Affiliation: Haus der Geschichte des Ruhrgebiets, Ruhr University Bochum

Keywords: European History, post-1945, East-West, Social History, Social Cohesion, Social Mobility, Democracy, Social Conflict, Consensus


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Portrait of dr. Jan De Graaf

Jan De Graaf obtained his MA in History from Utrecht University in 2009. He was awarded a PhD from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 for a comparative history of the Czechoslovak, French, Italian, and Polish socialist parties and the problems of socio-economic and political reconstruction after 1945. In the same year, he joined the KU Leuven with the prestigious postdoctoral fellowship of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) to work on a research project on wildcat strikes as a pan-European phenomenon between 1945 and 1953. In 2019, he was granted the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung and joined the Institute for Social Movements of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum as a Junior Professor of European History. With the award funds, he set up his own independent research group that studies social cohesion and social mobility in post-war Europe in East-West comparison.

His research revolves around the reconceptualization of post-war European history by looking across the Iron Curtain that often still exists in scholarship. In doing so, he has not only been able to identify groundbreaking parallels across and divergences within East and West, but also to shed fresh light on what united societies under communism and capitalism. His research interests include questions of democracy, social conflict, and the quest for societal consensus.