Professor Frithjof Benjamin  Schenk

Professor Frithjof Benjamin Schenk

Senior Visiting Research Fellow

Department of International History

English, French, German, Russian
Key Expertise
Comparative Imperial History, Late Imperial Russian History

About me

Frithjof Benjamin Schenk is Professor of Russian and East European History at the University of Basle. Before moving to Switzerland, he defended his PhD at Free University Berlin (2002) and worked as Assistant Professor at Ludwig Maximilians-University of Munich (2003-2011).

He has published widely on the history of memory and discourses of collective identity in Russia and Eastern Europe, on imagined geography and mental maps, on the history of mobility and social space, on comparative imperial history, and the history of autobiographical writing.

While holding a Visiting Senior Research Fellowship at the Department of International History (July-December 2019), he will work on a new research project dealing with sites of migration management in Russia in late 19th and early 20th century in a comparative global perspective. Furthermore, he is developing a book project on female autobiographical writing in the late Tsarist Empire.

Expertise Details

Spatial History; Transcontinental Migration; Comparative Imperial History; Late Imperial Russian History; Gender History; Autobiographical Writing


His publications include:

• “Eastern Europe”, in: European Regions and Boundaries. A Conceptual History, ed. by Diana Mishkova and Balazs Trencsényi, (New York: Berghahn, 2017, 188-209.

• “Mental Maps: The Cognitive Mapping of the Continent as an Object of Research of European History”, in: European History Online (EGO), published by the Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG), Mainz 2013-07-08.

•  “Travel, Railroads, and Identity Formation in the Russian Empire”, in: Eric Weitz, Omer Bartov (eds.): Shatterzone of Empires. Coexistence and Violence in the German, Habsburg, Russian, and Ottoman Borderlands, Bloomington (Indiana University Press) 2013, 136-151.

•  “This new means of transportation will make unstable people even more unstable”: Railways and geographical mobility in Tsarist Russia, in: John Randolph, Eugene M. Avrutin (Hg.): Russia in Motion. Cultures of Human Mobility Since 1850, Urbana (University of Illinois Press) 2012, 218-234.

•  “Mastering Imperial Space? The Ambivalent Impact of Railway Building in Tsarist Russia, in: Jörn Leonard, Ulrike von Hirschhausen (Hg.): Comparing Empires. Encounters and Transfers in the Long Nineteenth Century, Göttingen (V&R) 2011, 60-77.


•  Imperial subjects. Autobiographische Praxis in den Vielvölkerreichen der Romanovs, Habsburger und Osmanen im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert [Imperial Subjects. Autobiographical Practices in the Empires of the Romanovs, Habsburgs and Ottomans] (Köln: Böhlau, 2015) (co-ed. with Martin Aust).

Russlands Fahrt in die Moderne. Mobilität und sozialer Raum im Eisenbahnzeitalter [Russia’s Journey into Modernity. Mobility and Social Space in the Railway Age] (Stuttgart: Steiner, 2014, Russian translation (Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie) 2016).

Aleksandr Nevskij : Heiliger - Fürst - Nationalheld. Eine Erinnerungsfigur im russischen kulturellen Gedächtnis (1263-2000) [Alexander Newsky. Saint. Prince, National Hero. An Object of Commemoration in the Russian Cultural Memory (1263-2000)] (Köln: Böhlau, 2004, Russian translation (Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie) 2007).