Oliver Zimmer

Oliver Zimmer

Sanderson Tutorial Fellow in Modern History; Professor of Modern European History

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I teach European History c. 1760 – 1914 for both the first year course (Prelims) and papers taken in the second and third years (Finals). For Prelims I also teach Approaches to History, two foreign language papers (‘Meinecke & Kehr’ on the German, and ‘Tocqueville’ on the French side) and an optional paper on the French Revolution and Napoleonic Empire. For Finals I teach Disciplines of History and a Further Subject on Nationalism in Western Europe. At graduate level, I teach on the compulsory Theory & Methods course and offer an option on time and acceleration in the nineteenth century. I also supervise a number of masters and doctoral students working in areas related to my own research.


I work on the social, cultural and political history of Europe c. 1760 – 1939, particularly its German-speaking parts. And while my research interests relate to themes rather than particular countries or chronologies, I don’t normally supervise theses that fall within the post-1945 period. Themes of special interest include citizenship, nationalism, religion, liberalism and its role in the formation of cultural norms and expectations, time and temporal rhythms, the history of towns and cities, the cultural history of economic life, and historiography and theory. The question that preoccupies me at the moment is how ordinary people in the nineteenth century adapted to the acceleration of life and the standardisation of time. This will result in a monograph, provisionally entitled The Battle over Clocks and Timetables: People in the Railway Age. 

Selected Publications


2013. Remaking the Rhythms of Life: German Communities in the Age of the Nation-State (Oxford University Press; paperback 2015), 395 pp.

2003. A Contested Nation: History, Memory and Nationalism in Switzerland, 1761 – 1891 (Cambridge University Press; paperback 2006), 269 pp.

2003. Nationalism in Europe, 1890 – 1940 (Palgrave-Macmillan), 160 pp. Translations into Japanese (2010) and Chinese (2012).


2011. ‘Coping with Deviance: Swiss Nationalism in the Long Nineteenth Century’, Nations and Nationalism, 17:4, 256 – 74.

2010. ‘Beneath the “culture war”: Corpus Christi processions and mutual accommodation in the Second German Empire’, The Journal of Modern History, 82, 288 – 334.

2006. ‘Nation und Religion. Von der Imagination des Nationalen zur Verarbeitung von Nationalisierungsprozessen’, Historische Zeitschrift, 283:3, 617 – 56.

2004    ‘”A unique fusion of the natural and the man-made”: the trajectory of Swiss nationalism, 1933 – 1939’, Journal of Contemporary History, 39:1, 5 – 24.

2003    ‘Boundary Mechanisms and Symbolic Resources: Towards a Process-Oriented Approach to National Identity’, Nations and Nationalism, 9:2, 173 – 93.

2000    ‘Competing Memories of the Nation: Liberal Historiography and the Reconstruction of the Swiss Past, 1870 – 1900’, Past and Present, 168, 194 – 226.

1998    ‘In Search of Natural Identity: Alpine Landscape and the Reconstruction of the Swiss Nation’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 40:4, 637 – 65.

For a full list please see my faculty website.

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