Dr Felix Schnell

Senior Lecturer
School of Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies
Dr Felix Schnell
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872226

  • Location

    5B.128, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Mondays 3.30-4.30, Thursdays 3.30-4.30



Like probably many male teenagers of my generation I was fascinated by war and military stuff, especially Frederick the Great and the Second World War. At school it turned out that history was the only subject which didnt bore me to death. And I also realised that theres interesting stuff beyond war. However, after my A-levels I decided to study archaeology because I wanted to be as far from reality as possible and live in my personal ivory tower. It turned out, however, that archaeology intellectually was a rather underwhelming subject to study, and that I was more interested in people than in pottery fragments. So, I returned to history after my first year at the university, and delved into the Middle, and Early Modern Ages. Later, when I had to choose a second and a third subject, I opted for philosophy and Slavic studies. The latter was due to my love of the music of Russian composers, but I completely underestimated the necessary effort to learn Russian. Consequently, I began to focus on Russian history to make the effort worthwhile, and my professor in Goettingen drove me towards modern history. So I have ended up with something I would never have imagined when I left school. I studied at Goettingen University, Free University Berlin (1990-1996) and I did my postgraduate studies at Bielefeld University (1998-2004)


  • PhD University of Bielefeld, 2004

  • Post-doctoral dissertation (Habilitation) Humboldt University of Berlin, 2011


University of Essex

  • Research seminar convenor, Department of History, University of Essex (2016 - present)

  • Cluster leader 'War, memory, and life-stories', Department of History, University of Essex (2017 - present)

  • Module director HR100 'Making the Modern World', Department of History, University of Essex (2016 - present)

  • Liaison officer Essex Pathways, Department of History, University of Essex (2015 - present)

  • Director of research, Department of History, University of Essex (1/10/2016 - 31/12/2016)

  • Lieutenant director of employability, Department of History, University of Essex (1/2/2015 - 31/12/2015)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Russian and Soviet History in the late 19th and 20th Century

Open to supervise

History of Ukraine

Open to supervise

War, Violence, and Revolution in 19th and 20th Century Europe

Open to supervise

Current research

Discourses of Bio-Politics andWork Housesin Late Imperial Russia

The T* correspondence: War, home front, and everyday life in the city of A* during the Second World War:

Between 1940 and 1945 the German couple P* & E* T* led an almost daily correspondence with each other. Especially, the letters of the wife give a unique personal perspective on her private life during the war, but also on her social and cultural environment in the city of A*. The current idea of the research project is to take the letters as basis for a micro-history of life in a Catholic milieu in wartime NS-Germany. Newspapers from the time, but also archival material from the city archive in A* shall additionally used as source basis for the project. The plan is to write a book.

The perfect disciple: the war diary of the SS-officer H* S*, 1941

H* S* was a Second lieutenant of the 'Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler' (LSSAH). His diary from March to July 1941 gives insights into the self-fashioning of an SS-officer who tried to live up to the Waffen-SS myth. It is planned to write an article about the topic.

Sumy under German occupation, 1918: a Ukrainian border region in times of turmoils

Based on the memoirs of the regional head of administration of the Ukrainian Hetman government in Sumy, G*, the memoirs of the governor of Khar'kiv province, Z*, the regional newspaper of Sumy, and archival documents from regional and central Ukrainian archives the project aims to produce a micro-history of a border region in Ukraine under German occupation in 1918. It is planned to write a book.

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Resisting Empire (HR104)

  • Democracy in Europe and the United States, 1789-1989 (HR106)

  • Rebellious Pasts: Challenging and Creating Histories (HR173)

  • The History of Ukraine (HR223)

  • History Works: Career Portfolio (HR510)

  • Research Project (HR831)

Previous supervision

Yang Yang
Yang Yang
Thesis title: Radicalism At the Margin: The New Emergence of Chinese Trotskyist Movement in Hong Kong, 1969-1981
Degree subject: History
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 1/11/2018


Journal articles (8)

Schnell, F., (2020). Justifying Murder: Performativity in the Letters of Sergeant Mathias Müller, Police Battalion 309, from 1941/42. German History. 38 (4), 616-637

Schnell, F., (2019). Holocaust Perpetrators of the German Police Battalions: The Mass Murder of Jewish Civilians, 1940–1942. German History. 37 (2), 270-272

Schnell, F., (2019). Curtis G. Murphy, Citizens into Subjects. City, State and the Enlightenment in Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press, 2018. 320pp. $28.95 pbk.. Urban History. 46 (04), 774-776

Schnell, F., (2018). Unequal Brother: Russians and Ukrainians from the Middle Ages to the Present. RUSSIAN REVIEW. 77 (3), 507-508

Schnell, F., (2015). Ukraina i Krym v 1918 – nachale 1919 goda. Ocherki politicheskoi istorii. Revolutionary Russia. 28 (2), 205-207

Schnell, F., (2015). Empire in Disguise: The Soviet-Russian Imperial Metamorphosis after World War I. Journal of Modern European History. 13 (2), 203-225

Schnell, F., (2014). Aufschrei gegen das Vergessen Margolins Vergleich von Gulag und NS-Lagern. Osteuropa. 2014 (11-12), 91-102

Schnell, F., (2014). Historische Hintergruende ukrainisch-russischer Konflikte. Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte. 64 (47-48), 10-17

Book chapters (2)

Schnell, F., (2016). Semantische Verarmung der Kommunikation. Die Leere des Gewaltraums.. In: Umkämpfte Räume Raumbilder, Ordnungswille und Gewaltmobilisierung. Editors: Jureit, U., . Wallstein Verlag. 29- 49. 3835319213. 9783835319219

Schnell, F., (2015). Von dörflicher Selbsthilfe zur paramilitärischen Miliz: Spontane Vergemeinschaftung durch Gewalt im Russischen Bürgerkrieg (1918). In: Gewaltmassen: Über die Eigendynamik und Selbstorganisation kollektiver Gewalt. Editors: Paul, A. and Schwaub, B., . Hamburger Edition. 312- 336. 978-3868542936

Other (1)

Schnell, F., (2014).Gewalt und Gewaltforschung,Docupedia-Zeitgeschichte

+44 (0) 1206 872226


5B.128, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Mondays 3.30-4.30, Thursdays 3.30-4.30