James Sheehan

Dickason Professor in the Humanities; Professor of Modern European History, Emeritus.

At Stanford Since

Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley; A.B., Stanford University

Research Interests

In my most recent book (published by Oxford University Press in 2000), I examine the relationship between aesthetic ideas, cultural institutions, and museum architecture in nineteenth century Germany. Although I still have an interest in these issues, I am now working on problems in European international history. I have just completed a manuscript with the working title “The Monopoly of Violence: War and the State in Twentieth-Century Europe.” My next project will trace the theory and practice of sovereignty in Europe from the late middle ages to the present.

Courses Taught

  • The International System in the 20th Century
  • The Second World War in Europe and America
  • States and Sovereignty in the Modern World


  • The Career of Lujo Brentano: A Study of Liberalism and Social Reform in Imperial Germany (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1966)
  • German Liberalism in the Nineteenth Century (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1978). Methuen Paperback 1982, Chicago Paperback 1982. Paperback reprint, Humanities Press, 1995. German translation: Die deutsche Liberalismus von den Anfängen im 18.Jahrhundert bis zum Ersten Weltkrieg (Munich: Beck Verlag, 1983).
  • German History,1770-1866 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989; Paperback, 1993) German translation: Der Ausklang des alten Reiches (Berlin: Propyläen Verlag, 1994).
  • "Vergangenheit und Gegenwart in der Geschichte der Kunst," in: W.Hardtwig and H-H.Brandt, eds., Deutschlands Weg in die Moderne. Politik, Gesellschaft, und Kultur im 19. Jahrhundert (Munich: C,H.Beck, 1993).
  • "From Princely Collections to Public Museums: Toward a History of the German Art Museum," in: Michael Roth, ed., Rediscovering History: Culture, Politics, and the Psyche. Essays in Honor of Carl E.Schorske (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994),170-82. German translation in Andreas Grote, ed., Macrocosmos in Microcosmos. Die Welt in der Stube (Opladen: Leske and Budrich, 1994), 855-74.
  • "Vorbildliche Ausnahme: Liberalismus in Amerika und Europa," in: Jürgen Kocka et al., eds., Von der Arbeiterbewegung zum modernen Sozialstaat. Festschrift für Gerhard A.Ritter (Munich: Saur Verlag,1994), 236-48.
  • "The German States and the Habsburg Monarchy since 1789," American Historical Association Guide to Historical Literature (3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 964-97.
  • "1871, 1990: Kontinuität und Wandel in zwei Vereinigungen," in: Walther L.Bernecker and Volker Dotterweich, eds., Deutschland in den international Beziehungen des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts. Festschrift für Josef Becker (Munich: Verlag Ernst Vögel, 1996), 347-61.
  • "The German States and the European Revolution," in: Isser Woloch, ed., Revolution and the Meaning of Freedom in the Nineteenth Century (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996), 246-79.
  • "Nation und Staat. Deutschland als 'imaginierte Gemeinschaft," in: Manfred Hettling and Paul Nolte, eds., Nation und Gesellschaft in Deutschland. Historische Essays (Munich: Beck Verlag, 1996), 33-45.
  • "Aesthetic Theory and Architectural Practice: Schinkel's Museum in Berlin," in: David Wetzel, ed., From the Berlin Museum to the Berlin Wall. Essays on the Cultural and Political History of Modern Germany (Westview: Praeger, 1996), 11-30.
  • "Nineteenth-Century Culture," The Short Oxford History of Europe, edited by T.C.W.Blanning (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)
  • Museums in the German Art World. From the End of the Old Regime to the Rise of Modernism. (Oxford and new York: Oxford University Press, 2000) German translation, Geschichte der deutschen Kunstmuseen (C.H.Beck, 2002).
  • "Democracy" and "Political History," International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, ed. by Neil Smelser and Paul Baltes (2002)
  • "Germany," The Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, edited by Alan Charles Kors (Oxford University Press, 2002).
  • "The German Renaissance in America," in: The Italian Renaissance in the Twentieth Century, edited by A.J.Grieco et al (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2002).
  • “What it Means to be a State: States and Violence in Twentieth-Century Europe.” Journal of Modern European History, I:1 (2003), 11-23.


  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1985-86
  • Fellow, Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin, 1989-90
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1992-
  • Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching, 1992-93
  • Walter J.Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1993
  • Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize, 1995-96
  • Corresponding Fellow, Royal Historical Society
  • Verdienstkreuz des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschlands, 1998
  • Guggenheim Fellow, 2000-2001
  • Berlin Prize Fellow, American Academy in Berlin, 2001
  • Member, American Philosophical Society, 2001
  • The Paul Davies Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, 2003-
  • President, American Historical Association, 2005