Dr. Wolfgang Schivelbusch

Senior Fellow, project Redemption Through Return


Since the 1970s, Wolfgang Schivelbusch has been one of the internationally most widely renowned German historians. His books, which were translated into several languages, concentrate on politics, culture, society as well as the history of mentalities and have been awarded with numerous prizes. Schivelbusch has received, among other awards, the German Non-Fiction Prize (in 1978 for Geschichte der Eisenbahnreise), the Heinrich Mann Prize of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin (2003), the Scholar’s Prize of the Aby Warburg Foundation (2005) as well as the Lessing Prize of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (2013). Since 2014, he is a senior fellow at the ZfL.

Research Interests

In his works, Schivelbusch combines approaches from various fields such as the history of mentalities, technology, and knowledge. His works Geschichte der Eisenbahnreise (1977), in which he traces the ‘industrialization of space and time in the 19th century,’ as well as Die Bibliothek von Löwen (1988), his materially substantial study on the complex cultural history of the destructions and reparations during the ‘time of the world wars,’ have had a particularly significant impact. For the intellectual history of the 1920s, Schivelbusch has coined the term Intellektuellendämmerung, engl. ‘The twilight of the intellectuals’ (1982), a term which has since been quoted frequently. Schivelbusch has examined both the Entfernte Verwandschaft, engl. ‘Distant Relationship’ (2005) between fascism, National Socialism, and the New Deal as well as the Intellectual Berlin from 1945 to 1948 (1995). His work on numerous books was paralleled by the formation of scientific schools of thought. Schivelbusch’s works had a particularly significant impact on the cultural studies research of the last decades.


  • Die andere Seite. Hamburg: Rowohlt 2021
  • Rückzug. Geschichten eines Tabus. München: Hanser 2019
  • Das verzehrende Leben der Dinge. Versuch über die Konsumtion. München: Hanser 2015
  • Entfernte Verwandtschaft. Faschismus, Nationalsozialismus, New Deal; 1933–1939. München: Hanser 2005
    [Translation: Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933–1939. New York: Picador 2006]
  • Die Kultur der Niederlage: Der amerikanische Süden 1865. Frankreich 1871. Deutschland 1918. Berlin: Fischer 2001
    [Translation: Culture of Defeat: On National Trauma, Mourning, and Recovery. New York: Picador 2003]
  • Vor dem Vorhang. Das geistige Berlin 1945–1948. München: Fischer 1995
    [Translation: In a Cold Crater: Cultural and Intellectual Life in Berlin, 1945–1948. Berkeley: University of California Press 1998]
  • Licht, Schein und Wahn. Auftritte der elektrischen Beleuchtung im 20. Jahrhundert. Berlin: Ernst & Sohn 1992
  • Die Bibliothek von Löwen. Eine Episode aus der Zeit der Weltkriege. München. Hanser 1988
  • Lichtblicke. Zur Geschichte der künstlichen Helligkeit im 19. Jahrhundert. München: Fischer 1983
    [Translation: Disenchanted Night: The Industrialization of Light in the Nineteenth Century. Berkeley: University of California Press 1988]
  • Intellektuellendämmerung. Zur Lage der Frankfurter Intelligenz in den zwanziger Jahren. Frankfurt a.M.: Insel 1982
  • Das Paradies, der Geschmack und die Vernunft. Eine Geschichte der Genussmittel. München: Fischer 1980
    [Translation: Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants. New York: Vintage Books 1992]
  • Geschichte der Eisenbahnreise. Zur Industrialisierung von Raum und Zeit im 19. Jahrhundert. München: Fischer 1977
    [Translation: The Railway Journey: Trains & Travel in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Blackwell 1979]
  • Sozialistisches Drama nach Brecht. 3 Modelle, Peter Hacks, Heiner Müller, Hartmut Lange. Darmstadt: Luchterhand 1974