Peter Mann

Peter Mann


B.A., History, Wesleyan University, 2003
M.A., History, Stanford University, 2007
Ph.D., History and Humanities, Stanford University, 2012


Peter is a historian of modern Europe with a focus on nineteenth- and twentieth-century thought and literature. He earned a joint Ph.D. from Stanford in History and Humanities in 2012 and has been lucky enough to teach in SLE ever since.

As an intellectual historian, Peter is interested in how art and ideas emerge in specific places and times and how they have shaped our world. He is equally interested in the writers, artists, thinkers who devote themselves to interpreting life through stories, pictures, and ideas. He has written articles about the German writer Thomas Mann, the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, the legacy of Don Quixote, the concept of ‘decadence,’ and the politics of European identity in Germany and Spain. The book manuscript based on his dissertation — The Politics of Self, Nation, Europe: Thomas Mann, José Ortega y Gasset, and the Interwar Crisis of Liberal Identity— compares how these two public intellectuals attempted to refashion the liberal humanist identity of Europe amid the ideological polarization of the early twentieth century.

When he takes off his scholar’s cap and monocle, Peter likes writing at the intersection where history meets fiction, disturbing meets funny, and the grotesque meets the sublime. He is also a graphic artist who enjoys drawing on the pages of old books, making comics, and carving images into wood. He shows his art from time to time at galleries in San Francisco and has a weekly comic strip on called TheQuixote Syndrome. It features errant sallies in history, literature, and thought – many of them inspired by books from the SLE syllabus..