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Dr Jakub Benes
16 Taviton
Tel: 020 7679 8731
  • Lecturer in Central European History
Originally from Oakland, California, I earned a BA in International Studies from Middlebury College, Vermont and then a PhD in European History from the University of California, Davis. From 2012 to 2015 I held a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Birmingham. I taught at Oxford University and the University of Birmingham before coming to UCL SSEES in autumn 2019.
Research Summary

I am a historian of central and eastern Europe, particularly of the territories that made up the Habsburg Monarchy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. So far I have been especially interested in movements of workers and peasants—social groups that were critical in shaping the modern history of the region, but which have been neglected by historians in recent decades because of their disproportionately large (and distorted) role in communist-era history writing.

My first book, Workers and Nationalism: Czech and German Social Democracy in Habsburg Austria, 1890-1918 (Oxford University Press, 2017) looked at the culture of the workers’ movement in Prague, Vienna, Brno and elsewhere and how it evolved in a more nationalist direction alongside the democratization of elections and war. The book forms part of my broader interest in the history of socialism, which has led to a number of other projects, including a co-edited interdisciplinary volume called Socialist Imaginations and a chapter for the new Cambridge History of the Habsburg Monarchy.

My current research project is focused on rural unrest during the collapse of the Habsburg Empire in 1918 and how this forgotten episode reverberated in east central European society and culture through 1945. At the center of the story is a loose movement of army deserters and radical peasants called ‘Green Cadres’ that existed across the region, but possessed no conventional political representation. I have published my initial findings in articles in Past & Present and Contemporary European History.

Teaching Summary
This academic year I am teaching:

SEHI0008/SEHI0014 Urban Culture and Modernity: Vienna-Prague-Budapest, 1857-1938 

HIST0813 Peasant Wars and Revolution in Modern East Central Europe

SEHI0002 Modern Historiography

I welcome applications from research students working on topics in modern central and eastern European history related to my own areas of focus. 
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