Jim Bjork joined the Department in 2005 as Lecturer in Modern European History. He has previously taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the US at the universities of Notre Dame, Rice, and Colgate, and he has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Centre for German and European Studies (Georgetown University) and the Institute of European Studies (Cornell University). Jim received his PhD from the University of Chicago.
From 2012 to 2015, Jim Bjork served as the first director of the Liberal Arts BA at King’s.
Research interests and PhD supervision
- the social history of religion in modern Europe
- history of nationalism in modern Europe
- supranational identifications in modern Central Europe, especially Germany and Poland.
Jim Bjork’s primary research and teaching interests are the social history of religion and the history of nationalisation in modern Europe. His current research explores the relationship between national exceptionalism and the idea of the ‘Christian West’ in shaping the religious revival in Poland during the 1960s and 1970s. His book, ‘Neither German nor Pole: Catholicism and National Indifference in a Central European Borderland, 1890-1922’, which examines the role played by everyday religious life in frustrating the formation of clearly defined national communities in Upper Silesia, was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2008.
For more details, please see his full research profile.
Jim Bjork teaches a range of modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level, with a particular focus on the history of East-Central Europe, the social history of religion, and the history of empires and nations.
Expertise and public engagement
Jim Bjork has served as the secretary of the German History Society (2011 to 2015) and was recently elected to the board of the Polish Studies Association (2017).
He has been interviewed by various Polish media outlets about his book, and his views on prospects for Silesian autonomy/independence:
'I have removed the boundaries of nations': Nation switching and the Roman Catholic Church during and after the Second World War
14 February 2019
Piety by the Numbers: Social Science and Polish Debates about Secularization in the 1960s and 1970s
15 May 2016
Monoglot norms, bilingual lives: Readership and linguistic loyalty in Upper Silesia
28 April 2016
Creating nationality in Central Europe, 1880-1950: Modernity, violence and (be) longing in Upper Silesia
14 April 2016
28 May 2015
Church Fights: Nationality, Class, and the Politics of Church-Building in a German-Polish Borderland, 1890-1914
01 January 2014
Kosciol katolicki a (re)polonizacja Gornego Slaska po drugiej wojnie swiatowej
01 January 2014
Gregor Thum, Uprooted: How Breslau Became Wroclaw During the Century of Expulsions
01 July 2013
Dominique Kirchner Reill, Nationalists Who Feared the Nation: Adriatic Multi-Nationalism in Habsburg Dalmatia, Trieste, and Venice
01 June 2013
Peter Thaler, Of Mind and Matter: The Duality of National Identity in the German-Danish Borderlands
01 April 2013