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The history of Europe still provides our paradigms and models.

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Charles Maier

Leverett Saltonstall Research Professor of History; Resident Faculty & CES Director (1994-2001)

Charles Maier

Leverett Saltonstall Research Professor of History; Resident Faculty & CES Director (1994-2001)


Charles Maier

Charles Maier is Leverett Saltonstall Research Professor of History at Harvard University and resident faculty member at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (CES). Maier was CES director from 1994-2001 and in the fall of 2006. Maier co-directs the Weatherhead Center Initiative in Global History (WIGH) with Sven Beckert and Sugata Bose. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Currently he is working on an “alternative history” of the era from World War I to the present entitled The New Spirit of the Laws.

Maier's research and teaching interests have included the history of political economy, collective memory and political justice, states and empires. Maier was a visiting professor at La Sapienza University of Rome in October 2019, a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin during spring 2018, and at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington during the spring of 2011. He has also taught at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, and was a visitor at the History Department of the Free University of Berlin as a Humboldt Prize Fellow. His most recent book is Once Within Borders: Territories of Power, Wealth, and Belonging since 1500 (2016). Other books include Leviathan 2.0: Inventing Modern Statehood (2012); Among Empires: American Ascendancy and its Predecessors (2006); Dissolution: The Crisis of Communism and the End of East Germany (1997), The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust, and German National Identity (1988), In Search of Stability: Explorations in Historical Political Economy (1987), and Recasting Bourgeois Europe (1975, 1988, and 2015).


  • Leverett Saltonstall Research Professor of History, Harvard University
  • CES Resident Faculty, Harvard University

Course – Spring 2021

  • Political Crisis and Radical Change in Recent History (FRSEMR 72L)

When I decided to become a historian of Europe long ago, Alexander Herzen spoke for me then in a text already 110 years old: “I do not know who could find in Europe happiness or rest, rest in the midst of an earthquake, happiness in the midst of a desperate struggle ... Why then do I stay? I stay because the struggle is here, because despite the blood and tears it is here that social problems are being decided, because it is here that suffering is painful, sharp, but articulate. The struggle is open, no one hides…”

Europe has moved on; blood and tears flow more copiously elsewhere; and struggle is as intense in the United States – but the history of Europe still provides our paradigms and models.

– Charles Maier

Recent Articles

Responding to COVID-19: Think Through the Analogy of War” was co-authored with Ian Kumekawa and is part of a series of white papers written for the bipartisan COVID-19 Response Initiative, spearheaded by the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Read more here.