Dr. Eleonor Marcussen


Alumna (Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien)


Max-Weber-Kolleg (Steinplatz 2) / Raum 513 (4. OG)

+49 361 737-2809


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Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Nordhäuser Str. 63
99089 Erfurt


Universität Erfurt
Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Postfach 90 02 21
99105 Erfurt

Dr. Eleonor Marcussen

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Curriculum Vitae

Eleonor Marcussen has a PhD in South Asian History from the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University. Her dissertation was about civil society participation and governance of disaster aid in South Asia in the first half of the twentieth century.

Last year she joined as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Cultural Sciences at Linnaeus University (Sweden), where she will continue her research on the socio-environmental impacts of infrastructural expansion in central India in the 1860s (2020-2022). Previously she was a junior fellow in the School of Environment and Ecology Studies at Nalanda University in New Delhi/Rajgir (2013), and at Heidelberg University she was a member of the research group ‘Cultures of Disaster’ (Cluster of Excellence, Asia and Europe in a Global Perspective, 2009-2012). More recently, she taught world history as a faculty in the Department of Philosophy and History at North South University, Dhaka (2017-2018). In 2019, she co-curated an exhibition on Scandinavian connections to colonial India in the 1860s through a collection of a British-Scandinavian railway contractor’s papers.

She also has an interest in digital humanities: as a PhD student she created online research guides for the League of Nations Archives at UNOG while an intern at the archives in Geneva (2012), more recently she participated in the Oxford University Summer School in Digital Humanities (2019) and is currently involved in the digitization of an archival collection at Linnaeus University Library (Sweden).

Her research interests include humanitarianism, historical disasters, governance and infrastructure.

  • September 2020 – August 2022, 2-year postdoctoral fellowship, The Crafoord Foundation
  • September 2019 – August 2020, MWK COFUND Fellow, Max-Weber-Kolleg, University of Erfurt.
  • June 2019 – 15 July 2019, Lecturer in history (substitute/contractual), Department of Cultural Sciences, Linnaeus University
  • June 2018 – May 2019, Postdoctoral fellow in Colonial History, Linnaeus University
  • May – June 2018 Guest researcher, LNUC Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Linnaeus University
  • April 2017 – April 2018 Assistant Professor in History; January 2017 – April 2017 Lecturer in History, North South University, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • July 2013 – January 2014, Junior fellow. School of Ecology and Environment Studies, Nalanda University, New Delhi/Rajgir, India.


Faith and Ideological Encounters in Pacifism: Pierre Ceresole and the Development of Transnational Peace Activism, 1909-1945

The present research project explores the role of religion and ideology in the thought and work of Pierre Ceresole (17/08/1879 - 23/10/1945) and the pacifist relief organisation Service Civil International (SCI) in the period 1909-1945. In the aftermath of World War I, Ceresole founded the SCI in response to the material destruction and human divisions created along national borders and political ideologies. His ideas about pacifism seems to initially have developed based on spiritual experiences, readings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), William James (1842-1910) and Christian ethics, to later in the 1920s draw upon colonial resistance movements and conceptualizations of violence from the perspective of the colonized.

From the point of view of transnational history and social theory of action, the research is a contribution to our understanding of religious experience and the conceptualizations of violence and decolonization in the development of pacifism during the first half of the twentieth century. In doing so, the present research projects aims to further our understanding of spiritual, ideological and radical thoughts in pacifist ideas and activism in the first half of the century.


  • “A chest in the attic.” (“En låda på vinden”) Exhibition texts co-written with Gunnel Cederlöf. A historical exhibition about research in Joseph Stephens Archives, Linnaeus University Library, on display at Huseby Estate, Grimslöv, Sweden 11/05/2019 – winter 2019: lnu.se/mot-linneuniversitetet/aktuellt/kalender/2019/utstallning---ladan-pa-vinden/ www.husebybruk.se/en-lada-pa-vinden/
  • Cooperation and Pacifism in a Colonial Context: Service Civil International and Work Camps in Bihar, 1934-1937, pp. 83-101 in: R. Klöber and M. Ludwig (eds.): HerStory. Historical Scholarship between South Asia and Europe: Festschrift in Honour of Gita Dharampal-Frick, Heidelberg; Berlin: CrossAsia-eBooks, 2018.
  • Town Planning after the 1934 Bihar-Nepal Earthquake: Earthquake-Safety, Colonial Improvements and the Restructuring of Urban Space in Bihar. Studies in Nepal History and Society 22(2), Kathmandu: Mandala Book point, 2017: 22(2): 321–354.
  • Explaining the 1934 Bihar-Nepal Earthquake: The Role of Science, Astrology, and “Rumours”, pp. 241-266 in G. J. Schenk (ed.): Historical Disaster Experiences: Towards a Comparative and Transcultural History of Disasters Across Asia and Europe, Transcultural Research – Heidelberg Studies on Asia and Europe in a Global Context. Heidelberg (Springer), 2017.