Dr Ben Lewis


Originally from South Wales, I am a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Leeds, where I am writing a book entitled Of Comradeship and Sisterhood: A Political History of ‘Die Gleichheit’ (1891–1917).

I specialise in German political thought between 1871–1945, with a particular interest in the disputed legacy of European social democracy. I have taught German grammar, language, translation, politics and history at the University of Sheffield, the University of Huddersfield, the Open University and – most recently – was Lecturer in German Language Education and Language Co-Ordinator at King’s College London, where I oversaw the delivery and assessment of the entire undergraduate language programme.

I studied German at Sheffield and Bonn. After graduating with a first-class honours degree from Sheffield, where I also won the German Embassy Book Prize for Best Overall Performance in German and the Kemsley German Prize for Proficiency in Spoken German, I worked for 6 years as a political organiser, journalist and translator. I then embarked on an MA at the same university, which I completed with distinction in 2015, winning the School SLC Postgraduate Taught Prize for Best Overall Performance in the School of Languages and Cultures and the SLC Postgraduate Dissertation Award for the Best MA Dissertation in the SLC. My thesis, which discussed the social and political thought of German social democracy’s lead theoretician, Karl Kautsky (1854–1938), was supported by a grant from the White Rose University Consortium and was published in 2019 by Brill as a 48-page introduction to my edited volume, Karl Kautsky on Democracy and Republicanism.

My PhD research, funded by the Wolfson Foundation and completed under the supervision of Prof Henk de Berg at the University of Sheffield, focused on the politics of the conservative historian and philosopher Oswald Spengler (1880–1936). It will be published by Berghahn Books as Oswald Spengler and the Politics of Decline in July 2022.

I am also a professional translator with over a decade of experience. I have translated numerous articles and books, such as Repressed, Remitted, Rejected: German Reparations Debts to Poland and Greece (Berghahn, 2021) and On the Road to Global Labour History. A Festschrift for Marcel van der Linden (Brill, 2017). I am the coordinator of the Patreon research project and podcast, Marxism Translated, which is dedicated to the translation and discussion of social-democratic texts from the period 1871–1945. I am also a member of the Prokhorov Centre in Sheffield, a research forum with an integrated focus on the intellectual and cultural histories of both Central and Eastern Europe.

In total, I have edited and translated four volumes of texts by European socialist thinkers: Karl Kautsky on Democracy and Republicanism (Brill, 2019);  Clara Zetkin: Letters and Writings (2015; with Mike Jones); Karl Kautsky on Colonialism (2013; with Mike Macnair); and Zinoviev and Martov: Head to Head in Halle(2011; with Lars T. Lih).

I have published various articles in top-flight academic journals, such as European Review, Critique and Historical Materialism, as well as book reviews and newspaper articles, on – inter alia – Rosa Luxemburg and Oswald Spengler. I have given papers at multiple international academic conferences (including Chicago, London and Paris) and have collaborated with scholars from around the globe on a variety of projects, the most recent of which is my work on the English edition of Rosa Luxemburg’s Gesammelte Werke (a collaboration between Verso Books in London and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in Berlin). I am also the founder of the Patreon-based research project and podcast Marxism Translated.

My research has found critical acclaim, with several of my academic articles and journalistic pieces having been translated into Dutch, Farsi, French, Greek, German, Spanish and Turkish.

For a complete list of articles, publications and translations, either see the relevant sections of my website or refer to my Academia Profile. You can also access my CV. For enquiries, please see my Contact Page.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Professional memberships

  • Prokhorov Centre for the Study of Central and Eastern European Intellectual and Cultural History