Bio


Steven Press is an Assistant Professor of History and an affiliated member of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Center for African Studies, and the Stanford Center for Law and History.

Press' first book, Rogue Empires: Conmen and Contracts in Europe's Scramble for Africa (published Spring 2017 with Harvard University Press), draws on archival work in ten countries and three languages. The book offers a new approach to understanding the European Scramble for Africa by examining one of its pivotal projects: empires run by companies and individual adventurers.

Press' second book, Blood and Diamonds: Germany's Imperial Ambitions in Africa, will appear in April 2021 with Harvard University Press.

In his article in the Journal of Modern History, Press explored the exchanges between Germany, China, and Cuba that led to the USA's lease for Guantanamo Bay in 1903. His article on post-Napoleonic European nationalism appeared in Central European History.

Press received his B.A. from Vanderbilt University and his A.M. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He taught at Harvard and Vanderbilt before coming to Stanford. His research interests include European sovereignty, international relations, and commodity networks.

Academic Appointments


  • Assistant Professor, History

Professional Education


  • Ph.D, Harvard University
  • A.M., Harvard University
  • B.A., Vanderbilt University

Stanford Advisees


  • Orals Evaluator
    Matthew Signer
  • Master's Program Advisor
    Eva Baudler
  • Doctoral (Program)
    Jackie Olson

All Publications


  • Blood and Diamonds: Germany’s Imperial Ambitions in Africa Press, S. Harvard University Press. 2021
  • Learning Empire: Globalization and the German Quest for World Status, 1875-1919. (Book Review) JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY HISTORY Book Review Authored by: Press, S. 2020; 51 (2): 325–26
  • Rogue Empires : Contracts and Conmen in Europe's Scramble for Africa Press, S. Harvard University Press. 2017
  • Sovereignty at Guantanamo: New Evidence and a Comparative Historical Interpretation JOURNAL OF MODERN HISTORY Press, S. 2013; 85 (3): 592–631

    View details for DOI 10.1086/670824

    View details for Web of Science ID 000330542500004

  • False Fire: The Wartburg Book-Burning of 1817 CENTRAL EUROPEAN HISTORY Press, S. 2009; 42 (4): 621–46