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Prof. Dr. Isabella Löhr




International History of the Twentieth Century

Koserstr. 20
Room A 216
14195 Berlin

Office hours

Office hours by appointment

Isabella Löhr is the Chair of International History of the Twentieth Century at the Friedrich Meinecke Institute and head of the “Globalisations in a Divided World” department at the Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History in Potsdam (ZZF). Before joining the faculty at the FU in June 2023, she accrued extensive experience in teaching, research, science management, and interdisciplinary collaboration at various national and international institutions, including as a professeur invité at the Ecole normale supérieure in Paris and as a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York.

She earned her doctorate at the University of Leipzig in 2008 with a dissertation on the global history of intellectual property rights from the 1880s to the 1950s. She subsequently worked as an assistant professor of modern and contemporary history at the University of Heidelberg and at the University of Basel, where she served on the faculty of the Institute for European Global Studies. Later, as a senior researcher at the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe, she worked on a project addressing the history of modern international law in Eastern Europe. At the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS) at the University of Osnabrück, she headed “The Production of Knowledge on Migration” junior research group. There she also wrote her second book, namely on student mobility from the 1850s to 1930s, which marked the completion of her postdoctoral studies at the Philipps University of Marburg. Most recently, from 2021 to 2023, she was the deputy director of the French-German Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin, an interdisciplinary research centre for the humanities and social sciences.

We live in a complex world characterised by fundamental tensions between nationalisation and internationalisation, as well as by manifold activities that produce a dense network of global interactions and (sometimes violent) divides. In my teaching and research, I seek to understand the mechanisms and dynamics behind these phenomena, which are often clear and present in everyday life, and am interested in finding ways to represent and explain them. To this end, I combine social and cultural history with a praxeological and actor-centred perspective: I investigate the making, rearranging, and breaking of global constellations by concrete actors and ask how border-crossing groups emerge, how internationally relevant thematic fields materialise, and which people or groups are excluded from these processes due to ethnic, social, political, and/or religious categorisations. My research focuses on the period spanning from the late 19th to the early 21st century. In spatial terms, I focus on Germany and Europe – that is, both Western and Eastern Europe – which I examine in their international and global contexts. The major topics of my research are migration and mobility, international law and humanitarian aid, and the history of international movements. My studies are embedded in an epistemic reflection on my own work and always include methodological and conceptual reflections on the challenges and pitfalls of a European perspective on international and global history.


Research interests:

- German and European history from the late 19th to the early 21st century in international and global contexts

- Migration and mobility

- The history of modern international law and humanitarianism

- The history of globalisation, with special focus on international movements and ecumenism

- Interdisciplinary knowledge research


Globale Bildungsmobilität, 1850–1930. Von der Bekehrung der Welt zur globalen studentischen Gemeinschaft (= Moderne europäische Geschichte, vol. 21). Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag 2021.

Die Globalisierung geistiger Eigentumsrechte. Neue Strukturen internationaler Zusammenarbeit 1886–1952 (= Kritische Studien zur Geschichtswissenschaft, Bd. 195). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2010.


Edited Volumes

Umkämpfte Begriffe der Migration. Ein Inventar. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag 2023. Open Access (ed. with Inken Bartels, Christiane Reinecke, Philipp Schäfer and Laura Stielike). Open Access

Inventar der Migrationsbegriffe. 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25887/IDMB (ed. with Inken Bartels, Christiane Reinecke, Philipp Schäfer and Laura Stielike).

Bessere Welten: Kosmopolitismus in den Geschichtswissenschaften. Frankfurt am Main: Campus 2017 (ed. with Bernhard Gißibl).

Global Commons im 20. Jahrhundert: Entwürfe für eine globale Welt (= Jahrbuch des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte Mainz, vol. 15). München: oldenbourg 2014 (with Andrea Rehling). Open Access

Lives Beyond Borders: A Social History, 1880–1950. Special Issue, Comparativ 23 (2013), (ed. with Madeleine Herren). Open Access

The Nation State and Beyond: Governing Globalization Processes in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries. Heidelberg: Springer 2013 (ed. with Roland Wenzlhuemer).

Kultur und Beruf in Europa (= Europäische Geschichte in Quellen und Essays, vol. 2). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner 2012 (ed. with Matthias Middell und Hannes Siegrist).

Intellectual Property Rights and Globalization. Special Issue, Comparativ 21 (2011), (ed, with Hannes Siegrist). Open Access


Journal Articles and Book Chapters (Selection)

Coping with a Post-war World: Protestant Student Internationalism, Humanitarianism and Educational Mobility in the 1920s. In: Social History 48 (2023), 43-64. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03071022.2023.2146899

The Moral Economies of ‚Research in Exile’: Rethinking a Field from the Perspective of Reflexive Migration Research. In: Vera Axyonova/Florian Kohstall/Carola Richter (eds.): Research in Exile: Networks, Knowledge Exchange and New Venues for Internationalization in Academia. Bielefeld: transcript 2022, 81-100. Open Access

„The International Law of the Future”: The Carnegie Endowment and the Sovereign Limits of International Jurisdiction, 1910s–1960s. In: Dietmar Müller/Stefan Troebst (eds.): Philanthropy, Conflict Management, and International Law: 1914 The Carnegie Report on the Balkan Wars of 1912/1913. Budapest: Central European University Press 2022, 61-91.

Deutschland im Völkerbund. In: Christoph Cornelißen/Dirk van Laak (eds.): Weimar und die Welt. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2020, 275-311.

Being International in Times of War: Arthur Sweetser and the Shifting of the League of Nations to the United Nations. In: European Review of History: Revue Européene d’Histoire 25 (2018), 535-552. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13507486.2018.1439890

Die Geschichtswissenschaften vor der kosmopolitischen Herausforderung. In: Bernhard Gißibl/Isabella Löhr (eds.): Bessere Welten: Kosmopolitismus in den Geschichtswissenschaften. Frankfurt am Main: Campus 2017, 9-47 (with Bernhard Gißibl).

Seltsam, weiblich, aus bescheidenem Haus: Gabriela Mistral und die Herausforderungen eines kosmopolitischen Lebens. In: Bernhard Gißibl/Isabella Löhr (eds.): Kosmopolitismus in den Geschichtswissenschaften. Frankfurt am Main: Campus 2017, 247-274 (with Corinne Pernet).

Geschichte staatlicher-rechtlicher und politscher Einflussnahmen auf das Lesen. In: Ursula Rautenberg/Ursula Schneider (eds.): Lesen – Ein Handbuch. Berlin: De Gruyter 2016, 493-508.

Gipfeltreffen im Schatten der Weltpolitik: Arthur Sweetser und die Pressepolitik des Völkerbunds. In: Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 62 (2014), 411-424 (with Madeleine Herren).

Solidarity and the Academic Community: The Support Networks for Refugee Scholars in the 1930s. In: Journal of Modern European History 12 (2014), 231-246. DOI https://doi.org/10.17104/1611-8944_2014_2_231

„Governing the Commons“: Die global commons und das Erbe der Menschheit im 20. Jahrhundert. In: Isabella Löhr/Andrea Rehling (eds.): Global Commons im 20. Jahrhundert: Entwürfe für eine globale Welt. München: Oldenbourg 2014, 3-30 (mit Andrea Rehling). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110278149.3

Wem gehört die Kultur? Die UNESCO zwischen geistigem Eigentum, Folklore und kulturellem Erbe in den 1960er und 1970er Jahren. In: Isabella Löhr/Andrea Rehling (Hg.): Global Commons im 20. Jahrhundert: Entwürfe für eine globale Welt. München: Oldenbourg 2014, 135-162. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110278149.139

Lives Beyond Borders, or: How to Trace Global Biographies, 1880–1950. In: Comparativ 23 (2013), 6-20. DOI: https://doi.org/10.26014/j.comp.2013.06.01

Transnational Cooperation in Wartime: The International Protection of Intellectual Properzy Rights During World War I. In: Niels P. Petersson/Christoph Dejung (eds.): The Foundations of Worldwide Economic Integration: powers, Institutions, and Global Markets, 1850–1930 (= Cambridge Studies in the Emergence of Global Enterprise). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2013, 205-227.

Le droit d’auteur et la première guerre mondiale : un exemple de coopération transnationale européenne, in : Le mouvement social 244 (2013), 67-80.

Intellectual Property Rights between Nationalization and Globalization. Introduction. In: Comparativ 21 (2011), 7-28 (with Hannes Siegrist). DOI: https://doi.org/10.26014/j.comp.2011.02.01

La Société des Nations et la mondialisation du droit d'auteur entre les deux guerres. In: Claude Hauser et al (eds.): La diplomatie par le livre: réseaux et circulation internationale de l'imprimerie de 1880 à nos jours. Paris : Éditions Nouveau Monde 2011, 181-196.

„Zum Schutze der Geistesschöpfungen auf der ganzen Welt“: Die Geschichte der internationalen Verrechtlichung des Autorenschutzes 1850–1952. In: Zeitschrift für Geistiges Eigentum 1 (2009), 292-323. DOI: 10.1628/186723709789863952

Wozu Globalgeschichte? Eine akteurs- und organisationsgeschichtliche Perspektive. In: Jürgen Elvert/Michael Salewski (Hg.): Historische Mitteilungen der Ranke-Gesellschaft 21 (2009), 122-127.

Intellectual Cooperation in Transnational Networks: The League of Nations and the Globalization of Intellectual Property Rights. In: Mathias Albert u.a. (eds.): Transnational Political Spaces. Agents, Structures, Encounters. Frankfurt am Main: Campus 2009, 58-88.

Intellectual Property Rights. In: Akira Iriye/Pierre-Yves Saunier (eds.): Palgrave Encyclopedia of Transnational History. New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2009, 551-554 (with Hannes Siegrist).

Europäischer, amerikanischer oder weltweiter Schutz geistigen Eigentums? Die Berner Übereinkunft zum Schutz von Urheberrechten und das amerikanische Copyright in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts. In: Themenportal Europäische Geschichte, 01.01.2007.