Blackbourn is Cornelius Vanderbilt Distinguished Chair of History and Co-Director Vanderbilt History Seminar at Vanderbilt University. Prior to his appointment at Vanderbilt, Blackbourn was Coolidge Professor of History at Harvard and served as CES Director from 2007-2012.
Blackbourn has written on a wide range of subjects within the field of German history since the eighteenth century. He is the author of six books:Class, Religion and Local Politics in Wilhelmine Germany (1980), The Peculiarities of German History (with Geoff Eley, 1984), Populists and Patricians (1987), Marpingen: Apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Nineteenth-Century Germany (1993), winner of the Hans Rosenberg Prize, History of Germany 1780-1918: The Long Nineteenth Century (2nd ed, 2002), and The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape and the Making of Modern Germany (2006), winner of the George Mosse Prize and the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Prize for Best Book in Forest and Conservation History. He has also co-edited two volumes.
Blackbourn is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, President of the Friends of the German Historical Institute Washington, and a member of the editorial board of the journal Past and Present. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, among others, and his work has appeared in eleven languages. He is currently working on a book about Germany in the World, 1500-2000, a global history.
Cornelius Vanderbilt Distinguished Chair of History, Vanderbilt University