Dr Marcus Böick

Assistant Professor in Modern German History
Fellow & Director of Studies in History of King's College

Marcus Böick is a historian specializing in Modern Germany and Europe, with a keen interest in topics at the intersection of political, economic, cultural, and social history. His research focuses on the histories of the GDR and Post-Socialism in Central Europe, with a particular emphasis on Privatization, Neoliberalism and (Post-)Nationalism; he also works on the history of security, policing and statehood since the late 19th Century. Additionally, he is interested in the theory and research of historical organizations. His teaching encompasses modern Germany and Europe throughout the late 19th, the entire 20th and early 21st century.

Born in East Germany, he pursued his academic studies at Ruhr-University Bochum in History, Political Science, Sociology, and Social Psychology. After completing his PhD in 2016, supported by a scholarship from the Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship, Berlin, he held the position of Akademischer Rat at the Chair for Contemporary History in Bochum since 2017. In 2021/22, he served as a Joint Junior Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London, and the German Historical Institute London. In 2022, he assumed the role of Guest Professor at Imre-Kertesz-Kolleg at Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena. Prior to his appointment in Cambridge, he was awarded the John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellowship at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University for the academic year 2022/23.

In his first book Die Treuhand: Idee - Praxis - Erfahrung,  which has seen four editions since 2018, he described how Western managers attempted to transform post-socialist East Germany from a planned into a market economy with the help of often highly controversial mass privatization during the early 1990s. In 2019, he co-edited the German-English source edition Kriegsverbrechen, Restitution, Prävention: Aus dem Vorlass von Benjamin B. Ferencz (with C. Goschler & J. Reus), bringing together 300 documents of lawyer, activist and writer Ben Ferencz, former US Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials against the heads of the SS Einsatzgruppen. In 2017, he co-authored the study Wahrnehmung und Bewertung der Arbeit der Treuhandanstalt, which was commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. This empirical field study aimed to measure trends in current German memory culture along the East-West-divide by utilizing oral history interviews and mass surveys. In 2019, he co-edited a research overview Weder Ost noch West, focussing on the challenging histories of post-socialist transformations in East Germany and Europe (with K. Brückweh).

Recently, together with C. Lorke, he published the introductory book Zwischen Aufschwung und Anpassung: Eine kleine Geschichte des 'Aufbau Ost' on the history of Germany after Reunifcation in 2022. Since 2020, he serves as one of the editors of the new Jahrbuch Deutsche Einheit (with R. Jessen & C. Goschler). In 2020, he co-edited a volume on the theory and history of (embattled) organisations titled Im Kreuzfeuer der Kritik: Umstrittene Organisationen im 20. Jahrhundert (with M. Schmeer), and he contributed to a Special Issue in Zeithistorische Forschungen/ Studies in Contemporary History on Vermarktlichung/ Marketization (2015, with R. Ahrens & M. vom Lehn). In 2011, he co-edited a reader on recent studies on GDR history - Aus einem Land vor unserer Zeit: Eine Lesereise durch die DDR-Geschichte (with F. Kuschel & A. Hertel).

His upcoming book, Business with Fear, Fearing the Business, delves into the often overlooked history of private security companies in Germany throughout the 20th century. Furthermore, he his currently working on papers and Special Issues on Insecurity and Inequality, transnational Post-Socialism, De-Industrialization as well as on the history of different "murky businessess".


Tags & Themes


King’s College,
King's Parade
Cambridge CB2 1ST


Recent Publications

  • Böick, M. (2023). ‘From “Black Sheriffs” to “Security Partners”? The Emergence of Private Policing in Public Spaces in Germany since the 1970s.’ In: Geyer, Martin H. (Ed.): Places of Risk, Sites of Modernity: Cultures of Security and Risk since the 1970s, Oxford, Oxford UP, 89-107.
  • Böick, M. (2021). Weak States, Strong Businesses? The History of Private Security Firms in Twentieth Century Germany. In: Jakob, Mark; Kleinöder, Nina; Kleinschmidt, Christian (Eds.): Security and Insecurity in Business History. Case Studies in the Perception and Negotiation of Threats, Baden-Baden, Nomos, 27-49.
  • Böick, M. (2021). In from the Socialist “Cold”, but burned by the Capitalist “Heat”? The Dynamics of Political Revolution and Economic Transformation in Eastern Germany after 1990, In: Sustainability: Science, Practice, Policy. Special Issue: Reform or Revolution? What is at Stake in Democratic Sustainability Transformations, 143-154.