Dr. Andrew S. Tompkins

Environmental and Social Historian of Modern Europe


I am a historian of contemporary Europe with a focus on Germany, France, and Poland.

Writer and Translator

I am the author of numerous publications and translate between German, French, and English.


I have taken thousands of photographs related to my research (borders, protest movements, European history), travels, and life in Berlin and beyond.

Intellectual project

European borders as
“Fluid Boundaries”

In some sense, borders have made “Europe.” Perhaps nowhere is this more true than along Germany’s borders with France and Poland. The Rhine and Oder-Neisse river systems have functioned as markers of the post-1945 settlement, spaces of integration, and sources of shared problems. My research aims to examine how citizens along these borders related to one another in everyday life.

Current research project

Working the Border

Even when East Germany closed its border to Poland in the 1980s, it continued to rely on hundreds of (mostly female) commuter laborers from Poland crossing regularly to work in factories in border towns like Görlitz. This project explores how both workers and police navigated this restrictive border regime in the final decade of the Cold War.

Previous research

Better active than radioactive!

My previous project examined cross-border protest against nuclear energy in France and West Germany during the 1970s. It was published in book form with Oxford University Press in 2016.



For a selection of my photos, use the menu above or click one of the images below.

Recent activities

See below for information about some of my most recent publications, presentations, and teaching.

Caught in the Net: Fish, Ships, and Oil in the GDR-Poland Territorial Waters Dispute, 1949–1989

Published in Central European History, Special Issue ‘Everyday Transnationalism, Global Entanglements and Regimes of Mobility at the Edges of East Germany’ (2023). doi:10.1017/S0008938922001029. Abstract: The 1945 Potsdam Agreement established a[…]

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