Prof Jan Plamper

Staff details

Position Professor of History
Department History
Email j.plamper (
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7036
Prof Jan Plamper

Prof Jan Plamper's current research is mainly concerned with the history of emotions and the senses and the history of migration. If asked for a regional self-definition, Prof Plamper would say he is a Europeanist focusing on Russia. Chronologically, Prof Plamper is most interested in the 19th and 20th centuries. His major publications are Das neue Wir. Warum Migration dazugehört: Eine andere Geschichte der Deutschen [The New We. Why Migration Is No Problem: A Different History of the Germans] (S. Fischer, 2019); The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power (Yale University Press, 2012; translated into Polish and Russian; Winner of the 2013 University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies); The History of Emotions: An Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2015; original: Geschichte und Gefühl: Grundlagen der Emotionsgeschichte, Siedler, 2012; translated into Italian and Russian; Catalan, Chinese, and Japanese translations in progress; Winner of a 2013 Geisteswissenschaften International Prize).

Prof Plamper has co-organised conferences in Moscow, Princeton, and St. Petersburg, and has edited and co-edited a number of journal issues and books. He is now working on a book on the fear of soldiers, esp. Russian soldiers during the First World War, and an article on the sensory history of the Russian Revolution.

Academic qualifications

Prof Plamper went to school in Germany and the US, obtained his degrees in the US (B.A. Brandeis University, 1992; Ph.D. UC Berkeley, 2001), lived in Russia for a total of four years, taught at the University of Tübingen for six years, and held fellowships at Historisches Kolleg Munich (2007-2008), Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin (2014-2015), Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena (2016), and Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg Greifswald (2018-2019).


BA second and third year
Utopian Visions: The Soviet Experience through the Arts
Modern Revolutions in Comparative Perspective

Explorations and Debates in History
The History of Emotions

Areas of supervision

Prof Plamper is keen to supervise doctoral students in any area he can reasonably do so and requests to be contacted in advance.

PhD students supervised

  • Phe Amis, 'How is "Credibility" made? A Genealogy of UK Border Practices, 1914-2009' (funded by AHRC CHASE)
  • Jan Bartknecht, 'Atatürk and his Cult - A Visual History' (funded by German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD, Gerda Henkel Foundation, and Orient-Institut Istanbul)
  • Simon Salem, 'The Last Defence of Empire: Soldiers and Emotions in Late Colonial Wars, 1948-1974'

PhD students supervised, co- or second-supervised and seen to completion

  • Harry Hayball, 'Serbia and the Serbian Rebellion in Croatia (1990-1991)'
  • Eoin O'Cearnaigh, 'More Life, Less Speed: Industrial Unrest at the Ford Motor Company in Britain and the Politics of Working-Class Autonomy in the Long 1970s' (funded by AHRC CHASE)
  • Alexa von Winning, Tübingen University, 'Beyond the Home: The Noble Family, Transnational Ties and Russian Orthodoxy, 1855-1936' (supervised by Klaus Gestwa, funded by Konrad Adenauer Foundation, German Historical Institute Moscow, Tübingen University)

Professional projects

Media appearances

TV interviews for BBC Four documentary ‘A Timewatch Guide: Dictators and Despots’ (dir. David Olusoga, 2017), ‘In the Wake of Stalin’ (dir. Thomas Johnson, 2013) etc. Radio interviews and features in English on Irish Newstalk; in English about the history of emotions in Susan Cahill’s programme Talking books on Irish Newstalk; in German on Bayern2, Deutschlandfunk, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, DRadio Wissen, hr2-kultur, Ö1, RBB, SWR2, WDR3, WDR5; and in Russian on Deutsche Welle, Ekho Moskvy, Svoboda, Voice of America. Journalism in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Frankfurter Rundschau, Independent, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Times Literary Supplement, Die Zeit.

Research Interests

The four main areas in which Prof Plamper has conducted research are (1) Soviet symbolic politics, (2) the history of emotions, (3) the history of the senses, and (4) the history of migration. In (1) Prof Plamper has published articles and a book, The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power (click for an interview on The Stalin Cultfor a radio interview on The Stalin Cultfor a blog discussion on The Stalin Cult), which tried to reconstruct the mechanisms of the cult’s production. It also analysed the actual cult products and their changes over time, focusing on visual representations, esp. oil paintings.

In (2) the area of the history of emotions, Prof Plamper started out by working on the fear of soldiers in Late Imperial Russia. Soon conceptual problems began piling up and he felt compelled to think some of them through—the result is The History of Emotions: An Introduction (click for a shorter radio interview on The History of Emotionsfor a longer interview on The History of Emotions), a book that attempts to synthesise existing emotions research and to make its own contribution to this relatively new field of historical inquiry. The book’s architecture is shaped by the binary that—in various guises—has dominated emotions research since the 19th century: social constructionism vs. universalism. Prof Plamper takes cultural anthropological work to be emblematic for social constructionist approaches, life science work for universalist approaches, and devotes a chapter to each. Now that this book is finished, he has returned to his project on soldierly fear.

As for (3) the history of the senses, Prof Plamper is writing an article on the Russian Revolution. Based on first-person sources (memoirs etc.), this article takes a new look at such issues as the sounds of February and the smells engendered by Red October. It ends up asking about the explanatory power of a sensory perspective for this 20th-century watershed event and in so doing grapples with the—elusive?—promise of sensory history to offer direct, prediscursive glimpses of the past.

In (4) the area of the history of migration, Prof Plamper published a history of migration to postwar Germany West and East: Das neue Wir. Warum Migration dazugehört: Eine andere Geschichte der Deutschen [The New We. Why Migration Is No Problem: A Different History of the Germans] (S. Fischer, 2019). This book is a narrative history told through life stories of individual immigrants (stored, among other places, at this oral history archive It is aimed at a wide readership and has a strong presentist, political-ethical bent.

Generally speaking, Prof Plamper's research interests range widely and he has also written on Stalinist censorship’s aim to purge multiple meanings (polyseme); on Michel Foucault’s stumbling over the Gulag when trying to write Soviet penitentiary practices into his philosophy of modern power; and on acknowledgments in scholarly books.



Plamper, Jan . 2019. Das neue Wir. Warum Migration dazugehört: Eine andere Geschichte der Deutschen. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer. ISBN 9783103972832

Plamper, Jan . 2018. Storia delle emozioni, trans. Simona Leonardi. Bologna: Il Mulino. ISBN 9788815274984

Plamper, Jan . 2018. Istoriia emotsii, trans. Kirill Levinson. Moscow: NLO. ISBN 9785444807552

Plamper, Jan . 2015. The History of Emotions: An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-966833-5

Frevert, Ute; Eitler, Pascal; Olsen, Stephanie; Jensen, Uffa; Pernau, Margrit; Brückenhaus, Daniel; Beljan, Magdalena; Gammerl, Benno; Laukötter, Anja; Hitzer, Bettina; Plamper, Jan ; Brauer, Juliane and Häberlen, Joachim. 2014. Learning How to Feel: Children's Literature and the History of Emotional Socialization, 1870-1970. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-968499-1

Plamper, Jan . 2014. Kult Stalina. Studium alchemii władzy. Warsaw: Świat Książki. ISBN 9788379432752

Plamper, Jan . 2014. Kult Stalina: Studium alchemii władzy. Warsaw: Świat Książki. ISBN 9788379432752

Plamper, Jan . 2014. Malen’kii chelovek i bol’shaia voina v istorii Rossii, seredina XIX – seredina XX v. St. Petersburg: Nestor-Istoriia. ISBN 9785446904808

Plamper, Jan . 2012. Geschichte und Gefühl: Grundlagen der Emotionsgeschichte. Munich, Germany: Siedler Verlag. ISBN 9783886809141

Plamper, Jan . 2012. The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300169522

Plamper, Jan . 2010. Alkhimiia vlasti: Kul’t Stalina v izobrazitel’nom iskusstve. Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie. ISBN 978-5-86793-755-3

Edited Book

Plamper, Jan and Lazier, Benjamin, eds. 2012. Fear: Across the Disciplines. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 978-0-8229-6220-5

Plamper, Jan ; Schahadat, Schamma and Elie, Marc, eds. 2010. Rossiiskaia imperiia chuvstv: Podkhody k kul’turnoi istorii emotsii. Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie. ISBN 978-5-86793-785-0

Heller, Klaus and Plamper, Jan , eds. 2004. Personality Cults in Stalinism – Personenkulte im Stalinismus. Göttingen: V&R unipress. ISBN 978-3-89971-191-2

Edited Journal

Plamper, Jan , ed. 2009. Emotional Turn? Feelings in Russian History and Culture, Slavic Review, 68(2). 0037-6779

Plamper, Jan , ed. 2004. Grenzgang in der Geschichte. Wissenschaftskulturen im internationalen Vergleich. Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 52(10), Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft, 52(10). 0044-2828

Book Section

Plamper, Jan . 2017. State Communism at 100: Remembering and Forgetting the Russian Revolution. In: Juliane Fürst; Silvio Pons and Mark Selden, eds. The Cambridge History of Communism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 581-599. ISBN 9781108515313

Plamper, Jan . 2017. Les discours de l’anthropologie. In: Alain Corbin; Jean-Jacques Courtine and Georges Vigarello, eds. Histoire des émotions, vol. 3. Paris: Le Seuil, pp. 13-36.

Plamper, Jan . 2017. Erinnerung und Verdrängung der Revolution in Russland – zwischen Märtyrologie, Konspirologie und starkem Staat. In: Jan Claas Behrends; Nikolaus Katzer and Thomas Lindenberger, eds. 100 Jahre Roter Oktober: Zur Weltgeschichte der Russischen Revolution. Berlin: Ch. Links, pp. 279-294.

Plamper, Jan . 2014. Ivan's Bravery. In: Ute Frevert; Pascal Eitler; Stephanie Olsen; Uffa Jensen; Margrit Pernau; Magdalena Beljan; Benno Gammerl; Anja Laukötter; Bettina Hitzer; Jan Plamper; Juliane Brauer and Joachim Häberlen, eds. Learning How to Feel: Children's Literature and the History of Emotional Socialization, 1870-1970. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 191-208. ISBN 9780199684991

Plamper, Jan . 2013. Interbabuschka: Eine Hommage. In: Katharina Kucher; Gregor Thum and Sören Urbansky, eds. Stille Revolutionen: Die Neuformierung der Welt seit 1989. Frankfurt/Main: Campus, pp. 83-85. ISBN 9783593398518

Plamper, Jan . 2013. L’histoire des émotions. In: Christophe Granger, ed. À quoi pensent les historiens? Faire de l’histoire au XXIe siècle. Paris: Autrement, pp. 225-240. ISBN 978-2-7467-3298-8

Plamper, Jan . 2010. Migration und Emotion. In: Dmitrij Belkin and Raphael Gross, eds. Ausgerechnet Deutschland! Jüdisch-russische Einwanderung in die Bundesrepublik. Berlin: Nicolai, pp. 124-126. ISBN 978-3-89479-583-2

Plamper, Jan . 2009. Beyond Binaries: Popular Opinion in Stalinism. In: Paul Corner, ed. Popular Opinion in Totalitarian Regimes : Fascism, Nazism, Communism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 64-80. ISBN 9780199566525

Plamper, Jan . 2008. Prostranstvennaia poetika kul’ta lichnosti: "krugi" vokrug Stalina. In: Igor' Narskii; Oksana Nagornaia; Ol'ga Nikonova and Boris Rovnyi, eds. Oche-vidnaia istoriia: Problemy vizual’noi istorii Rossii XX stoletiia. Cheliabinsk: Kamennyi poias, pp. 339-364. ISBN 978-5-88771-067-9

Plamper, Jan . 2004. Georgian Koba or Soviet ‘Father of Peoples’? The Stalin Cult and Ethnicity. In: Balázs Apor; Jan C. Behrends; Polly Jones and E. A. Rees, eds. The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorships: Stalin and The Eastern Bloc. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 123-140. ISBN 1-403-93443-6

Plamper, Jan . 2003. The Spatial Poetics of the Personality Cult: Circles Around Stalin. In: Evgeny Dobrenko and Eric Naiman, eds. The Landscape of Stalinism: The Art and Ideology of Soviet Space. Seattle: University of Washington Press, pp. 19-50. ISBN 0-295-98333-7

Plamper, Jan . 2001. Writers, Artists, and the Gulag. In: Derek Jones, ed. Censorship: A World Encyclopedia. 3 London/Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, p. 2110. ISBN 978-1579581350


Plamper, Jan . 2020. Sounds of February, Smells of October: The Russian Revolution as Sensory Experience. The American Historical Review, pp. 1-26. ISSN 0002-8762

Plamper, Jan . 2020. 'Asiatische Horde auf märkischem Sand'. ZEIT Geschichte, 2020(1), pp. 40-41.

Plamper, Jan . 2017. Die Russische Revolution. Vier Forschungstrends und ein sinneshistorischer Zugang – mit ausgewählten Quellen für den Geschichtsunterricht. Geschichte für Heute, 4, pp. 5-17.

Plamper, Jan . 2013. Vergangene Gefühle. Emotionen als historische Quellen. Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte(32-33), pp. 12-19. ISSN 0479-611X

Plamper, Jan . 2013. Die Tränen des Premiers: Welche Rolle Gefühle in den internationalen Beziehungen spielen. Zeitschrift für Kulturaustausch(III), pp. 46-47. ISSN 0044-2976

Eustace, Nicole; Lean, Eugenia; Livingston, Julie; Plamper, Jan ; Reddy, William M. and Rosenwein, Barbara H.. 2012. AHR Conversation: The Historical Study of Emotions. American Historical Review, 117(5), pp. 1487-1531. ISSN 0002-8762

Plamper, Jan . 2011. Gruzin Koba ili "Otets narodov"? Kul't Stalina skvoz' prizmu etnichnosti. Neprikosnovennyi zapas, 10(4), 263 -280. ISSN 0869-6365

Plamper, Jan . 2010. The History of Emotions: An Interview with William Reddy, Barbara Rosenwein, and Peter Stearns. History and Theory, 49(2), pp. 237-265. ISSN 0018-2656

Plamper, Jan and Lazier, Benjamin. 2010. Introduction: The Phobic Regimes of Modernity. Representations(110), pp. 58-65. ISSN 0734-6018

Plamper, Jan . 2009. Emotional Turn? Feelings in Russian History and Culture. Introduction. Slavic Review, 68(2), pp. 229-237. ISSN 0037-6779

Michl, Susanne and Plamper, Jan . 2009. Soldatische Angst im Ersten Weltkrieg: Die Karriere eines Gefühls in der Kriegspsychiatrie Deutschlands, Frankreichs und Russlands. Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 35(2), pp. 209-248. ISSN 0340-613X

Plamper, Jan . 2009. Fear: Soldiers and Emotion in Early Twentieth-Century Russian Military Psychology. Slavic Review, 68(2), pp. 259-283. ISSN 0037-6779

Gimadeev, Ilshat and Plamper, Jan . 2007. Tatarstan: Mythos um Musa Džalil’. Projektionsfläche für Identität. Osteuropa, 57(12), pp. 97-115. ISSN 0030-6428

Plamper, Jan . 2004. Einleitung. Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft, 52(10), pp. 877-880. ISSN 0044-2828

Plamper, Jan . 2004. Zwischen dem Land der unbegrenzten Möglichkeiten und dem Land der unbegrenzten Unmöglichkeiten: Wissenschaftskulturen der Geschichte im internationalen Vergleich. Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft, 52(10), pp. 894-902. ISSN 0044-2828

Plamper, Jan . 2003. Archival Revolution or Illusion? Historicizing the Russian Archives and Our Work in Them. Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, 60(1), pp. 57-69. ISSN 0021-4019

Plamper, Jan . 2002. Foucault’s Gulag. Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, 3(2), pp. 555-580. ISSN 1531-023X

Plamper, Jan . 2001. Abolishing Ambiguity: Soviet Censorship Practices in the 1930s. The Russian Review, 60(4), pp. 526-544. ISSN 0036-0341

Plamper, Jan . 2000. The Russian Orthodox Episcopate, 1721-1917: A Prosopography. Journal of Social History, 34(1), pp. 5-34. ISSN 1527-1897

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