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. I grew up in Washington, D.C., and in 2018 received a BA with University Honors from Wesleyan University. I’ve lived in Hamburg, Germany, twice: as a visiting student at the Universität Hamburg in 2016 and for archival research in 2021-22. I played soccer in college and am a diehard supporter of Manchester United. 

My dissertation, “Hamburg, Germany, and the Problem 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. The project’s pilot article, “Hamburg Free Traders and the Business of Empire, 1897-1941,” is forthcoming at Central European History.

Recently, I’ve co-organized a conference on new directions in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany and presented work in Princeton, Hamburg, Cambridge, and several times at the German Studies Association annual conference. I’ll be co-hosting a panel, German Global Visions After 1918, at the 2023 GSA conference.

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. I have also been President of Princeton’s Graduate History Association (twice), have sat on the departments Graduate Policy Committee, and have helped design graduate student professional development programming.  

My further research interests include Germany’s imperial ambitions in Latin America before the First World War; the history of liberalism in Germany; the intersection of international order and globalization; and the long histories of empire, trade, and the “Great Divergence.”


Selected Publications

"Hamburg Free Traders and the Business of Empire, 1897-1941," Central European History, forthcoming 2023.

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

Year of Study
Sixth Year
Area of Interest
(In alphabetical order)
Business History
Economic History
Imperial History
Political History
Theory of History
Home Department & Other Affiliations
19th Century
20th Century
Latin America and the Caribbean