Norbert Finzsch

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Norbert Finzsch (born March 1, 1951 in Cologne as Norbert Rollewitz) is a German historian .

Scientific career

Norbert Finzsch studied German language and literature primarily with Karl Otto Conrady and history with Erich Angermann at the University of Cologne , where he passed the state examination in 1977 and received his doctorate in 1980 . The dissertation on American history was entitled The California Gold Diggers . Working conditions, standard of living and political system around the middle of the 19th century and was laid out cliometrically . From 1981 to 1988 Finzsch was a research assistant to Erich Angermann at the University of Cologne. In 1983/1984 he received a scholarship from the American Council of Learned Societies at the University of California, Berkeley , and in 1986 he completed his habilitation with a thesis on the social history of the Rhineland in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

In 1990 he became deputy director of the German Historical Institute in Washington , and in 1992 he was appointed to the professorship for modern history at the University of Hamburg as the successor to Günter Moltmann . Since 2001 he has been Professor of Anglo-American History at the University of Cologne. His main focus was the history of the USA and, since 2001, the history of Australia . From 2005 to 2007 he was Vice Rector of the University of Cologne. Between 1996 and 2000, Finzsch was Research Fellow at the University of California in Berkeley, both at the Center for German and European Studies and as a visiting professor at the Center for International Government Studies . From 2000 to 2001 he was visiting professor at the Université Michel Montaigne in Bordeaux , 2003 Visiting Fellow of the Humanities Research Center at the Australian National University in Canberra , Australia. In 2012/2013 he was a visiting professor at the Institute for European Studies at the University of California in Berkeley as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar. From October 2014 to April 2015 Finzsch was a Fellow of the International Humanities College “re: work” at the Humboldt University in Berlin . In 2017 he received the renowned Meyer Struckmann Prize from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf for his work in the field of North America research. At the end of July 2016, Finzsch retired.

Research priorities

Finzsch initially worked as a quantifying social historian in the USA and Germany, and under the influence of the post-structuralist theoretical debate he turned to cultural history. His work on the history of African Americans , prisons and sexuality was deeply influenced by the work of Michel Foucault . Since the late nineties, topics such as the international and comparative genocide history of the USA, Australia and New Zealand have come to the fore, with Finzsch orienting himself on the theories and methods of social ecological systems research . For several years Finzsch has been researching the history of the “Freedmen's Bureau” in the former slave states of the USA and the history of female genital mutilation ( clitoridectomy ) in France, England and Germany. Finzsch's students include Fatima El-Tayeb , Jürgen Martschukat , Heike Bungert , Olaf Stieglitz , Christian F. Ostermann , Claudia Haupt , Heiko Stoff and Matthias Reiß .

Fonts (selection)


  • The gold diggers of California. Working conditions, standard of living and political system around the middle of the 19th century (= critical studies on historical science . Vol. 53). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1982, ISBN 3-525-35711-7 (also: Cologne, Univ., Diss.).
  • Authority and lower classes. On the history of the Rhenish lower classes towards the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century. F. Steiner, Stuttgart 1990, ISBN 3-515-05459-6 (also: Köln, Univ., Habil.-Schr., 1988/89).
  • with Hartmut Lehmann : visions of the future. Political and Social Utopias in Germany and the United States in the 20th Century. With a contribution by Wolf Biermann (The Krefeld German-American Conference of 1999). Published by City of Krefeld, Oberstadtdirektor , Krefeld 2001, ISBN 3-9806517-5-4 .
  • with James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton: From Benin to Baltimore. The history of the African Americans. Hamburger Edition, Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-930908-49-2 .
  • Consolidation and Dissent. North America from 1800 to 1865 (= history of North America in an Atlantic perspective from the beginnings to the present. Vol. 5). Lit, Münster et al. 2005, ISBN 3-8258-4441-2 .


  • with Hermann Wellenreuther : Liberalitas: Festschrift for Erich Angermann on his 65th birthday. F. Steiner, Stuttgart 1992, ISBN 3-515-05656-4 .
  • with Robert Jütte : Institutions of Confinement. Hospitals, Asylums, and Prisons in Western Europe and North America. 1500-1950. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al. 1996, ISBN 0-521-56070-5 .
  • with Jürgen Martschukat : Reconstruction and Reconstruction in Germany and the United States of America. 1865, 1945 and 1989 (= Krefelder Hefte zur German-American history. Vol. 2). Steiner, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-515-06857-0 .
  • with Jürgen Martschukat: Different Restorations. Reconstruction and "Wiederaufbau" in Germany and the United States, 1865, 1945, and 1989. Berghahn, Providence / Oxford 1996, ISBN 1-57181-086-2 .
  • with Dietmar Schirmer: Identity and Intolerance. Nationalism, Racism, and Xenophobia in Germany and the United States. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al. 1998, ISBN 0-521-59158-9 .
  • with Hermann Wellenreuther : Visions of the Future in Germany and America. Berg, Oxford / New York 2001, ISBN 1-85973-521-5 .
  • with Ursula Lehmkuhl : Atlantic Communications. The Media in American and German History from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century. Berg, Oxford et al. 2004, ISBN 1-85973-679-3 .
  • Clio's nature. Comparative aspects of environmental history (= studies on the history, politics and society of North America. Vol. 28). Lit, Berlin et al. 2008, ISBN 978-3-8258-1224-9 .
  • with Stefanie Coché: Religion and Politics in the United States of America. 1760 to 2011 (= studies on the history, politics and society of North America. Vol. 29). Lit, Berlin et al. 2012, ISBN 978-3-643-11430-3 .
  • with Eva Bischoff and Ursula Lehmkuhl: Provincializing the United States: Colonialism, Decolonization, and (Post) Colonial Governance in Transnational Perspective. Winter, Heidelberg 2014, ISBN 978-3-8253-6360-4 .
  • with Krzysztof Ruchniewicz : The deleted. The withdrawal of academic titles by the Silesian Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Breslau in the years 1933–1945. Oficyna Wydawnicza Atut - Wrocławskie Wydawnictwo Oświatowe, Wrocław 2015, ISBN 978-83-7977-088-5 (also published in English, Hebrew and Polish).
  • with Marcus Velke : Queer | Gender | Historiography. Current tendencies and projects (= Gender - Culture - Society. Gender - Culture - Society. Vol. 20). Lit, Münster / Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-643-13219-2 .
  • with Marion Hulverscheidt : Special Issue: On Cliteridectomy (= Gender Forum: An Internet Journal for Gender Studies , Vol. 67). 2018, ISSN  1613-1878 .

Articles (selection)

  • "The intrusion therefore of cattle is sufficient by itself to produce the extirpation of the native race": Social Ecological Systems and Ecocide in Conflicts between Hunter-Gatherers and Commercial Stock Farmers in Australia. In: Settler Colonial Studies . 2017 Apr 3, 7 (2), pp. 164-191; ISSN  2201-473X .
  • The smooth space of the nomads: indigenous outopia, indigenous heterotopia using the example of Australia. In: Claudia Bruns (Ed.): “Race” and space: topologies between colonial, geopolitical and biopolitics: history, art, memory. Trier: Reichert Verlag, 2017, pp. 123–144.
  • The Harlem Renaissance, 1919–1935: American Modernism, Multiple Modernities or Postcolonial Diaspora. In: Thomas Welskopp and Alan Lessoff (eds.): Fractured Modernity. America Confronts Modern Times, 1890s to 1940s. Munich: Oldenbourg, 2013, pp. 193–212.
  • Henry Adams, Nikola Tesla and the "Body Electric". Intersections between Bodies and Electrical Machines. In: Michaela Hampf and MaryAnn Snyder-Körber (eds.): Body. Gender. Technology. Heidelberg: Winter, 2012, pp. 253-278.
  • Crisis and “race”. How hypersegregation creates structural racism. In: Andreas Etges and Winfried Fluck (eds.): American Dream? A world power in crisis. Frankfurt / Main, New York: Campus, 2011, pp. 177–194.
  • The End of Slavery, the Role of the Freedmen's Bureau and the Introduction of Peonage. In: Ulrike Schmieder : The End of Slavery in Africa and the Americas. A Comparative Approach. Berlin: Lit Verlag, 2011, pp. 141–163.
  • Settler Imperialism, Ecocide and Social Ecological Systems. In: Beate Neumeier ; Boris Braun and Victoria Herche (eds.): Nature and Environment in Australia. Trier: Scientific contract Trier, 2018, pp. 9–22.

Membership in advisory boards and editorial boards

  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the series Conflicts and Culture - Historical Perspectives
  • Co-editor of the American Culture series
  • Co-editor of the CAT series : Cultures in America in Transition
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Zetesis : Research Generated by Curiosity at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Historical Institute: North American History. Retrieved August 15, 2019 .
  2. a b Cologne University Magazine No. 7, August 2016, p. 59.
  3. Finzsch's dissertations at the University of Cologne .