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


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

Jens R Hentschke was born in Germany but has lived in the United Kingdom (Oxford, Southampton, and Newcastle) for almost 30 years. He holds both German and UK citizenship. Jens Hentschke has repeatedly attracted long-term funding for his research (Volkswagen Foundation, German Research Foundation, AHRC) and worked, for longer periods, 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, and he was also a junior exchange scholar at Brown University in Providence, Volkswagen Area Studies Visiting Fellow at St Antony's College Oxford, Visiting Professor at PUCRS in Porto Alegre, and Fellow of the Ibero-American Institute in Berlin.

Honours and Awards

Election to a Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society in 1998

Roles and Responsibilities

1. Member of University Senate

2. Deputy Head of School 

3. Director for Postgraduate Research

4. Performance Development Reviewer (PDR)

Membership in Subject Association and Centres

1. United Kingdom Latin American Historians Network UKLAH

2. Newcastle-Durham Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies (CNCS), U.K.

3. Conference on Latin American History (CLAH), U.S.

4. Latin American Studies Association (LASA)

5. American Historical Association (AHA), U.S.

6. Society for Latin American Studies, U.K.

7. Asociación de Historiadores Latinoamericanistas Europeos (AHILA)

8. Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutsche Lateinamerika-Forschung (ADLAF), Germany, 1991-2023


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

Recent Research

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). He then focused on two spin-offs from this monograph: first, a study on Spanish regeneracionista, Pan-Hispanista, and Krauso-Positivist Adolfo González Posada and his influence in the River Plate region; and, secondly, on the interactions between Uruguay's Reforma Vareliana and the coinciding Belgian education reform and Kulturkampf ('first guerre scolaire).

Current Research

Jens R Hentschke has just started a new monograph project, provisionally titled 'Liberty, Order, and Progress: The Transition from the 1863 Rionegro System to Rafael Nuñez's 1880s Regeneration Revisited'. This polity change is usually represented as a radical rupture, moving Colombia from ultra-federalism to rigid centralism, democracy to autocracy, governments that respected religious tolerance or wished to secularize society to an ultramontane and neo-Thomist regime. Yet, this project wishes to challenge this notion and highlight continuities in change. This would require exploring the political philosophies of the protagonists of this process, and the focus will be on education. In this context, the German Pedagogical Mission (1872-78), which is still under-researched, deserves special attention.

Research Roles in the School

1. Member of the School Research Committee

2. Chair of Postgraduate Progress Review Panels

3. Research Mentor

4. Personal Research Plan Reviewer

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

Postgraduate Supervision

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); as Chair of the Standing Conference of Centres of Latin American Studies in the UK (2017-19); and as member of the international Scientific Advisory Board of the Ibero-American Institute Prussian Cultural Heritage in Berlin (2015-22). He was External Examiner of the Masters by Research programme at the Institute for Latin American Studies in London (2018-22), an Associate Fellow of the Institute of the Americas at UCL (2012-18), and an external reviewer of PhD vivas and confirmations of status at British and foreign universities (UCL, Kings College, St Andrews, Oxford, PUCRS). Prof. Hentschke 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 Strategic Reviewer. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research invited him to be part of a panel that reviewed the German government's 50 million Euro programme to strengthen Area Studies (2009-15). He has also acted as a peer reviewer for the British Academy, Economic and Social Research Council, The Leverhulme Trust, the National University of Ireland Studentship Board, and the international Review Board of the Chilean National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT); an assessor of professorial candidates; and a reader of manuscripts for many publishers and journals in Europe and the Americas. Professor Hentschke was part of the Editorial Council of the History programme of Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul Press, and continues to be on the editorial councils of 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, the Advisory Council of Locus: Revista de Historia at the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, and the Editorial Committee of Páginas de Educación at the Universidad Católica del Uruguay. 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


Current Undergraduate Teaching

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

Previous Reaching Experience

Newcastle PG: MA in Latin American Interdisciplinary Studies (2010-16)

  • (team-taught) The Shaping of Latin America I: Social and Political Themes
  • (team-taught) The Shaping of Latin America II: Arts and Humanities
  • (team-taught) Thinking Latin America
  • (team-taught) Research Methods
  • (tutorial-based) Country Studies
  • (tutorial-based) Themed Reading
  • (solely taught) Intellectual and Political Thought in Brazil Since Independence
  • Dissertation


  • (team-taught) Transition to Industrial Society
  • (team-taught) Introduction to Latin America (Stage 1)
  • From Franco and Salazar to Liberal Democracy: Spain and Portugal in Comparison (Stage 2)
  • Extended Study in Cultures of the Lusophone World (Stage 4)
  • (team-taught) Introduction to the Hispanic World (Stage 1)
  • (contribution to team-taught) Modern Japan (Stage 2)

Heidelberg: Upper-Level MA Students in Political Science (all solely taught)

  • US Foreign Policy Towards Latin America in the Twentieth Century
  • Political Thought in Latin America Since Independence: Internal Roots and External Influences
  • State Corporatism and Re-Democratisation: Spain, Portugal, and Latin America in Comparison
  • US World Policy and Inter-American Relations: Legacies and New Challenges After the End of the Cold War
  • Populism and Neo-Populism: Europe, the US, and Latin America in Comparison
  • The Great Depression and the Long-Term Transformation of Political Systems: Canada, the U.S., and Latin America in Comparison
  • State- and Nation-Building in the Americas: Normative Ideas, Processes, and Impact in Comparative Perspective

Germany UG:

  • (team-taught) National and Social Movements in Asia, Africa, and Latin America
  • (team-taught) Colonial and National History of Latin America
  • (solely taught) National History and Political System of the United States of America
  • (solely taught) National History of Brazil from Cabral to Collor de Mello