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Dr Todd Weir

BA (Brown), MA (Humboldt) MPhil, PhD (Columbia)

Senior Lecturer in Modern European History
On Leave Semester 1 2015-16

Internationalisation Champion

Tel: +44 (0) 28 9097 3312

Office: 17UQ.102

Todd Weir had been an undergraduate student of the developing world until a semester spent in Rostock turned his interest towards Germany and the history of socialism. He then retrained as a historian, first at the Humboldt University in Berlin and then at Columbia University in New York, where he completed his PhD in 2005.  Dr Weir taught at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Seattle University and the University of Washington before joining Queen's University in January 2007. 

Research Interests

Dr Weir’s research focuses on the relationships between religion and dissent, popular science and radical politics both in Germany and internationally.  He has written a monograph on organized secularism in nineteenth-century Germany and headed up an international collaborative investigation into naturalistic monism as a key modern worldview.  Currently, Dr Weir is writing a book on the relationship of secularism and socialism in the early twentieth century that will conclude with an examination of the role of religious-secular struggles in the latent civil war of the late Weimar Republic.  His next project will be a conceptual history of the word Weltanschauung/worldview from 1790 to the present that will follow the term from its popularization in mid-nineteenth-century Germany to its twentieth-century mobilizations in Soviet Union and the USA.  Dr Weir has also published on East German collectivization in the 1950s and the relationship of German socialism to colonialism prior to the First World War.  

Dr Weir has been a resident scholar at the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, the Simpson Center for the Humanities of the University of Washington and, most recently, the Historisches Kolleg in Munich.  His research has also been supported by grants from the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the German Academic Exchange Service.

Dr Weir hosts a podcast show on New Books in Intellectual History. He is currently heading up an international research network on “Religion and Socialism in the Twentieth Century,” which will foster collective reflection on the articulation and transformation of socialist-religious conflicts in the history of ideas, politics, religion and social movements.

Select Publications


Articles and chapters:

  • “The Christian Front against Godlessness: Anti-secularism and the Demise of the Weimar Republic” Past and Present, (forthcoming October 2015)
  • ‘Germany and the New Global History of Secularism: Questioning the Postcolonial Genealogy’ Germanic Review (2015) Click here to view the article
  • ‘A European Culture War in the Twentieth Century? Anticatholicism and Antibolshevism between Moscow, Berlin, and the Vatican 1922 to 1933’ in Journal of Religious History(forthcoming 2015).
  • Article: “Freidenker,” in: Handbuch Religionsgeschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts im deutschsprachigen Raum, eds. Lucian Hölscher and Volkhard Krech. (forthcoming)
  • Commentary: “Political Loyalty in the Soviet Bloc,” in: Semantics and Practices of Loyalty, eds. Martin Schulze Wessel and Jana Osterkamp (Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, forthcoming)
  • ‘The Specter of “Godless Jewry”: Secularism and the “Jewish Question” in Late Nineteenth Century Germany’ in Central European History 46: 4(2013) Click here to view article in online Cambridge Journals.
  • "The Riddles of Monism: An Introductory Essay," in: Monism: Scence, Philosophy, Religion, and the History of a Worldview, ed, Todd Weir (New York, 2012), 1-44.  Click here to viewbook description
  • "Between Colonial Violence and Socialist Worldview: The Conversions of Ernst Däumig" in German History 28 (2010): 143-166. Click here to view article in online Oxford Journals
  • "The Secular Beyond: Free Religious Dissent and Debates over the Afterlife in Nineteenth-Century Germany" in Church History (2008)  Click here to view article in online Cambridge Journals.
  • '"Keine Lücke mehr im Menschen, worin das Jenseits sich einnisten könnte": Naturwissenschaft und Dissidenz in der frühen freireligiösen Bewegung' in Lucian Hölscher (ed.), Das Jenseits. Facetten eines religiösen Begriffs in der Neuzeit (Göttingen, 2007).
  • 'Towards a history and sociology of atheist religious community: the Berlin Free Religious Congregation 1845–1921' in Lucian Hölscher and Michael Geyer (eds), Die Gegenwart Gottes in der Modernen Gesellschaft(Göttingen, 2006).
  • '"Von Schwindel Befallen’ – Enthusiasmus, Inszenierung und Chaos im stalinistischen Aufbau am Beispiel der Kollektivierung der DDR-Landwirtschaft 1952–3' in Arpad von Klimo and Malte Rolf (eds) Rausch und Diktatur (Frankfurt, 2006).
  • 'The secularization of religious dissent: anticlerical politics and the Freigeistige Movement in Germany 1844–1933' in Manuel Franzmann, Christel Gärtner and Nicole Köck (eds), Religiosität in der säkularisierten Welt (Wiesbaden, 2006).
  • 'Der Rausch im Plan: Ursachen und Folgen der Inszenierung von "Klassenkampf" in der Kollektivierung der DDR-Landwirtschaft 1952–1953' in Deutschland Archiv, ii (2004).

Conferences Convened 

Entry on PURE research portal


Dr Todd Weir is happy to direct postgraduate dissertations on topics in the history of religious conflict, secularism, popular science and scientific worldviews, modern German political and cultural movements, East Germany, as well as on aspects of the social movements of the 1960s. 

Dr Weir contributes to the one-year Master’s degree in Modern History and co-founded the strand “Religion, Identity and Conflict.” Interested students can write Dr Weir directly.

He teaches on the following undergraduate modules:




Religion, Secularization and Conflict in Modern Europe

(E) HIS2060

 Twentieth Century German History


 Socialism, the history of the idea


 The Transnational History of the1960s: From Civil Rights to Cultural Revolution


Europe Between the Wars