Marcus Pyka

Marcus Pyka

Associate Professor, History
Department Chair, History

Ph.D. Ludwigs Maximilians Universität München, Germany
M.A. Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms Universität Bonn, Germany

Office: Lowerre Academic Center, North Campus, Office 12
Phone: +41 91 986 36 37
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His research interests focus on questions of identity building. In his book Heinrich Graetz – Jewish Identity and Historiography (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Publishers, 2008), he addressed the construction of Jewish identity by means of historiography in 19th century Germany. He has received research fellowships from the German National Academic Foundation, the Institute for European History (Mainz/Germany), and Harvard University, among others. Current research focuses on the use of morality and of religious values for identity politics, both with regard to modern Bourgeoisie and the modern understanding of “Europe”. His teaching experience includes world history and world religions, with a focus on Judaism from the Biblical Times onwards, the Islamic world, India, and the West.

2020-2021 Courses:

HIS 104Global History I: Traditions, Encounters, and Adaptation from the Stone Age to the 16th CenturyFALL 2020
HIS 215TCentral Europe: An Urban History (Italy, Switzerland, Germany)FALL 2020
HON 499Honors Senior Capstone Experience Preparation WorkshopFALL 2020
HIS 105Global History II: Globalization, the Emergence of the Modern State, and Coping with ChangeSPRING 2021
HIS 211WHuman in History: Biography and Life WritingSPRING 2021
SEM 372Treason: Accusation as a Political ToolSPRING 2021
HIS 296Quarantine: Pandemics and the History of the Fight Against ThemSUMMER 2021


Heinrich Graetz: Jewish Identify and Historiography, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008.

Reviewed in:
Dieter Langewiesche, in: sehepunkte 9 (2009), Nr. 4 (15.04.2009),
Kristiane Gerhardt, in: H-Soz-u-Kult, 22.07.2009,
Ulrich Sieg, in: Historische Zeitschrift 290 (2010), Nr. 1.

Articles in Journals:
“Historiography and Identity. On the Importance and Potential of a Contested Approach“, in Historische Zeitschrift 280 (2005), Nr. 2, 381-392.

Chapters in Books:
„Von Reformen ganz enormen traeumen wir am Bosporus.“ Das Osmanische Reich als Vorbild wider Willen in Leo Fall’s Erfolgsoperette Die Rose von Stambul (1916),“ in: Yavuz Köse (ed.): ªehrâyin. Die Welt der Osmanen, die Osmanen in der Welt. Wahrnehmungen, Begegnungen und Abgrenzungen. Festschrift Hans Georg Majer, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 2012, S. 441-461.

„Jewish Studies,“ in: Christian Klein (ed.), Handbuch Biographie. Methoden, Traditionen, Theorien (Encyclopedia of Biography. Methods, Traditions, Theories). Stuttgart, Weimar: Metzler, 2010, pp. 414-418.

"Jews in Munich from Mid-19th Century to 1887/92", in: Jüdisches München. Vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart, ed. by Michael Brenner and Richard Breuer, München: C.H. Beck 2006, 89-109.

"Religion and the Popularization of 'Eternal Truths'. The Example of Christian and Islamic Haeresiographies“, in: Wissenspopularisierung. Konzepte der Wissensverbreitung im Wandel, ed. by Carsten Kretschmann, Berlin 2003, 47-77.

“The Jewish World in the 12th Century and the Travelogue (“Sefär Massa‘ot”) of Benjamin of Tudela“, in: Kultur – ein Netz von Bedeutungen, ed. by Florian Steger, Würzburg 2002, 55-76.

Works in Progress:
“‘Pfeif’ ich auf die Weltmisere’. The Politics of Operetta in the First Half of the 20th Century between Escapism and Propaganda”.
“What is a Jew? Biography Writing, Categorization, and Identity Politics in Modern Jewish History and Beyond”.
“Grand Tourism? Traditions, Opportunities, and Challenges of Educational Travel” (joint project).

Awards and Honors:

Association of Friends of the Ludwigs Maximilians Univeristät München (LMU), Award for the Best Ph.D. thesis in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the LMU in 2005.
-Harvard University, Center for Jewish Studies, Harry Starr Postdoctoral Fellowship in Judaica, 2005/6.
-Institute for European History Mainz, Fellow, 2004.
-Stiftung Dialogik Zurich/Toronto, Mary and Hermann Lewin Goldschmidt-Bollag Fellowship, 2003.
-Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, Doctoral Fellowship, 2000/3.

Areas of Research:

Identities and identity politics in the 19th and 20th century, the history and politics of popular culture, History of the Eurovision Song Contest, history and methodology of historiography.