I was born and raised in West Berlin. I studied history and political science in Berlin and France (Montpellier), as well as spending three years at the European University Institute in Florence. My PhD thesis on the German aristocracy and the Nazi movement was awarded the Hans Rosenberg prize. After lecturing in modern Western European history at the three universities in Berlin and the University of Cologne, I was a Kennedy Fellow at Harvard University in 2005-2006, a research fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies in 2008-2009, and a lecturer in modern European history at University College Dublin from 2009 to 2012.
I have published on elites and fascism, on 1968 and consumer history, on autobiographies, on the strengths and limits of cultural history, and on twentieth-century European colonial history. My research interests have been focused on what Eric Hobsbawm called ‘the age of extremes’ (1914-1991). I came to the University of Edinburgh as a DAAD Lecturer in 2012 and became a permanent member of staff in 2014.