Jack Guenther

Graduate Student

I am a historian of modern Germany and the world, with a focus on political and economic history from the 1880s to the 1970s and on what German history reveals about the history of empires, international order, globalization, and global economic governance.

I grew up in Washington, D.C., and in 2018 received a B.A. with University Honors from Wesleyan University, where I was the only student to receive High Honors in three departments. I’ve lived in Hamburg, Germany, twice: as a visiting student in at the Universität Hamburg in 2016 and for archival research in 2021-22. I played varsity soccer in college and would follow Manchester United home and away if it didn’t require transatlantic flights.

My dissertation, “Shaping an Interconnected World: Hamburg, Germany, and the Transformation of Interdependence, 1880-1974,” is a history of Germany’s political and economic interactions with the world told through the port city of Hamburg. From Wilhelmine imperial expansion to Weimar economic internationalism, from colonial irredentism to Nazi empire, from postwar reconstruction to European integration, the project charts how Germans and four editions of the German state have dealt—economically, politically, intellectually, violently—with global interdependence. Across this century, Hamburg-based experiments in shaping an interconnected world, I argue, proved foundational not only for the Federal Republic of Germany, but also for the architecture of postwar global economic governance.

In May 2020, I completed my general exams with a major field in German History since 1770 with Harold James & Yair Mintzker, and minor fields in Empires and Internationalisms with Natasha Wheatley and Latin America since 1800 with Jeremy Adelman. Since then, I’ve taught courses in modern European history, the history of capitalism, and global history since 1300, the latter in conjunction with Princeton’s Global History Lab. I’ve advised undergraduate research projects in German history and oral history. In 2023, I co-organized a conference on new directions in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.  I have also been President of Princeton’s Graduate History Association (twice), have sat on the department’s Graduate Policy Committee, have helped design graduate student professional development programming, and have worked on higher education consulting for the Open Society Foundations. Most importantly, I am President of Princeton’s graduate student and faculty soccer club, Grad FC.

Selected Publications

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Jack Guenther, “Hamburg Free Traders and the Business of Empire, 1897-1941,” Central European History 56, no. 4 (December 2023): 535-552.

Jack Guenther, “An Empire of Merchants? German Shipping, Commercial Interests and Imperial Ambitions from Latin America to Hamburg, 1888-1918,” German History, forthcoming 2025.

Book Reviews

Jack Guenther, roundtable review of Blood and Diamonds: Germany’s Imperial Ambitions in Africa. H-Diplo. December 1, 2023.

Year of Study
Sixth Year
Area of Interest
Business History
Colonialism & Post Colonialism
Economic History
History of Capitalism
Imperial History
Political History
Home Department & Other Affiliations
19th Century
20th Century
Latin America and the Caribbean