Dr Ben Lewis


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

He specialises in German political thought between 1871 and 1945, with a particular interest in the disputed legacy of European social democracy. He has 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 he oversaw the delivery and assessment of the entire undergraduate language programme.

Dr Lewis studied German at Sheffield and Bonn. After graduating with a first-class honours degree from Sheffield, where he also won the German Embassy Book Prize for Best Overall Performance in German and the Kemsley German Prize for Proficiency in Spoken German, he worked for 6 years as a political organiser, journalist and translator. He then embarked on an MA at the same university, which he 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. His 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 his edited volume, Karl Kautsky on Democracy and Republicanism.

His 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.

Dr Lewis is also a professional translator with over a decade of experience. He has 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). He is 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. He is 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, he has 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).

He has 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. He has given papers at multiple international academic conferences (including Chicago, London and Paris) and has collaborated with scholars from around the globe on a variety of projects, the most recent of which is his 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).

His research has found critical acclaim, with several of his 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 this website or refer to his Academia Profile. His CV can be accessed here. For enquiries, please see the Contact Page. His Wikipedia page can be accessed here.