Research Interests

David Motadel works on the history of modern Europe and Europe’s relations with the wider world. He has a particular interest in international history and the history of empire. His research has brought him to more than fifty archives around the globe.

He is the author of a book on the history of Muslims under German rule in the Second World War (Harvard University Press, 2014), ranging from North Africa and the Balkans to the Caucasus and the Crimea, and the editor of a volume on Islam in the European empires (Oxford University Press, 2014). His articles have been published in a number of journals, including Past and Present, the American Historical Review, the Journal of Contemporary History, the Historical Journal, and the Journal of Global History. His work has been translated into eight languages.

Among his current projects is a comparative study of the European empires in the era of the Second World War, 1935-1948. It looks at the war as a conflict involving heterogeneous empires, rather than a conflict of nation states. The study traces the involvement of the world’s colonized peoples, colonial soldiers, and anti-imperial movements in the conflict, examining the ways in which the war reconfigured Europe’s relations with the non-European world.

Taken together, David Motadel’s work seeks to study European history comparatively, and to enhance our understanding of the history of Europe’s entanglements with the wider world.

Research Prizes

∙ Philip Leverhulme Prize, 2018
∙ Fraenkel Prize, 2014
∙ Walter Laqueur Prize, 2014
∙ Prince Consort Prize and Seeley Medal of the University of Cambridge, 2011
∙ Doctoral Dissertation Prize of the British International History Group, 2011
∙ Doctoral Dissertation Prize of the German Historical Institute London, 2011
∙ Essay Prize of the German History Society and the Royal Historical Society, 2007


David Motadel regularly writes on history and current affairs for newspapers and magazines. His essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The GuardianThe Times Literary Supplement, Literary Review, The New York Review of Books, and The London Review of Books, among others. From 2005 to 2010, he also acted as an advisor on international affairs for Der Spiegel.