Universiteit Leiden

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Brian Shaev

University Lecturer

Dr. B. Shaev
+31 71 527 6658

Brian Shaev is a Lecturer at the institute for History.

More information about Brian Shaev

My research offers new perspectives on the ‘economic constitution’ of the early European Communities that later became the European Union. There exists a mythology in much of the public sphere today that ordoliberal ideas were hegemonic in the original European Economic Community but these claims are exaggerated to the point of inaccuracy. By examining transnational networks of socialists in the early European parliament and in national politics, we gain a new awareness of how open visions for a European political economy were in the 1950s-70s and what such visions might offer for a 21st-century single market in today’s EU.

Fields of interest

  • European Integration History
  • European Union and Contemporary European Politics
  • Economic History
  • Contemporary French and German History
  • History of Labor, Socialism and Social Democracy
  • Transnational History
  • French Colonial History
  • Migration History


From my dissertation (2014) on French-German postwar reconciliation and the origins of European integration to my current research grant (2017-2020) on municipal policies on migrant integration in postwar Europe, I have researched politics from angles that are diverse methodologically, thematically, and geographically. I explore multilevel politics between local, regional, national and international levels, themes as diverse as competition policy, defense policy, migration, social policy, and trade, and national and transnational politics within the European Union with a focus on France, Germany, and The Netherlands.

My dissertation is a comparative and transnational history, titled, ‘Estrangement and Reconciliation: French Socialists, German Social Democrats and the Origins of European Integration, 1948-1957’ (PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 2014). As a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for European Research at the University of Gothenburg (2015-2017), I extended my transnational research on social democracy to The Netherlands, and my policy-oriented approach to three fields of central importance to global political economy and European integration: 1) cartel and competition policy, 2) free movement and migration, and 3) welfare and social policy. My postdoctoral project was a study of the transnational Socialist Group of the early European parliament, in which Dutch PvdA deputies held prominent roles, and of the European politics of the national parties that composed it. I am writing a book on this topic for Routledge History, titled Transnational Socialism and European Integration: Political Economy and Ideas of Democracy in the early European Communities. It takes a policy-field approach to European integration history, with chapters on 1) migration/free movement, 2) external trade, association agreements and overseas territories, 3) agriculture, 4) social policy, 5) cartels/competition, 6) European expansion, and 7) democracy and institutions. The book’s timeframe is 1952 to 1973 (the first EEC expansion).

Further I am exploring the original “economic constitution” of European integration through my work on cartel and competition policy, an area over which the European Economic Community held substantial legal power. I am co-editing a book, Social Democracy and the History of European Competition Policy: Politics, Law and Regulation with Dr. Sigfrido Ramírez Pérez. My work analyzes how a transnational ‘Cartel and Merger Group’ coordinated socialist policies in the lead-up to Commission Regulation 17/62, the world’s first non-sectoral international cartel regulation. In contrast to ‘ordoliberal’ interpretations of early European competition law that emphasize the role of Christian democrats and liberals in shaping this legal field, my research demonstrates that it was the socialists who most consistently pushed, first, the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community, and then the European Commission, to rigorously enforce the anti-cartel powers granted to them by European treaties. I am further developing my research on competition policy to focus on the 1973 German merger law passed by SPD Chancellor Willy Brandt’s government. In the next years, I intend to pursue a comparative research project of the domestic and European policies of Alain Poher, French Christian democrat, President of the European Parliament (1966-70), and presidential candidate, and ‘Maan’ Sassen, Dutch KVP deputy in the European assemblies where he was president of the Christian Democratic Group, and later second EEC Commissioner for Competition (1967-1971). The ambition is to compare Christian democratic, liberal, and socialist conceptions of competition in the origins of European integration.

In 2017 I obtained a Swedish research scholarship under the title ‘Welcome Home? Municipal Migrant Integration in Postwar Europe.’ I am researching labor market, education, and residential integration policies in the local democratic political cultures of Dortmund and Lille. I and Dr. Sarah Hackett held a successful international conference on this theme in 2018 in Leiden, launching a collaboration among historians, political scientists and sociologists. Moving forward our new network is preparing a special issue on this theme and intends to explore further the intersection of society and politics in the reception of migrants in postwar Europe in future collaborative international conferences.

Teaching activities and supervision

Courses I have taught at Leiden include History of European Integration for second-year BA students, Euroscepticism (MA), Social Europe (BA and MA), and Regionalism in World Politics (MA).

At Leiden I have been supervising BA and MA theses in European Union Studies and in political, economic and social history for the International Relations Masters program, as well as co-evaluating theses in International Studies.


Assistant Professor, Leiden University, since February 2017
Postdoctoral Researcher, Centre for European Research/Economic History Unit,
University of Gothenburg, Sweden, September 2015-August 2017
Postdoctoral Scholarship, Max Planck Institute for European Legal History,
Frankfurt a.M., Germany (awarded, declined and replaced by visiting scholar in residence, July-September 2017)
International Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, New Europe College,
Bucharest, Romania, March-July 2015
PhD, Modern European History, University of Pittsburgh, August 2014
Dissertation title: “Estrangement and Reconciliation: French Socialists, German Social Democrats and the Origins of European Integration, 1948-1957”
M.A., History, University of Pittsburgh, April 2009
B.A., New York University, College of Arts and Science, January 2006

Grants and awards

“Welcome Home? Migrant Integration in Postwar European Cities, 1940s-1970s,” Jan Wallanders och Tom Hedelius Stiftelse. Co-authored grant with Dr. Joacim Waara (Economic History Unit, University of Gothenburg). Award: 2.5 million Swedish kronor total (€243,000) for July 2017-June 2020

Key publications

“Socialism, (Neo)liberalism, and the Treaties of Rome,” Renewal: A Journal of Social Democracy 19, 1, April 2019, pp. 31-40. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/38692742/Socialism_neo_liberalism_and_the_Treaties_of_Rome_April_2019_

“Liberalising Regional Trade: Socialists and European Economic Integration,” Contemporary European History 27, 2 (May 2018): 258-279. Open access at: https://www.academia.edu/36405157/Liberalising_Regional_Trade_Socialists_and_European_Economic_Integration_May_2018_

“The Algerian War, European Integration, and the Decolonization of French Socialism,” French Historical Studies 41, 1 (February 2018): 63-94. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/35738903/The_Algerian_War_European_Integration_and_the_Decolonization_of_French_Socialism

“Workers’ Politics, the Communist Challenge, and the Schuman Plan: A Comparative History of the French Socialist and German Social Democratic Parties and the First Treaty for European Integration,” International Review of Social History 61, 2 (August 2016): 251-281. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/27936598/Workers_Politics_the_Communist_Challenge_and_the_Schuman_Plan_A_Comparative_History_of_the_French_Socialist_and_German_Social_Democratic_Parties_and_the_First_Treaty_for_European_Integration

University Lecturer

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Institute for History
  • History and International Studies

Work address

Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room number 1,27




  • No relevant ancillary activities
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