Dr Klaus Richter

Dr Klaus Richter

Department of History
Birmingham Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Eastern European History

Contact details

G16, Fry Building
Department of History
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am the director of the Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures (BRIHC) and a historian of Eastern Europe. My main field of research is the social history of Poland, the Baltics and Russia. I am especially interested in issues such as nationalism, ethnic conflicts and concepts of political economy and statehood. Together with Dr Julian Pänke, I convene the interdisciplinary East Central Europe Research Forum (ECERF).

Feedback and office hours

  • Mondays 11:00 - 12:00
  • Wednesdays 12:00 - 13:00


  • Staatsexamen in History (University of Cologne)
  • Doctoral degree in History, (Technical University of Berlin)


Dr Klaus Richter is a Birmingham Fellow and Lecturer in Eastern European History at the University of Birmingham. After studying history, art history, English and German philology at the University of Cologne, he worked as a research associate at the Centre for Research on Anti-Semitism at the Technical University of Berlin (2009 – 2011). In early 2012, he joined the German Historical Institute in Warsaw as a visiting scholar. He took up work at the University of Birmingham in October 2012.


  • Special subject: ‘Conflict, nationalism and genocide in East Central Europe, ca. 1880 – 1953’
  • Option: ‘Europe in the Age of Total War’

Postgraduate supervision

Find out more - our PhD History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


I am currently working on a history of Poland and the Baltics during the First World War and the interwar period, which focuses on the impact of occupation and revolution on the specifics of statehood in the region. I am particularly interested in the interplay between imperial normative frameworks, that continued to be a powerful force, and territorial politics implemented in the nation states.

My past research includes a doctoral thesis on anti-Semitism in Lithuania before World War I, which focussed on anti-Jewish violence and strategies to “emancipate” the peasants from Jewish merchants. I am also involved in the following projects:

  • ‘Hinterlands and Hypertrophies. Assessments of the “Viability” of Empires and Nation-States in Central and Eastern Europe, 1900 – 1930's’ (as principal investigator). Together with Dr Jonathan Gumz, I analyse the origins, development and impact of the concept of “viability” and its practice in early 20th century Central and Eastern Europe. The project is thus meant to establish a starting point for a historiography of modern state assessment and its practitioners. Viewing a state through the lens of “viability” (from German: Lebensfähigkeit, literal translation “the ability to live”) meant interpreting it as a living organism – be it in the form of the allegedly overstretched and disaggregating Habsburg and Romanov Empires, of hydrocephalic post-war Austria, of incoherent post-partition Poland or of acephalic Lithuania. Our project investigates how the circulation of knowledge and practices associated with “viability” lent the concept a dynamic character that changed over time. The project is funded by an AHRC Early Career Standard Research Grant for a time period of 24 months, starting in September 2017.
  • ‘The Fight against the Traffic in Women and Children in Interwar Poland’ (as principal investigator). This project retraces the networks of Polish anti-trafficking organisations and their connection to local and regional practitioners, such as the Polish Women’s police as well as railway and port missions. It focuses on how far Polish campaigns were shaped, facilitated or hampered by international efforts and how far they in turn shaped international policies, especially concerning the control of prostitution and of the movement of women. The research for this project is funded by the Thyssen Foundation and carried out by Dr Jasmin Nithammer.

Recently concluded research projects:



Selected articles and book chapters:

Contributions to websites:

Encyclopaedia entries:

  • Several entries for the Handbuch des Antisemitismus [Handbook of Anti-Semitism], Vols. 4, 5, 6, Berlin 2011-2013.
  • Several entries for the online encyclopaedia "1914-1918 online."


  • Several reviews for H-Soz-u-Kult [hsozkult.de], Journal for Baltic Studies, Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropaforschung (ZfO), Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft (ZfG), Lietuvos istorijos studijos, Pol-Int, Quest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History, Darbai ir dienos

View all publications in research portal



  • Minorities policy
  • State formation
  • Peacekeeping
  • Conflict resolution
  • Nationalism