Martin Klimke, Associate Professor of History, NYUAD
Martin Klimke, Associate Professor of History, NYUAD

Martin Klimke

Associate Dean of Humanities, Associate Professor of History

Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi



M.A., Ph.D. University of Heidelberg

Martin Klimke’s research explores the intersections of political and cultural, diplomatic, and transnational history. It is dedicated to the role of America in the world with an emphasis on processes of transnational exchange in US-European relations in the 20th century, and more particularly in the period of the Cold War. Klimke analyzes the multifaceted impact “American” ideas and cultural practices have had once adopted in different sociopolitical settings, and the ways in which US history has become intertwined with other countries’ politics and societies.

The increasingly global cultural, political, and military presence of the United States, especially after World War II, as well as the country’s complex entanglement with the forces of globalization, are at the center of his scholarly interests. A special focus of his research is transnational protest movements, processes of cultural transfer, and global networks of dissent, e.g., with respect to 1960/70s protest movements, the African American freedom struggle in the 20th century, or the grassroots activism of the 1980s.

Martin Klimke studied at the University of Göttingen, Amherst College, and the University of Heidelberg. Before joining NYU Abu Dhabi, he taught at the University of Heidelberg, Georgetown University, Rutgers University, and Meiji University, Tokyo.

He is an associated faculty member in the Department of History at NYU New York and an associated researcher at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA) at the University of Heidelberg as well as in Transatlantic Cultural History (TCH) at the University of Augsburg, Germany.

For more detailed information, please see Martin Klimke's personal website

Current Research Projects

The Nuclear Crisis:
Cold War Cultures and the Politics of Peace and Security, 1975-1990

On December 12, 1979, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) passed the so-called Double-Track Decision: If case arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union were to fail, the West would station intermediate nuclear forces to provide a counterweight to the new Soviet SS-20 missiles.

This momentous decision, alongside the almost simultaneous Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, directly affected international politics as well as domestic developments in Europe and North America, as the world moved from an era of détente to a newly heightened East-West confrontation.

Interpreting the “nuclear crisis” of the late 1970s and early 1980s as a phenomenon in which a variety of military, political, and cultural transformations converged, this research project explores the discourse about atomic energy and weapons during the final decades of the Cold War from three distinct but interrelated angles: cultural representations of the nuclear threat, changes in the sociopolitical and economic spheres, transatlantic and global transformations. » More

The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs, and Germany

This research project explores the connection between the U.S. military presence abroad and the advancement of civil rights in the U.S. We investigate the role that African-American GIs played in carrying the civil rights movement to Germany, which was host to the largest contingent of U.S. troops deployed outside the U.S.

Between 1945 and the end of the Cold War, some 15-20 million American soldiers, families, and civilian employees lived in Germany. Between 2-3 million of those Americans were African American. By giving voice to their experience and to that of the people who interacted with them, we will expand the story of the African-American civil rights struggle beyond the boundaries of the U.S. » More

Recent Conferences

May 19-21, 2015: Rethinking Historical Space, NYU Abu Dhabi (co-convened by Martin Klimke, David Ludden, Lauren Minsky, and Mark Swislocki)

Nov 1-3, 2015: Islam in Global Perspective, NYU Abu Dhabi (co-convened by Keiko Sakurai, Sadashi Fukuda, Takayuki Yoshimura (Waseda University), Nasrudin Bin Md Akhir, Siti Rohaini Binti Kassim (University of Malaya), Martin Klimke, Justin Stearns (NYUAD))

March 13-15 / Sep 19-21: Revisiting 1968 and the Global Sixties, NYU Abu Dhabi, New York, Shanghai (co-convened by Jian Chen, Joanna Waley-Cohen (NYUSH), Mary Nolan, Marilyn Young (NYUNY), Masha Kirasirova, Martin Klimke (NYUAD))
Conference Websites: Shanghai / Abu Dhabi

For a complete list of conferences, see here