• Courses

    • The Global Sixties
    • Capstone Humanities Seminar
    • The Cold War of the 1980s
    • The Global Cold War

  • Projects

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

  • Books

    "Germany & the Black Diaspora: Points of Contact, 1250-1914," ed. with Mischa Honeck & Anne Kuhlmann (Berghahn Books: New York/Oxford, 2013)

  • Events

    • 03/29: Workshop, “The Great War and the Great Prohibitions," NYUAD
    • 05/19-21: Conference, “Rethinking Historical Space,” NYUAD


My name is Martin Klimke and I am an associate professor of history at New York University Abu Dhabi and 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.

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.

Workshop: The Great War & the Great Prohibitions


Temperance and Alcohol Regimes in Russia, Canada, the USA and the Islamic World

The Great War that changed the world also changed regimes of alcohol consumption and production in many places at once.This workshop brings together international scholars from various disciplinary backgrounds to present a transnationally informed appraisal of these national moments.

It focuses on shared patterns, such as anxieties of class, gender, and public order that informed all temperance movements, religious movements, emerging welfare regimes, and matters of state revenue.

Date: Saturday, March 28, 2015
Location: New York University Abu Dhabi
Organized with the NYUAD History & Arab Crossroad Programs, the NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia and the NYU History Department
Co-conveners: Martin Klimke (NYUAD), Yanni Kotsonis (NYUNY)

For more, please see here.

Out Now: Historians across Borders


Historians across Borders
Writing American History in a Global Age

Edited by Nicolas Barreyre, et al. (UCal Press, March 2014).

In this stimulating and highly original study of the writing of American history, twenty-four scholars from eleven European countries explore the impact of writing history from abroad. Six distinguished scholars from around the world add their commentaries.

Arguing that historical writing is conditioned, crucially, by the place from which it is written, this volume identifies the formative impact of a wide variety of institutional and cultural factors that are commonly overlooked. Examining how American history is written from Europe, the contributors shed light on how history is written in the United States and, indeed, on the way history is written anywhere.

The book is the result of the “You, the People” research network.
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