I had my academic upbringing at the University of Bielefeld. Established in the late 1960s as a reform university, it was founded on the principles of progressive learning and interdisciplinarity. I chose Bielefeld partly for that interdisciplinary foundation. The Bielefeld School of thought had developed "Gesellschaftsgeschichte", a new kind of interdisciplinary social history that examines society through processes and structures. Those academic roots are important, however, not only for how they shaped my thinking as a historian, but also how I view the role of historians: history is not divorced from the present and historians have a role to play in informing it.

Tanja Bueltmann

Professor Tanja Bueltmann


Tanja Bueltmann is a historian of migration and diaspora. Her research focuses on associational culture in immigrant communities and how immigrants use associations to facilitate collective action. This includes work on EU citizens’ groups in the context of Brexit, which has also seen Tanja comment on wider issues to do with immigration and citizens’ rights. Now a dual German-British national, Tanja has also been a campaigner for citizens’ rights. In her free time Tanja writes, together with two friends, the German fashion, lifetstyle and travel blog Stylerebelles for women over 40.

Main header photograph: Ian Georgeson Photography