In the media:

Gesa Coordes, Vegetarier im Unabhängigkeitskampf, in: DUZ. Magazin für Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft, no. 3/2022, 18 March 2022, p. 34–6

Julia Hauser is a non-salaried senior lecturer (Privatdozentin) in Modern History at the University of Kassel, Germany. In February 2022, she obtained the Habilitation, an advanced teaching licence making candidates eligible for permanent professoral positions, in Modern History. After obtaining her PhD from the University of Göttingen summa cum laude in 20212, she worked as an assistant professor of global history at the University of Kassel from 2014 to 2021. In her research and teaching, she looks at Germany’s entanglements with other parts of the world, most notably the Ottoman Empire and India, from the “long” 19th century to the middle of the twentieth century.

In her first book, published in 2015 by Brill, she examines the activities of the Kaiserswerth Deaconesses, a German Protestant female order, in Beirut from 1860 to 1918. Her study is set in a period in which the German Empire sought to gain influence in the Ottoman Empire. At the same time, the Ottoman Empire pushed through important reforms while local protagonists in its Arab provinces initiated related modernization efforts. Julia Hauser shows how the deaconesses’ mission opened up a broader scope of agency to German women while also sowing seeds for conflict between these women and their Arab students. At the same time, she underlines how the concept of a civilizing mission embraced by the deaconesses was counteracted by continuous processes of negotiation with local protagonists.

In her second monograph, published by Columbia University Press in December 2023, Julia Hauser analyzes debates on vegetarianism between Germany, Britain, India, and the United States from the middle of the 19th century into the early Cold War. She shows how vegetarianism in Britain, Germany, and the US was informed by knowledge partly borrowed from India while European knowledge on vegetarianism influenced discourses in India. Although vegetarianism remained embedded in different contexts, notions of purity were central on both sides. By rejecting animal food, or so vegetarians both in Europe and in India argued, humans could suppress what they referred to as the “animal within”, an idea often tied to a hope for moral, at times even biological evolution of the individual or humankind as such. In Europe and the United States, vegetarianism appeared as a panacea addressing the challenges of modernity and industrialization. Parts of the movement overlapped with new religious movements and to some extent with eugenics and racial theory. In India, vegetarianism, long a means of social distinction within Hinduism, acquired new meanings as resistance against colonialism increased, with some considering it the moral basis of the emerging nation. In this context, it did not only inspire Gandhi’s concept of non-violence but also movements approving of the use of violence against the supposed enemies of the nation – those allegedly not embracing vegetarianism.

Apart from her peer-reviewed monographs, two peer-reviewed edited volumes, and one journal issue co-edited by her, Julia Hauser published peer-reviewed articles in the Beihefte zur Historischen Zeitschrift, the Journal of World History and South Asia. Journal of South Asian Studies. Further articles by her appeared in WerkstattGeschichte and various edited volumes. Moreover, she wrote blog posts, inter alia for the Swiss history blog Geschichte der Gegenwart.

Julia Hauser was a fellow at Rice University, Houston/Texas, USA, Orient Institut Beirut (OIB), Lebanon, and the International Center of Advanced Studies: Metamorphoses of the Political (ICAS:MP) in Delhi. Her work which has taken her, inter alia, to archives and libraries in Germany, Lebanon, India, Britain, France, and the United States, has been supported by grants by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation), the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Max Weber Foundation and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Fields of Expertise

German history (19th and 20th century)

Entangled history of Germany and the Ottoman Empire during the „long“ nineteenth century

Entangled history of Germany and South Asia (c. 1850–1950)

History of gender and the body

History of colonialism and decolonization

Key Publications

With Sarnath Banerjee, The Moral Contagion. Delhi: Harper Collins India, 2024.

A Taste for Purity. An Entangled History of Vegetarianism. New York: Columbia University Press, 2023.

German Religious Women in Late Ottoman Beirut. Competing Missions. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2015.

“Internationalism and Nationalism. Indian actors at the Fifteenth World Vegetarian Congress (1957)”. South Asia. Journal for South Asian Studies (44/1, 2021, pp. 152–166).

With Bilal Orfali and Kirill Dmitriev, eds., Insatiable Appetite: Food as a Cultural Signifier. Perspectives on the Middle East and Beyond. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2020.

With Christine Lindner and Esther Möller, eds., Entangled Education. Foreign and Local Schools in Ottoman Syria and Mandate Lebanon (19th—20th Centuries), Beiruter Texte und Studien; 137 (Würzburg: Ergon, 2016).