Dr Jeff Bowersox

Dr Jeff Bowersox

Associate Professor


Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2014

Research summary

Feedback and advice hours (autumn 2022): Tue 12-2, book here for appointment or email

Research themes:

Race in modern German history

Black Germans and the African diaspora in Europe

Transnational popular cultures

Cultural history of modern European colonialism

Jeff Bowersox's research focuses on the connections that tied Germans and Europeans into the globalizing world of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He has published articles on African and African-American entertainers in Germany around 1900, race and ethnic difference in Playmobil toys, histories of blackface in Germany and Austria, debates over "Moor pharmacies" in Germany, German-Polish relations in Upper Silesia, representations of the Boxer war in German youth media, German colonial exhibitions, and the colonial origins of the German Boy Scouts (Pfadfinder). He has explored these connections in most detail in his book, Raising Germans in the Age of Empire: Youth and Colonial Culture, 1871-1914 (Oxford UP, 2013), a cultural history of the German colonial imagination around the turn of the twentieth century. 

His current research traces African-American entertainers in the German-speaking lands before 1914 to understand how those performers contributed to debates about race, culture, nation, and modernity through their music hall performances. Other ongoing projects explore relations between British and German youth groups before 1914, colonialism in the Weimar and National Socialist eras, and the workings of racialised difference in the products of the modern toy industry. He is also the managing editor of blackcentraleurope.com, a web resource making available historical materials on the history of the Black diaspora in the German-speaking lands from the Middle Ages to the present.  

Teaching summary

Jeff Bowersox has taught widely at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels in German, European, colonial, and world history. Currently he teaches a general introduction to German history as well as modules on Weimar/Nazi Germany, Imperial Germany, Black Germany, Black Europe, and global history. 

He welcomes inquiries from postgraduate students, especially those interested in modern German history, the Black diaspora in Europe, and cultures of modern colonialism.


University of Toronto
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2008
University of Cincinnati
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 2001
Georgetown College, Kentucky
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 1999


Jeff Bowersox earned his undergraduate degree from Georgetown College (Kentucky) and a master's degree in history from the University of Cincinnati before completing a PhD at the University of Toronto in 2008. His dissertation, under the supervision of Prof. Modris Eksteins, examined the German colonial imagination through the youth culture of the Imperial era. In 2013 this research was published by Oxford University Press under the title, Raising Germans in the Age of Empire: Youth and Colonial Culture, 1871-1914.

He taught for four years at the University of Southern Mississippi before crossing the pond to take up a research fellowship at King's College London in 2012 and then a lectureship at the University of Worcester in 2013. He joined the School of European Languages, Culture, and Society at UCL in 2014.