Axel joined UCL in 1996. He is founding Director of the UCL Centre for Transnational History (since 2008) and was appointed to a chair in 2012. His main fields of research are the intellectual and cultural history of Europe between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, with a particular interest in transnational history and the history of European opera. He has worked on French, Italian, German and Habsburg history as well as trans-Atlantic history.
Axel currently supervises three PhD students working in the fields of European transnational and intellectual history. He is happy to receive enquiries from students interested in eighteenth- to twentieth-century Italian, French, German and Habsburg history, in comparative European history, and in the history of opera.
- 'National Movements against Nation States: Bohemia and Lombardy between the Habsburg Empire, the German Confederation and Piedmont', in Douglas Moggach and Gareth Stedman Jones, eds, The 1848 Revolutions and European Political Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018, 345-382.
- America in Italy: The United States in the Political Thought and Imagination of the Italian Risorgimento, 1763-1865. Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2017. Winner of the Helen&Howard Marraro Prize of the American Historical Association.
- Politics of Culture in Liberal Italy: From Unification to Fascism. New York: Routledge, 2009; 2nd ed. pb 2011.
- 'Transnational History: Identities, Structures, States', in Barbara Haider-Wilson, William D. Godsey, Wolfgang Mueller, eds, International History in Theory and Praxis. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2017, 265-290.
For a full list of publications, see Axel's Iris profile.
- 2016-2019, Leverhulme Trust, International Network Grant (IN-2015-045), Re-imagining italianità: Opera and Musical Culture in Trasnational Perspective
- 2015-2018, Leverhulme Trust, Major Research Award (MRF-2014-028), Transnational Monarchy: Rethinking the Habsburg Empire, 1804-1918
- 2014-2017, Centre for Humanities Interdisciplinary Research Projects (CHIRP) - Passionate Politics
- 2005-2009, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) four-year research grant, The American Way of Life: Images of the United States in Nineteenth-Century Europe and Latin America (with Nicola Miller and Adam Smith)
Axel makes regular media appearances in the UK and abroad.
From October 2020 to March 2021 Axel has been appointed Leibniz-Professor at the University of Leipzig.