Johannes Nagel - Doctoral Researcher

Johannes Nagel

Doctoral project:
The US Military during the Global Transformation, 1865-1905


since 10/2017 Doctoral Researcher in the Research Training Group "World Politics", Bielefeld University
03/2017 Internship, Department Central State Archives of Stuttgart
11/2016 State Examination in History, Political Science and Philosophy
04/2014 - 11/2016 Student, Heidelberg University
08/2012 - 05/2013 Exchange student and teaching assistant, Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA
04/2011 - 07/2012 Tutor, International Office, Tübingen University
07/2010 - 12/2010 Assistant, Baden-Württemberg State Archive, Stuttgart
09/2009 - 07/2012 Student, Tübingen University
09/2008 - 08/2009 Internship, Archive of the Centrum Judaicum/New Synagogue Foundation, Berlin

Why did the American state in the late 19th century abandon its traditional politics of anti-militarism and began to prepare for war in peacetime?

After the Civil War, a movement formed within the American military that wanted the armed forces to rationalize and assume a greater role in the world and the nation. Early efforts of this reform movement were met with indifference, as the government quickly dismantled the wartime military and relegated its officers to political isolation. Toward the end of the century, however, America caught up with European military modernization, building a new navy and expanding the army, thus preparing for future conflicts. This research project will investigate why this change from anti-militarism to militarism occurred.

The proposed hypothesis is that this development was caused by changes in how the American state observed world politics. After 1865, military professionals looked to European states for models to fear and follow, whereas the public and the civilian state had little interest in global power politics. The "shrinking of the world" had contradictory effects on the United States, strengthening both anti-militaristic globalism as well as "Realpolitik" nationalism within different segments of the state. Only when these different modes of observation began to align did a political consensus emerge and reforms became possible.

This research project contributes to the study of political development by showing how the uniquely American relationship between the military and the civilian state resulted in a bifurcated view of world politics. This will relate domestic developments to changes in world politics. Bringing the often-neglected case of American history into the discussion of state formation and world politics will add a new perspective to debates on comparisons and global entanglements. This project will draw on historiographic primary source analysis as well as methods from qualitative process-analytic political science.

  • Nagel, J. (2018) "Nationalism and Militarism in the US, 1880-1900."
    Paper presented at the workshop "The Concept of the State-Society Relationship in Comparative Perspective," Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3 / Université Paris-Nanterre, 9 February, Paris.


Forthcoming in October and November: RTG-Workshops

Two-day workshops at Bielefeld University on 'Imagining Belonging in World Politics: Concepts, practices and struggles' (01 & 02 Oct.18) and 'Balance and Competition in World Politics' (09 & 10 Nov.18) organized by the RTG members.

Workshop with Deborah Ruggieri

"Attention please & the power of persuasion." A workshop for female PhD students funded by the RTGs equality fund.


Guest Lecture by Georgios Varouxakis (London)

Lecture series 'Signaturen der Weltgesellschaft' jointly organized with the Institute for World Society on "Towards a genealogy of the concept of the West" presented by Prof. Dr. Georgios Varouxakis (Queen Mary University), Thursday 12 July at 18.15 in room X-C3-107.

Guest Lecture by Ursula Mense-Petermann (Bielefeld)

Lecture series 'Signaturen der Weltgesellschaft' jointly organized with the Institute for World Society on "Observing transnational labor markets through the lens of economic sociology - on the production of a transnational labor market in the meat industry" presented by Prof. Dr. Ursula Mense-Petermann (Bielefeld University), 19 June at 18.15 in room X-C3-107.

Workshop with Jennifer Pitts (Chicago)

Workshop jointly organized with the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology on "Boundaries of the International" held by Prof. Dr. Jennifer Pitts (University of Chicago)

Guest Lecture by Shih-Jiunn Shi (Bielefeld)

Lecture series 'Signaturen der Weltgesellschaft' jointly organized with the Institute for World Society on "Cultural Convergence or Political-economic Divergence: A Comparative Perspective on the Welfare Development in Greater China" presented by Shih-Jiunn Shi (Fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research Bielefeld).

Guest Lecture by Or Rosenboim (London)

Lecture series 'Signaturen der Weltgesellschaft' jointly organized with the Institute for World Society on "Globalism: Historical Perspectives on a Contested Concept" presented by Dr. Or Rosenboim.

RTG newsletter was launched

The RTG successfully launched its newsletter. The first issue is now available online. The newsletter provides an overview of past developments and events of the RTG and informs about future events. The next issue is expected to be published at the end of the summer semester.

New doctoral researcher joined the RTG

On 01 March, Karlson Preuss took up his position in the Research Training Group. In his doctoral dissertation, he focuses on "The Unwritten Constitution as an Intersection between Global Law and World Politics".


A touch of world politics in Bad Salzuflen

The RTG participated in the Annual Retreat of the Institute for World Society Studies on 14 and 15 December 2017 in Bad Salzuflen. More.


Guest lecture by George Lawson (LSE) on 28 November

We would like to invite you to the Guest lecture "Global Historical Sociology" by Dr. George Lawson (LSE) on Tuesday, 28 November at 18:15 in room no. X C3-107.


RTG "World Politics" officially launched

Ten international young scientists and eleven principal investigators will investigate the emergence of world politics as a specific type of politics from an interdisciplinary perspective. More.

Official Opening of the RTG on 24 October

We would like to invite you to the Official Opening of the RTG and the guest lecture "'Lies are the Law of the World!' News and Global Media Networks in the Twentieth Century" by Prof. Dr. Heidi Tworek (University of British Columbia, Vancouver) on Tuesday, 24 October at 18:15 in room no. X C3-107.

The RTG "World Politics" started on 01 October

On 01 October 2017, the Research Training Group "World politics: The emergence of political arenas and modes of observation in world society" started. Nine doctoral researchers and one post-doctoral researcher took up their positions.

The RTG is approved

We are pleased to announce that the DFG has approved our Research Training Group application. The new Research Training Group `World politics: The emergence of political arenas and modes of observation in world society´ will start 01 October 2017.