About Seán


I am Senior Lecturer in German and European Cultural History in the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sheffield, UK. My first book is concerned with print culture around 1800. I’m currently writing a cultural and media history of the hairdresser since the eighteenth century. Alongside that project I work on themes related to early consumer culture, everyday life and luxury, and wellness — also from the eighteenth century onwards. I’ve guest edited academic journals and published research articles in English and German. Before coming to Sheffield I taught German and Comparative Literature at the University of Bern in Switzerland. I did my doctorate at Oxford and have held research positions at the University of California at Berkeley in the US and the Hegel-Archiv of the University of Bochum, Germany.


Beyond academia, I am a contributor to international radio, cultural magazines, weekend newspapers, and television. I’ve presented discussion shows and my own documentaries on BBC Radio 3 and written for The Guardian, The Observer, The Telegraph, The Economist’s 1843 Magazine, The Statesman, BBC History Magazine, History Today, the Public Domain Review and Neue Zürcher Zeitung, among others. I enjoy reviewing exhibitions, interviewing leading figures, going on quirky trips and giving public talks at festivals and the Proms — all from the perspective of cultural history. 

Seán Williams
Historian, Broadcaster, Travel & Culture Writer


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