School of European Languages, Culture and Society (SELCS)


Dr Jeff Bowersox

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Dr Jeff Bowersox

Dr Jeff Bowersox


German Department
18 Gordon Square


  • Lecturer in German History
    Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Joined UCL


Research themes:
          Cultural history of modern European colonialism
          Race in modern German history
          Black Germans and the African diaspora in Europe
          Transnational popular cultures

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 German-Polish relations in Upper Silesia, on German colonial exhibitions, on the colonial origins of the German Boy Scouts (Pfadfinder), and on African entertainers in Germany around 1900. 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 black entertainers in Germany before 1914 to understand how race, nation, and empire were commercialised during a period of expanding global connections. 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.  


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 a lectureship at the University of Worcester in 2013. He joined the School of European Languages, Culture, and Society at UCL in 2014.