history of Modern Europe. Our students also receive comprehensive foreign language training to facilitate their research in overseas institutions.

Graduate Funding

All admitted graduate students receive guaranteed multi-year funding packages from the History Department in the form of fellowships, teaching associate-ships, or research associate-ships.

The History Department, the Graduate College, the Office of International Affairs, the Mershon Center, and other offices on campus provide numerous additional funding opportunities for dissertation research and writing as well as conference travel. Many of our students win Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships as well as nationally competitive fellowships, such as Fulbright-Hays, IREX, ACTR, and SSRC.


Our graduate students have had a remarkable success securing academic and non-academic positions after completing their degrees, and some institutions that employ our graduates include Adams State College, Bryant University, Florida Southern College, Glasgow University (Scotland), Georgia State University, Goucher College, Gustavus Adolphus College, Knox College, Muskingam College, Newman University, Ohio State University, Shippensburg University, University of Arkansas, University of Hawaii, University of Toledo, United States Air Force Academy, Wayne State University, Wesleyan College, Western Carolina University as well as the Institute for Defense Analyses and the United States Army.


To find course availability and times, please visit the Ohio State Course Catalog and Master Schedule.