Susanne Schregel

junior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2015/2016
discipline History
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Cologne, Germany

Research project

Intelligent/Unintelligent. A History of Intelligence as a Socio-political Distinction (Germany and Great Britain, ca. 1880-1990)


The project aims to write a history of ‘intelligence’ as a socio-political distinction (in Germany and Great Britain, ca. 1880 to 1990). It seeks to show how debates about cognitive capacities, being intelligent or being unintelligent shaped fundamental differentiations which contributed to social stratification in modern society and partially legitimized or challenged its socio-political order. The project is based on the hypothesis that the appeal to intelligence facilitated historically flexible differentiations between entities that were understood as more or less intelligent and helped to establish interrelations of superiority and inferiority between them.

This did not just affect the relative position of human individuals, but also of other entities which were rated as ‘intelligent’, for instance animals and machines. The example of intelligence therefore offers a methodological opportunity to progress from a history of social inequality between persons into the broader history of social practices surrounding categorisation and hierarchy.

The investigation will focus on the concrete discourses and practices which served to assign, maintain or question social positions. As sources, the study will mostly consider popular publications and flyers which illustrate the handling of ‘intelligence’ at the interface between scientific, technical and public political debates – for instance newspaper and journal articles, publications from psychology and education, publications on the testing and advancement of intelligence for a general public, or political leaflets and pamphlets.



Susanne Schregel is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the research lab “Transformations of Knowledge”, University of Cologne. Prior to that, she was Postdoctoral Fellow at the German Historical Institute London (Research Scholarship) and Research Fellow at the IKKM (Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie), Bauhaus University Weimar. She holds a PhD in history from the Technical University of Darmstadt.

Her main research interests are in the history of social movements and political protest, the history of spatial-political interrelations and the intersections between social history, political history and the history of knowledge.


Selected publications


‘Places and Spaces of the Peace Movement’, in C. Becker-Schaum et al. (eds), The Nuclear Crisis: Arms Race, Atomic Anxiety, and the German Peace Movement of the 1980s, Berghahn Books, New York/Oxford, forthcoming.


‘Global Micropolitics. Toward a Transnational History of Grassroots Nuclear-Free Zones', in E. Conze, M. Klimke & J. Varon (eds), Nuclear Threats, Nuclear Fear, and the Cold War of the 1980s, Cambridge University Press, New York, forthcoming.


‘Nuclear War and the City. Perspectives on Municipal Interventions in Defence (Great Britain, New Zealand, West Germany, USA, 1980–1985)’, Urban History, Spec. Issue History of Cold War Cities, eds M. Farish & D. Monteyne, forthcoming.


‘Die ‘Macht der Mächtigen’ und die Macht der ‘Machtlosen’. Rekonfigurationen des Machtdenkens in den 1980er Jahren’, Archiv für Sozialgeschichte, vol. 52, 2012, pp. 403-428.


Der Atomkrieg vor der Wohnungstür. Eine Politikgeschichte der neuen Friedensbewegung in der Bundesrepublik (1970–1985), Historische Politikforschung, Band 19, Campus, Frankfurt am Main/New York, 2011.


‘Konjunktur der Angst. ‘Politik der Subjektivität’ und ‘neue Friedensbewegung’’, in B. Greiner, C.T. Müller & D. Walter (eds), Angst im Kalten Krieg, Hamburger Edition, Hamburg, 2009, pp. 495-520.







junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2018/2019
The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH)
discipline Sociology
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2015/2016
The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH)
discipline Literature
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2016/2017
The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH)
discipline Comparative Studies
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2017/2018
The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH)
discipline Sociology