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Dr. Peter Polak-Springer


Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Polenstudien
Associated Member

Peter Polak-Springer received his PhD in Modern History at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. His research was funded by the Fulbright Hayes, Social Science Research Council, and the Berlin Program (Freie Universität Berlin). He was a Robert Bosch Tutor Fellow at Europa Universität Viadrina. After holding a one-year postdoc from the American Council of Learned Societies and Mellon Foundation, he was a full time faculty member at Qatar University for a number of years. He has taught courses in English and Arabic, and on topics that include modern European, 20th century European and world history, and on Europe and the Middle East, as well as the history of the Arabian Gulf, 16th c. to present. 

He is an interdisciplinary and comparative historian, whose work focuses on transnationalism and cultural politics in borderlands and contested spaces in Europe and the Middle East during the 20th century. Among his published research is a monograph on nationalization politics and identity in the German-Polish contested borderland of Upper Silesia, 1918-1967, as well as articles and chapters on topics, such as oil politics, borders, and contested spaces in the Gulf, and religiosity and nationalism in interwar Palestine and Poland. Other topics he has published on include Palestinian press encounters with anti-Semitism in 1930s Europe, Syrian refugees in Germany, as well as historical culture and memory in the Gulf.


Recovered Territory: A German-Polish Conflict Over Land and Culture, 1919-1989, (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2015, BBK 2018). 300 pages.

“Bordering Zubara: Oil politics, the 1937 Qatari-Bahraini Conflict, and the Making of a Modern Arabian (Persian) Gulf Borderland.” Journal of Borderlands Studies, (online publication Dec. 2020) Open access:

“Gain Weight, Have Fun, Discover the Fatherland: The German-Polish Summer Youth Exchange Program for Borderland Children and Interwar Irredentist Politics.” Contemporary European History 30:22 (May 2021). Open access:

“Religiosity, Nationalism, and Politics in Palestine and Poland: Islamic and Catholic Pilgrimages and Contested Spaces during the Interwar Era,” Nationalities Papers 48:3 (May 2020): 603-619.

“‘Jihad against the Jews:’ Anti-Semitism in Interwar Eastern Europe in the Eyes of the Arab Press of Mandatory Palestine.” Forthcoming in a special “Eastern Europe and Middle East” edition of the Herder Institute in Marburg Series, Sources and Studies on the History of Eastern Europe. Stuttgart: Steiner Verlag.