Harvard University

From the 2018 Award for Scholarly Distinction citation in the 2019 Annual Meeting Awards Ceremony booklet

Throughout his career, Charles S. Maier, Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History at Harvard University, has blazed trails in European and global history through works of ambition and erudition. His books, articles, chapters, and edited or co-edited volumes (more than 100 in all) have tackled comparative political economy, modern states, empires, collective memory, and contemporary history.

Maier received his AB (1960) and PhD (1967) from Harvard University, where he then taught history until 1975. Between 1975 and 1980, he held positions at the University of Bielefeld and Duke University. In 1981, Maier returned to Harvard, where he held several positions, including the directorship of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies. He has held research fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Humboldt Foundation, and has served as an important conduit between historians in the United States, Europe, and Latin America.

As a scholar whose career has spanned the closing decades of the Cold War and the long aftermath of its demise, Maier has brought clarity to our understanding of the world we have inherited and now inhabit. From his first forays into European comparative political economy after World War I to scholarship on “German exceptionalism” to more recent accomplishments in the history of empire and territoriality, Maier’s publications have been driven by debates relevant not only to his field but to the entire discipline.

Maier’s influence can be felt today through the work of dozens of historians who claim him as adviser and mentor; their topics of interest include welfare, labor relations, universities, old communists, and international relations. Maier currently co-directs the Initiative on Global History at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, an important source of intellectual support and funding for students and postdoctoral fellows.