Jonathan Bach is professor of global studies in the Global Studies Program, and faculty affiliate in the Anthropology Department at The New School. His recent work explores social change through the politics of memory, material culture, and urban space, with an emphasis on transitions in Germany and China. He is the author most recently of What Remains: Everyday Encounters with the Socialist Past in Germany (Columbia University Press, 2017), and co-editor of Re-Centring the City: Urban Mutations, Socialist Afterlives, and the Global East (UCL Press, 2020) with Michal Murawski, and co-editor of Learning from Shenzhen: China’s Post-Mao Experiment from Special Zone to Model City (University of Chicago Press, 2017) with Mary Ann O'Donnell and Winnie Wong. His articles have appeared, inter alia, in China Perspectives, The British Journal of Sociology, Memory Studies, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Politics, Public Culture, Theory, Culture and Society, and Philosophy and Social Science. His first book Between Sovereignty and Integration: German Foreign Policy and National Identity after 1989 (St. Martin’s Press, 1999) examined questions of normalcy and responsibility in Germany during the early years after unification.
He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and has held post-doctoral fellowships at Columbia University (ISERP) and Harvard University (Center for European Studies). Bach was a visiting professor at Brown University’s Watson Institute, a visiting scholar at Columbia University's Harriman Institute and Sociology department, the Institute for European Ethnology at the Humboldt University, Berlin, the Center for Literary and Cultural Studies in Berlin, and the Institute for Peace Research and Security Studies at the University of Hamburg. He is a faculty affiliate at Yale University's European Studies Council and Columbia University's Center on Organizational Innovation and an Associate Member of the Center for the Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage at the Humboldt University, Berlin. He served on the inaugural Executive Committee of the Memory Studies Association and serves on the editorial boards of German Politics and Society and Sociologica: International Journal for Sociological Debate. At The New School he was the founding chair of the Global Studies Program and served as the associate director of the Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs. He is a 2021 recipient of The New School's Distinguished University Teaching Award.
Personal webpage: Jonathanbach.info
PhD 1997, Syracuse University
American Anthropological Association, German Studies Association, Memory Studies Association
Re-Centring the City: Urban Mutations, Socialist Afterlives, and the Global East, (University College London Press, In Press), Co-edited with Michal Murawski.
What Remains: Everyday Encounters with the Socialist Past in Germany (Columbia University Press, 2017).
Learning from Shenzhen: China’s Post-Mao Experiment from Special Zone to Model City (University of Chicago Press, 2017) Co-edited with Mary Ann O'Donnell and Winnie Wong.
Between Sovereignty and Integration: German Foreign Policy and National Identity after 1989. (St. Martin’s Press, 1999).
“The Red and the Black: China’s Social Credit System as a Total Test Environment.” The British Journal of Sociology, Volume 72 (3), 2020.
“Colonial Pasts in Germany’s Present.” German Politics and Society, Volume 37(4), 2019.
“What Kind of Model? Thinking about the Special Economic Zone and the Socialist City.” Made in China Journal, Volume 4(2), 2019.
“China’s Infrastructural Fix.” Limn no. 7, special Issue on Public Infrastructures/Infrastractural Publics, Fall 2016.
“The Berlin Wall after the Berlin Wall: Turning Site into Sight.” Memory Studies Vol. 9, no. 1, Spring 2016.
“Memory Landscapes and the Labor of the Negative in Berlin.” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, vol. 26, no. 1, March 2013.
“Shenzhen: Constructing the City, Reconstructing Subjects.” Open Democracy, Special feature on Cities in Conflict, Online, March 2013.
Book Chapters (selected)
“Material Culture and the Emergence of Ostalgie.” In Monica Rüthers, editor, Gute Erinnerungen an böse Zeiten – Nostalgie in ‘posttotalitären’ Erinnerungsdiskursen nach 1945 und 1989, Munich: Schriften des Historisches Kollegs, Forthcoming.
“Merit, Morality, and Market: The Chinese Social Credit Experiment” in David Stark, ed., The Performance Complex: Competitions and Valuations in Social Life. Oxford University Press, 2020.
“Introduction: Notes towards a political morphology of undead urban forms” (with Michal Murawski). In Jonathan Bach andMichal Murawski, eds.,Re-Centring the City: Urban Mutations, Socialist Afterlives, and the Global East, University College London Press, pp.1-14, 2020.
“Berlin’s Empty Centre: A Double Take.” In Jonathan Bach andMichal Murawski, eds.,Re-Centring the City: Urban Mutations, Socialist Afterlives, and the Global East, University College London Press, pp.79-89, 2020.
“Spaces of Informal Production in China” (with Stefan Al). In Nina Rappaport and Robert Lane, eds., The Design of Urban Manufacturing. Routledge, 2020.
“Objects.” In Andrew S. Bergerson and Leonard Schmiedling et al., Ruptures in the Everyday: Views of Modern Germany from the Ground. Berghahn Publishers, 2017. With Cristina Cuevas-Wolf and Dani Kranz.
“Collecting Communism: Private Museums of Everyday Life under Socialism in former East Germany.” German Politics and Society, vol 33, no. 1-2, Spring/Summer 2015.
“Consuming Communism: Material Cultures of Nostalgia in former East Germany.” In Olivia Ange and David Berliner, eds., Anthropology and Nostalgia. New York: Berghahn Publishers, 2014.
Germany, China, post-socialism, memory, colonial memory, material culture, everyday life, sovereignty, national identity, urban space, special economic zones, migration, globalization, markets and society, political culture
Awards And Honors
The German edition of my book What Remains, published as Die Spuren der DDR: Von Ostprodukten bis zu den Resten der Berliner Mauer (Reclam 2019), won a book of the year award from Damals magazine in the “thought provoking (Denkanstöße) category.