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Thomas Dahms

Thomas Dahms

PhD Candidate in History

Co-Convener German History Research Group

Darwin College
Silver Street

Cambridge CB3 9EU

Research Interests

I work on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Prussia, especially its eastern territories in present-day Poland. Based on archival research in Germany, Poland, Israel and the US, my PhD thesis examines how Prussian policies towards the Jews related to broader political, economic, and cultural objectives. The thesis argues that progressive aspects of these policies have been overstated by previous historiography.

My doctoral studies are funded by a scholarship from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Furthermore, I received scholarships and grants from the University of Cambridge, the German History Society, the Kurt Hahn Trust, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the University of California.

My broader interests include the history of early modern Germany and Poland, the history of the Enlightenment, particularly in its German variant, and Jewish history. 

Before I came to Cambridge, I studied German history and philosophy at universities in Frankfurt, Berlin, Lisbon, Berkeley and San Diego. I hold a BA in Cultural Studies and an MA in European Studies from the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany.

Since 2018, I co-convene the German History Research Group at Cambridge, and in 2019 I co-organised the conference The End of National Histories? Anglo-German Relations in Historiography at Magdalene College, Cambridge.


Research Supervision

My primary supervisor is Professor Joachim Whaley. 

Key Publications

'Diligent Bureaucrats and the Expulsion of Jews from West Prussia, 1772-1786', German History (forthcoming) 

Other Publications

Book Reviews:

Review of Jay Howard Geller: The Sholems, A Study of German-Jewish Bourgeoisie from Emancipation to Destruction, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies (forthcoming)

Review of Wolf Christian Seifert (ed.): Christian Wilhelm Dohm. Über die bürgerliche Verbesserung der Juden, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies (forthcoming)

Review of Anne Purschwitz: Jude oder preußischer Bürger? Die Emanzipationsdebatte im Spannungsfeld von Regierungspolitik, Religion, Bürgerlichkeit und Öffentlichkeit (1780-1847), German History, Volume 37, Issue 2 (2019), pp. 248-9

Review of Günter Berger / Bärbel Raschke: Luise Dorothea von Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg, Jahrbuch für die Geschichte Ost- und Mitteldeutschlands, Volume 64 (2019), pp. 254-6

Review of Robert Bernsee: Moralische Erneuerung. Korruption und Bürokratische Reformen in Bayern und Preußen, German History, Volume 36, Issue 3 (2018), pp. 449-551


Organised Conferences and Workshops:

"The End of National Histories? Anglo-German Relations in Historiography", Magdalene College, 22 March 2019, co-organizer

German History Research Group, co-convenor since 2018