Department of History

Gregor Thum

  • Associate Professor

Watch Dr. Thum discuss how international experience transforms us.

Research Fields

  • Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Central European history
  • “Nationalizing empires” and “imperializing nations”
  • Forced migration, ‘ethnic cleansing,’ genocide, and their cultural legacy in Central Europe
  • German empire-building and the eastern borderlands
  • German-Polish relations
  • Politics of the past
  • ​The symbolic meaning of architecture and urban planning


  • HIST 200: Between Kafka and Hitler: How Central Europe Shaped the Modern World
  • HIST 1001: History Introductory Seminar: Ukraine and Russia. A Political Conflict in Historical Perspective
  • HIST 1047: Communism: From Marxist Thought to “Really Existing Socialism”
  • HIST 1048: The Holocaust in Context: Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in 20th-century Europe
  • HIST 1049: After Hitler: Retribution, Reconstruction, and Reconciliation in Postwar Europe
  • HIST 1102: Uniting Europe: The History of European Integration
  • HIST 1131: The Rise of the German Empire, 1789-1918
  • HIST 1220: Between Empires: Polish History Through Film

Education & Training

  • PhD, European University Viadrina, 2002
  • MA, Freie Universität Berlin, 1995

Representative Publications

Uprooted. How Breslau became Wrocław during the Century of Expulsions (Princeton University Press, 2011)

Helpless Imperialists. Imperial Failure, Fear, and Radicalization. Co-edited with M. Reinkowski (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013)

“Seapower and Frontier Settlement: Friedrich List’s American Vision for Germany.” In German and United States Colonialism in a Connected World: Entangled Empires, edited by Janne Lahti, 17-39. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.

Volksdeutsch Revisionism: East Central Europe’s Ethnic Germans and the Order of Paris.” In Conservatives and Right Radicals in Interwar Europe, edited by Marco Bresciani, 44-67 (Routledge, 2021)

“Integrating without a Host Society: The Repopulation of Poland’s Western Territories after 1945.” In Refugee Crises 1945-2000: Political and Societal Responses in International Comparison, edited by Jan C. Jansen and Simone Lässig, 55-82 (Cambridge University Press, 2020).

"Die kulturelle Leere des Ostens. Legitimierung preußisch-deutscher Herrschaft im 19. Jahrhundert." In Umkämpfte Räume: Raumbilder, Ordnungswille, und Gewaltmobilisierung, edited by Ulrike Jureit, 263- 285 (Wallstein, 2016) 

"Megalomania and Angst. The 19th-century Mythicization of Germany's Eastern Borderlands." In Shatterzone of Empires: Coexistence and Violence in the German, Habsburg, Russian, and Ottoman Borderlands, edited by O. Bartov and E. D. Weitz (Indiana University Press, 2013).

Current research projects

Mastering the East: The German Frontier from 1800 to the Present. A book-length manuscript in progress on the history of the German border in the east.