Wesleyan portrait of Erik  Grimmer-Solem

Erik Grimmer-Solem

Associate Professor of History

Public Affairs Center, 414
860-685-2397

Tutor, College of Social Studies

860-685-2397

Associate Professor, German Studies

egrimmer@wesleyan.edu

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BA Brigham Young University
DPHIL Oxford University
MPHIL Cambridge University
MSC London School of Economics and Political Science

Erik Grimmer-Solem

Erik Grimmer-Solem is Associate Professor in the Departments of History and German Studies, and a Tutor in the College of Social Studies at Wesleyan University. His fields of expertise are modern German history with specializations in economic history, the history of economic thought, and the history of social reform. Since 2007 his research has focussed on the intersection of globalization and German imperialism before 1918. The broader aim of this research is to reshape our understanding of Imperial Germany’s history by reconstructing the complex overseas entanglements of Germans in North and South America, Japan, China, Southeast Asia, Russia, and Ottoman Turkey. 

By highlighting the impact of the world on German naval and colonial poilicy his research offers a novel reinterpretation of the full arc of Imperial Germany’s history and thus a new perspective on the deeper origins of the First World War that highlights the prominent role of the middle class scholars in shaping a German form of "liberal imperialism." Since the work of the historians Fritz Fischer and Hans-Ulrich Wehler in the 1960s and 70s, and the important critique of the German Sonderweg thesis by David Blackbourn and Geoff Eley in the 1980s, such deeper historical reinterpretations of Germany’s imperial past have only rarely been attempted. Grimmer-Solem's work makes it possible to view German history between 1875 and 1918 as concurrent with the rise and demise the first era of globalization, linked directly to the profound changes in the global system brought on by the emergence of Germany, the United States and Japan as new world powers. The primary ambition of this project is to bring the world back into German “World Policy,” where it has long been missing due to the dominant historiographical preoccupation with the domestic origins of German imperialism and the still very Eurocentric frame of German history. At the same time, it connects the history of American westward expansion and industrialization and the modernization of Meiji and Taishō-era Japan with Germany in ways that help overturn the exceptionalist master narratives still dominant in these two still very insular historiographies. This changes how we view both the “German question” and the history of the 20th century, and it invites reflection on the problem of disorder and instability accompanying globalization in the current century.

Before joining Wesleyan in 2002, Professor Grimmer-Solem was a Harper Fellow at the University of Chicago (1999-2002), and prior to that, Lecturer in Modern European History at Balliol College, Oxford University (1999). He holds a D.Phil. in Economic and Social History from Oxford University (Nuffield College), an M.Phil. in European Studies from Cambridge University, an M.Sc. in International Political Economy from the London School of Economcs, and a B.A. in International Relations, Economics and German from Brigham Young University. 

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Spring 2018: M & W, 9:30-10:30 am & 3-4:00 pm; or by appointment

Courses

Fall 2018
CSS 240 - 01
Soph His Tut: Emerg Mod Europe

HIST 268 - 01
Origins of Global Capitalism