Neuere Geschichte

Prof. Dr. Jan C. Jansen


Seminar für Neuere Geschichte
Wilhelmstraße 36
72074 Tübingen
Tel. +49 (0)7071 29 78504
+49 (0)7071 29 72381 (admin. office)


Sprechstunden im Sommersemester 2024:

Individuell nach Absprache per Mail.

Dienstzimmer: Hegelbau, 2. Stock, Raum 230A

Jan C. Jansen is Professor of Modern History (19th–20th Centuries) at the University of Tübingen. Prior to joining the University of Tübingen, he was Assistant/Associate Professor of Global History of Mobility (18th–20th Centuries) at the University of Duisburg-Essen and a research fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. In the past years, Jan also held research and lecturer positions at the George Washington University, Georgetown University, the University of Konstanz, the Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain (IRMC) in Tunis, and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.

Jan’s main research interests concern the comparative history of the European colonial empires and decolonization with a particular focus on North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic World. He is the author of Erobern und Erinnern: Symbolpolitik, öffentlicher Raum und französischer Kolonialismus in Algerien 1830–1950 (2013) and co-author, with Jürgen Osterhammel, of Kolonialismus: Geschichte, Formen, Folgen (2012) and of Decolonization: A short history (co-authored with Jürgen Osterhammel, Princeton University Press, 2017). His current research concerns the history of refugee movements during the age of revolutions (1780s–1820s) and their broader impact on the transformation of the Atlantic world. His two book projects are about the transformations of concepts and legal notions of alienness and subjecthood during the revolutionary era and about the emergence of exile as a trans-imperial political space.

Jan is Principal Investigator of the project "Atlantic Exiles," funded by a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (ERC). Based on a number of case studies in the Caribbean and on the American continent, the project explores the history of revolutionary-era refugee movements. Jan is founding member and convener of the Annual International Seminar in Historical Refugee Studies "Historicizing the Refugee Experience (17th-21st Centuries)," organized with a number of partners across Europe and the United States. He is also Principal Investigator in the Research Unit "Ambiguity and Distinction," funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), where he leads a project on alien laws in the revolutionary-era Caribbean; and associated researcher of the interdisciplinary Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21).

For a full CV, see this PDF


Main Areas of Interest

•    European, North African, and Atlantic History
•    Colonialism and Decolonization (18th – 20th centuries)
•    Migration and Refugee History
•    Legal History
•    Memory Studies
•    History of Sociability in Global Perspective

Research Projects

Atlantic Exiles: Refugees and Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1780s–1820s

Funded by a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (ERC), 2020-2025

“Atlantic Exiles” explores comparatively the large-scale refugee movements set off by the revolutions in North and South America, France, and Haiti. The revolutionary era has been often considered a pivotal moment in the rise of Western political modernity and the emergence of new notions of sovereignty, citizenship, and political participation. As the project will show, it was also intertwined with the emergence of political refugees as a mass phenomenon. The great political upheavals and the violent conflicts that accompanied them put well over a quarter million people on the move. Based on case studies from the Caribbean and the American continent, the project sets out to show that political migrants and refugee movements were at the very core of at least four major transformations that the Atlantic world underwent during these decades. It examines, first, the role they played in the reshaping of citizenship and subjecthood regimes; second, their impact on changing practices of welfare and early forms of humanitarianism; third, the ways they navigated the porous and shifting boundaries between freedom and slavery; and fourth, how they contributed to making exile a transnational field of politics. While there is growing consensus that revolutionary ideas and actors in the Atlantic basin can no longer be studied in isolation, those who opposed and fled these revolutions have received strikingly little attention thus far. The project recasts the Caribbean as one of the world’s major receiving and transit region for refugees during this period, and it provides the first systematic combination of Atlantic history with the nascent research field of refugee history. In addition, it sets the findings from the Atlantic world into the context of the global history context of involuntary migrations. The project includes four sub-projects carried out by the PI and three research associates.

For more information about the project, the team and its output, visit the project website.

Ambiguity and Disambiguation of Belonging – The Regulation of Alienness in the Caribbean during the Revolutionary Era (1780s–1820s)

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), 2022-2025

The project explores the role the regulation of migration played in the reconfiguration of political belonging and membership to states during the age of revolutions around 1800. As a result of revolutionary upheavals and violent conflicts, political refugees became a mass phenomenon during the revolutionary era. In response to these migrations, national and colonial governments created legal regulations, often for the first time, to control the mobility of foreign refugees and, more broadly, regulate the status of strangers. First, based on a systematic survey and context-based case studies of these efforts at migration control, the project reconstructs comparatively the reregulation of alienness and questions its significance in reconceptions of political belonging. In this way, it examines the extent to which the border between citizens/subjects and foreigners was redrawn by redefining the position of those who did not belong. Second, the project focuses on the Caribbean, one of the most important laboratories of migration control at the time. Through this geographic focus, it brings into view complex processes of determining belonging based on distinctions of confessional affiliation, race, and gender - and their interplay - and interrogates their repercussions on European colonial metropoles. At the same time, it uses the examples of the Dutch and British Caribbean to examine the extent to which imperial and geostrategic practices of tolerance for ambiguity persisted.

The project is part of the interdisciplinary Research Unit “Ambiguity and Distinction: Historical and Cultural Dynamics,” funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and hosted by the University of Duisburg-Essen. The Research Unit sets out to study in comparative fashion how individuals, societies and states have coped with ambiguity in a variety of settings ranging from the late Middle Ages through the twentieth century. For more information, visit the project website.


Select publications

For a full list of publications, see pdf.

For more on my publications, visit my Academia website

Teaching and Supervision

Sommersemester 2024


Forschungskolloquium Neuere Geschichte mit Prof. Dr. phil. Ewald Frie
Mo., 18-20 Uhr c.t., Hegelbau, 2. OG, Seminarraum 228
Beginn: mit dem Eröffnungsvortrag des Fachbereichs am 22.04.2024


Lehrveranstaltungen im Wintersemester 2023/24
  • Oberseminar: Forschungskolloquium Neuere Geschichte mit Prof. Dr. phil. Ewald Frie
  • Hauptseminar: Konterrevolution – Restauration – Reaktion: Gegenrevolutionäre politische Ideen und Bewegungen vom späten 18. bis ins frühe 20. Jahrhundert
  • Exkursion: Orte der Konterrevolution in Paris (Exkursion nach Paris)
Lehrveranstaltungen im Sommersemester 2023
  • Oberseminar: Forschungskolloquium Neuere Geschichte mit Prof. Dr. phil. Ewald Frie
  • Hauptseminar: Die Haitianische Revolution (1791-1804)
  • Übung zum wissenschaftlichen Lesen: Die Abschaffung des Sklavenhandels und der Sklaverei im frühen 19. Jahrhundert