• Courses

    • The Global Sixties
    • Capstone Humanities Seminar
    • The Cold War of the 1980s
    • The Global Cold War
    • US in the World Since 1898

  • Projects

    • The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs & Germany
    • The Nuclear Crisis: Cold War Cultures & the Politics of Peace and Security, 1975-1990

  • Books

    “'Trust, but Verify': The Politics of Uncertainty & the Transformation of the Cold War Order, 1969-1991" (Wilson Center/Stanford University Press, forthcoming 2016)

  • Events

    • 05/19-21: Conference, “Rethinking Historical Space,” NYUAD
    • 11/01-03: Conference, “Islam in Global Perspective," NYUAD
    • 2016: "Revisiting '68 & the Global Sixties I," NYU New York


My name is Martin Klimke and I am the Associate Dean of Humanities and Associate Professor of History at New York University Abu Dhabi, as well as an associated faculty member in the Department of History at New York University.

In addition, I am an associated researcher at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA) at the University of Heidelberg and in Transatlantic Cultural History (TCH) at the University of Augsburg, Germany.

My research focuses on the intersection of political and cultural history, with a particular emphasis on diplomatic and transnational history. The increasingly global cultural, political, and military presence of the U.S., especially after World War II, as well as the country’s complex entanglement with other forces of globalization, are at the center of my scholarly interests.

My latest book is a co-authored history of the experience of African American soldiers in Germany in the 20th century entitled A Breath of Freedom: The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs, and Germany (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). For more, please see here.

I am currently working on the nuclear crisis, U.S. foreign policy, and grassroots activism during the Cold War of the 1980s, and am writing a transnational biography of Petra Kelly, international peace activist and co-founder of the German Green Party.

Forthcoming: Ein Hauch von Freiheit?

Ein Hauch von Freiheit_4_Small

Afroamerikanische Soldaten, die US-Bürgerrechtsbewegung und Deutschland

Maria Höhn & Martin Klimke
Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, April 2016
320 Seiten, kart., zahlr. Abb.; ISBN 978-3-8376-3492-1

Die Geschichte der in Deutschland stationierten, afroamerikanischen Soldaten ist bislang wenig beachtet worden. Maria Höhn und Martin Klimke zeichnen nach, wie sich das Land im Laufe des 20. Jahrhunderts als wichtiger Bezugspunkt im afroamerikanischen Kampf um die Gleichberechtigung und zur Beendigung der Segregation in den USA herausbildete.

Von den beiden Weltkriegen und der Besatzungszeit bis in die späten 1970er Jahre schildern sie die Proteste in den US-Militärbasen und Garnisonsstädten in der Bundesrepublik, den Besuch von Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Berlin 1964, die Allianz der Studentenbewegung mit der Black-Power- und GI-Bewegung sowie die Angela-Davis-Solidaritätskampagnen in Ost- und Westdeutschland.

For more, please see here.

Conference: Islam in Global Perspective


This conference brings together scholars to explore the nature and salience of Islam and Muslim communities from a global perspective. While journalists and political pundits often describe transregional Islamic movements as primarily political or militant, this conference will explore cultural, social, and scholarly aspects to transregional and global Muslim communities.

Invited scholars will approach this question through the lenses such as migration, transregionalism, transmission of scientific knowledge, while acknowledging the conceptual tension between global and local, and universal and particular identities and practices.

Location: New York University Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Date: November 1- 3, 2015

Convened by: The Organization for Islamic Area Studies, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
Asia-Europe Institute, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Arab Crossroads Studies Program, NYUAD
History Program, NYUAD

In cooperation with: Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, NYUNYU

Supported by: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JPSP)New York University Abu Dhabi Institute

Organized by: Sadashi Fukuda, Keiko Sakurai, Takayuki Yoshimura (Waseda University), Nasrudin Bin Md Akhir, Siti Rohaini Binti Kassim (University of Malaya), Martin Klimke & Justin Stearns (NYUAD)

For more, please see here.

The Berlin Wall: 25 Years After The Fall


With Eugen Ruge and Gabriele Landwehr

2014 marked the silver anniversary of the end of a historical symbol: the separation between East and West Germany. Award-winning German author Eugen Ruge (In Times of Fading Light) and Dr. Gabriele Landwehr, General Director of the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region, discuss the impact of this turning point on the German identity.
Host: Dr. Martin Klimke, Associate Professor NYUAD

Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2015
ADNEC, The Tent
11 May 2015, 6:45 – 7:30pm

Organized by Goethe Institut
In cooperation with the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

For more, please see here.

Conference: Rethinking Historical Space


Attention to questions of space and geography are integral to the discipline of history, which is fundamentally concerned with the contexts of human lived experience. Over the course of the twentieth century, the most common approach to contextualizing the spaces and areas of the past has involved designating and mobilizing teaching and research around particular fixed and clearly delineated areas, specifically those of nation-states, western vs. nonwestern civilizations, and cold war regions (Africa, MENA, Central/East/South or Southeast Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe).

From inside the borders of these national, civilizational, and cold war regional areas, historians have explored a range of political, economic, social, and cultural questions and produced richly contextualized works that have greatly enhanced our understanding of the past.

In recent decades, it has become increasingly apparent that this approach to space, and with it all three kinds of areas, had certain limitations. Despite different challenges inherent in these new concepts, historians have nonetheless begun to work very productively with the notions of the global and the transnational. They have done so not to suggest an all-encompassing spatial unit of analysis or a homogenous scale of historical processes and human experience, but rather to re-focus and re-frame historical studies and courses on understanding connections among and comparisons between different places over time.

Importantly, this global approach has opened up some exciting possibilities for thinking about and through space in much more fluid, complicated, and contingent ways. Previously invisible (or at least ignored) dense patterns of interconnection have been studied, illuminating new historically-significant spatial formations and areas of historical activity. In the process, global historians have also highlighted the significance of scale and the need for thinking with and moving among multiple scales in the process of investigating historical questions; the value of inter-disciplinarity and methodological breadth; and the necessity of developing genuinely collaborative models of teaching and research.

This conference will take stock of current efforts to redesign history’s spatial framing and to explore new ways to think about “areas” of history.

Date: May 19-May 21, 2015
Location: New York University Abu Dhabi
Co-organized by the NYUAD & NYU History Departments
Co-Conveners: Martin Klimke (NYUAD), David Ludden (NYUNY), Lauren Minsky, Mark Swislocki (both NYUAD)

For more, please see here.