Areas of research

The Basel Graduate School of History actively contributes to the dynamic environment fostered by the Department of History at the University of Basel. Since the 1990s, Basel has made an international name for itself in the history research community with its historico-cultural, historico-anthropological and gender history research. Swiss history, Eastern European history and African history are particular touchstones. In recent years, the Department of History has focused its research and teaching on two overarching topics: A global perspective on European history and Renaissances. These have been augmented by a series of specific research projects on African history, Eastern European history, images, objects and media, gender history, the history of knowledge, and the history of Basel. Regular research colloquiums organized by the individual research groups offer extensive opportunities to discuss specific research questions.


Professor Caroline Arni*

Professor of Modern History

Professor Arni supervises doctoral projects in the following fields: Social history, historical anthropology (particularly in connection with symmetrical anthropology), women’s and gender history, history of science (particularly the human sciences) and Swiss history.

Professor Susanna Burghartz*

Professor of the History of the Renaissance and the Early Modern Era

Questions of perception, representation and mediality are linked with gender history and socio-historical issues of Early Modern expansion and colonial history, the history of reformation and confessionalization, and the history of Basel and Switzerland in the Renaissance and the Early Modern era.

Professor Lucas Burkart

Professor of the History of the Late Middle Ages and the Italian Renaissance

Research currently focuses on the urban and economic history of the late medieval city, international Renaissance studies, the entangled history of the Early Modern era (micro-global), historical analysis of the material, and on digital history and literacy.

Professor Madeleine Herren-Oesch*

Professor of Modern History and Director of the Institute for European Global Studies at the University of Basel

Research centers on the general history of the 19th and 20th centuries and on methods and theories of historical sciences, with a particular focus on the history of Europe, European expansion and integration, global history and the question of how global, local and national actors influence one another.

Professor Martin Lengwiler

Professor of Modern General History

This professorship and its research group focus on European and global history since the 19th century, economic history, the history of the welfare state, the history of knowledge and digital history.

Professor Jan-Friedrich Missfelder*

Professor of the History of the Early Modern Era (SNSF professorship)

Research centers on topics related to the history of media, communication and sensory studies in the Early Modern era, the history of reformation and religious denominations in Early Modern Europe, the political history of ideas, theories of history and the history of historiography.

Professor Claudia Opitz-Belakhal*

Professor of the History of Early Modern Europe (esp. Central and Western Europe)

Research focuses on topics relating to gender history and historical anthropology (family relationships, history of parenthood, childhood and old age, history of emotions) and on the history of political ideas and culture (e.g. female sovereignty and the “querelle des femmes”, human rights, women and gender in the French Revolution, French court society). Other important areas of research and teaching include the history of education and knowledge and cultural transfer studies.

Professor Erik Petry

Center for Jewish Studies

Research focuses on the history of the Jews in Germany and Switzerland, Zionism, anti-Semitism, the Middle East, Jewish sports history, oral history and the history of memory.

Professor Jan Rüdiger

Professor of General History of the Middle Ages

Research primarily focuses on the history of Northern and Western Europe during the Early and High Middle Ages. Current research subjects include the history of England in the 11th-13th centuries, maritime societies ("thalassocracies"), Greater Burgundy, 13th-century Catalonia, medieval political language(s) and regional historical cultures in the 19th-21st centuries.

Professor F. Benjamin Schenk

Professor of Russian and Eastern European History

Research focuses on questions of Russian and Eastern European history from a cultural-historical perspective. Special emphasis is placed on the history of Russia, the Soviet Union and East-Central Europe of the 19th and 20th centuries, and particularly on the history of empires, spatial history, the history of memory, the history of infrastructure, migration history and the history of biography and autobiography.

Professor Julia Tischler

Professor of African History

Research and teaching focus on social and environmental processes in the 19th and 20th centuries, mainly in southern Africa (South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe), but also in East and West Africa. Central research topics include knowledge and science, work and labor, development, agriculture, natural resources, (settler) colonialism, decolonization and race.


*These faculty members are not currently available to supervise applicants for starter scholarships.