The president of Freie Universität Berlin, Prof. Dr. Peter-André Alt, congratulated Professor Kocka. He described Kocka as an outstanding scholar and historian who has significantly advanced the study and analysis of German and international social history. With his dissertation concerning the new type of employee, completed at Freie Universität in the late 1960s, Kocka already set a milestone for social-historical research.
Jürgen Kocka, born in 1941, studied history and political science in Marburg, Vienna, Berlin, and Chapel Hill (U.S.). He earned his doctorate from Freie Universität Berlin in 1968 and his habilitation in 1973 from the University of Munster. That year he accepted an appointment as professor at the University of Bielefeld, and in 1988 he became a professor at Freie Universität Berlin, where he remained until 2009. From 2001 to 2007 he was president of the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
Kocka is particularly interested in the comparative perspectives of modern German and European history, social history, and interdisciplinary collaboration with social science. Visiting professorships and research trips took him to Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Princeton, Stanford, Jerusalem, Budapest, Paris, Munich, Oxford, and Waassenaar (Netherlands). As a visiting professor he teaches regularly at the University of California, Los Angeles, and he is presently a permanent fellow at the International Research Center re:work at Humboldt University in Berlin.