Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Staff Profile

Professor Jens R Hentschke

Professor of Latin American History and Politics, Dr. phil. (History), Habilitation (German Higher Doctorate; Political Science), FRHistS - Deputy Head of School, Director for Postgraduate Research



Dpl., Dr. phil., Habilitation, FRHistS

Jens R Hentschke was born in Germany but has lived in the United Kingdom for almost 25 years. He holds both German and UK citizenship.

He has repeatedly attracted long-term funding for his research and worked, for longer periods, at universities and in archives and libraries in Latin America, the U.S., and Eastern and Western Europe.

From 1996 to 2004, he was an External Senior Lecturer (Privatdozent) in Political Science at Heidelberg University where he obtained his Habilitation.

Roles and Responsibilities

1. Member of University Senate

2. Deputy Head of School 

3. Director for Postgraduate Research

4. Degree Programme Director for Single Honours Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies (RT47)

5. Performance Development Reviewer (PDR)


1. Diploma (eq.5-year MA degree) in LA Studies/History ('Distinction')
2. Dr. phil. in Latin American History ('summa cum laude')
3. Habilitation (eq. Livre-Docência/Doctorat d'Etat) in Pol. Science


1. Latin American Studies Association, U.S.A.

2. Asociación de Historiadores Latinoamericanistas Europeos

3. Society for Latin American Studies, U.K. (Vice-President 2013-15, President 2015-17, Past President and Chair of the Standing Conference of Centres of Latin American Studies in the UK 2017-19)

4. American Historical Association, U.S.A.

5. Conference on Latin American History, U.S.A.

6. Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutsche Lateinamerika-Forschung, Germany

7. Deutscher Hochschulverband, Germany

Within the university/region:
-Member of the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, previously of the 'Americas Research Group'.

Honours and Awards

Election to a Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society in 1998


German (native language), English, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Basic reading skills in Russian (once high-level proficiency) and French (3rd language in school).


Research Interests

1. History and Politics of Latin America, especially Brazil and Southern Cone, from the late 18th to the 20th cc.

2. History of Ideas in Latin America and beyond, especially the impact of liberalism, positivism, Krausism, and (neo-) populism on state and nation-building.

3. History of Education in Latin America/social policy analysis

Apart from the books and articles listed on this webpage, Professor Hentschke has published more than 30 book reviews, several printed conference reports, some longer interviews with Brazilian broadsheet papers (in part reprinted on the internet), many journalistic articles, and research reports for DFG and AHRB/C.

Current Work

In late 2016, Jens R Hentschke published a big monograph on the normative ideas, especially liberalism, positivism, and Krausism, that shaped the transformation of Uruguay into the hemisphere's first welfare state democracy. Education was a key in the (re-) construction of the nation which began with the 'Reforma Vareliana' in the 1870s. By placing Uruguay into the broader context of what scholars have called South America's 'Corridor of Ideas' from Santiago de Chile through Buenos Aires and Montevideo to Porto Alegre, Hentschke shows how the country acted as a crossroads of intellectuals and a laboratory for the contestation, assimilation, and merger of global and autochthonous political and pedagogical philosophies (see review by Ana Frega in Hispanic American Historical Review, 99:1 (2019), 170-172: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-7288248). After publishing a study on Spanish regeneracionista, Pan-Hispanista, and Krauso-Positivist Adolfo González Posada and his influence in the River Plate region, Hentschke is currently working on an article that explores the interactions between Uruguay's Reforma Vareliana and the coinciding Belgian education reform and Kulturkampf ('first guerre scolaire).

Future Research

Professor Hentschke's 2006 monograph 'Reconstructing the Brazilian Nation: Public Schooling in the Vargas Era' combines macro- and micro-history and explores how regional politics, especially Rio Grande do Sul's, influenced Brazil's social transformation after 1930. This study offered a solid basis for an extension of Hentschke's research into the thriving area of borderland studies. From 2008, starting with the monograph on Uruguay, he has taken the exploration of state- and nation-building further and focused on other supra- and sub-national frontier regions of Latin America. After completing the spin-offs from the last monograph, Hentschke would like to research the ideas that guided Rafael Nunez's Regeneración in Colombia and then possibly develop a comparative project that asks how frontiers acted as laboratories of competing ideas about economic modernisation, state formation, and nation-building; in what way military and civilian institutions assimilated and contested them, thereby producing alternative generations of leaders; and under what conditions frontier modernization gained national relevance.

Research Roles

1. Member of the University's 'Latin America Group'

2. Deputy Chair of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Postgraduate Research Committee

3. Member of the Newcastle Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies bursary selection committee

4. Member of the School Research Committee

5. Field of Studies Leader for History, Politics, and Society

6. Chair of Postgraduate Progress Review Panels

7. Research Mentor

8. Personal Research Plan Reviewer

9. Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American Studies REF Internal Quality Reviewer

Postgraduate Supervision

Co-supervisor of Steven Robinson, Ph.D in Politics ("The Europeanisation of Portuguese Foreign Policy") and Selina Patel, PhD in HIstory ("Kept Indoors? Gender, Honour, and Concubines in Bahia, Brazil, 1750-1831")

Jens R Hentschke is willing to supervise Masters and Ph.D. theses in HISTORY: late 18th to late 20th cc. political, social, and intellectual history of Latin America, especially Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile, with foci on state formation and reconstruction, nation-building, regional politics, education reform, positivism(s), Krausism, and populism.

A good reading knowledge of Portuguese and Spanish is essential but can be acquired while at university.

Esteem Indicators

Professor Hentschke served on the Executive Committee of the British Society for Latin American Studies for 13 years, including as Vice-President (2013-15), President (2015-17) and Past President (2017-19), and as Chair of the Standing Conference of Centres of Latin American Studies in the UK (2017-19). He has been appointed to the international Scientific Advisory Board of the Ibero-American Institute Prussian Cultural Heritage in Berlin (2015-21), Europe's largest research centre in the field, and acts as External Examiner of the Masters by Research programme in Latin American Studies at the Institute for Latin American Studies in London (2018-22). He was an Associate Fellow of the Institute of the Americas at UCL (2012-18), He also belonged, for a constitutional maximum of six years, to the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Peer Review College, and served on several of its panels and as a Strategic Reviewer. He is also a member of the International Review Board of the Chilean National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) and the international panel of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which reviewed the German government's 50 million Euro programme to strengthen Area Studies (2009-15). He has acted as a peer reviewer for the British Academy, Economic and Social Research Council, The Leverhulme Trust, and the National University of Ireland Studentship Board; was an assessor of professorial candidates; and has been a reader of manuscripts for various publishers and journals in Europe and the Americas. Professor Hentschke is a member of the Editorial Council of the History programme of Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul Press and the journals Estudos Ibero-Americanos at PUCRS and Anos 90 at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, the International Editorial Council of Múltipla at UPIS in Brasília, the Scientific Committee of @rquivo Brasileiro de Educação at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais, and the Advisory Council of Locus: Revista de Historia at the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, all in Brazil, and he also serves on the Editorial Committee of Páginas de Educación at the Universidad Católica del Uruguay. In addition, he forms part of the international research network 'Intellectual History and History of Concepts: Theoretical-Methodological Connections', coordinated by PUCRS. He has been invited to present papers at international conferences, expert symposia, and round tables in Brazil, Germany, and the U.S. and has been repeatedly interviewed on historical and political events in Latin America by leading Brazilian broadsheet papers, BBC History, Deutsche Welle, and Reuters. His publications are recommended for further reading in encyclopedia (Lexikon der Politik, Beck, Germany/Diccionario de Ciencia Política, Porruas Mexico), constitute required course literature at European and North American universities, and some have been translated into Portuguese and Spanish. Following an invitation by the Styrian Pedagogical Faculty and Association of Historians, he also conducted a two-day seminar for secondary school (head) teachers in Graz, Austria. 


(only listing of large and research-related grants)
1. Volkswagen Foundation Area Studies Fellowship for research at St Antony's College, Oxford, 1993-5, all incl. ca. £ 30,000

2. Research Grant of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Bonn, for field work in Germany, Britain, Brazil, and the U.S., 1996-8, ca. DM 100,000

3. Arts and Humanities Research Board Leave Award, 2001, cov. 4 months of annual salary                                

4. Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellowship, 2011-12, cov. 9 months of annual salary


Undergraduate Teaching

LAS1010 Introduction to Latin America (block on the long-term impact of WWI and the Great Depression on Latin American economies, societies, and polities)

SPA1019 Introduction to the History, Culture, and Society of the Iberian Peninsula (Comparative History and Politics of Spain and Portugal in first semester)

LAS2030 Comparative History of Hispano-America and Brazil from Independence to the Mexican Revolution, 1789/1810-1917

LAS4001 Inter-American Relations since the Spanish-American War (1898)

SML4099 Dissertation in Spanish/Portuguese/Latin American Studies (History and Politics topics)

Postgraduate Teaching

Dr Hentschke teaches on the MA course in 'Latin American Interdisciplinary Studies' (MALAIS, under reconstruction):

LAS8003 'Intellectual and Political Thought in Brazil (and Spanish America) since Independence', currently merged with LAS8005 'Thinking Latin America'

LAS8005 'Research Methods in LA Interdisciplinary Studies' (Historical Method)

LAS8104 Dissertation 

LAS8105 'Themed Reading' 

GEO8202 'Country Cases' 

SOC8100 'The Shaping of Latin America 1': Humanities 

and made various contributions to other courses, especially SOC8101 The Shaping of Latin America I: Social and Political Themes', on the MALAIS degree.

In the past he taught seven cohorts of MA students at Heidelberg University as well as on Newcastle's MA in 'The Americas'. He also supervised a Portuguese Level E translation project on the MA in ML.