Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil., Universitätsprofessor

Paul Thomes

Head of department

Professor Thomes
Lehr- und Forschungsgebiet Wirtschafts-, Sozial- und Technologiegeschichte


Building: 3011

Room: B 308

Kackertstraße 7

52072 Aachen


Phone: +49 241 80 99194
Fax: +49 241 80 92330

Office Hours

Mittwoch 10.00 bis 12.00 Uhr, Terminvergabe im Sekretariat


Paul Thomes studied History, Anglistics/American Studies and Economics. In 1984 he did his doctorate at the chair for Social and Economic History at the University of Saarland with a study on Prussian Sparkassen (saving banks) history in the 19th and 20th century. He habilitated there in 1992 with a postdoctoral thesis on the economics of early modern cities. After being a stand-in professor at the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-University in Frankfurt/Main and the RWTH Aachen University he is university professor of the Research Unit Economic and Social History and History of Technology at the RWTH’s Faculty of Business and Economics since 1996.

His teaching and research concept connects explicitly theory and practice. It is intendedly both a contemporary and forward-looking concept on a historical and interdisciplinary oriented economic and technology research. The concept combines qualitative and quantitative methods anddocuments the results in numerous, externally funded research projects and an interdisciplinary team as well as practically advising commitment.

The great importance of teaching is evident in his commitment inter alia in his function as the Faculty’s academic dean (2011-2015) as well as the founding of a center for creative writing, which has been institutionalized by RWTH Aachen in 2016 due to its great success.


Publications and presentations

  • Wie Phönix aus der Asche? - Sparkassen und Sparen zwischen Vergangenheit und Zukunft, in: wbg-Blog, Sparen. Geschichte einer deutschen Tugend, Berlin 28.06.2018.
  • [with Tobias Dewes] Unternehmen Wissenschaft - Hugo Junkers als Wissenschaftsunternehmer zwischen Freiheit und Verantwortung, in: Groß, Dominik/Nebe, Julia (Hg.), Forschung zwischen Freiheit und Verantwortung. Die wissenschaftshistorische Perspektive (Studien des Aachener Kompetenzzentrums für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Bd. 20). Aachen, 2018. S. 167-186.
  • Kniffliges Geschäft - randexistenzielles Wirtschaften zwischen Restauration und Revolution. Versuch einer blies-/isarbayrischen Beziehungsanalyse, Presentation as part of the conference "Bayern an der Blies" - 100 Jahre bayrische Saarpfalz (1816-1919) in celebration of 200 years existence of Landcommissariat Homburg, 20.10.2017.
  • [with Robert Peters] Aus Erfahrung gut? Modellierungen zwischen Vergangenheit und Zukunft, Presentation as Part of the Workshop of the DFG Priority Program "Experience & Expectation", Berlin 9.-10.11.2017.
  • [with R. H. Schmidt und H. D. Seibel] From Microfinance to Inclusive Banking. Why Local Banking Works, Weinheim 2016.
  • [with Robert Peters und Tobias Dewes] Wirtschaft. Wissen. Schaffen. 30 Jahre Fakultät für Wirtschaftswissenschaften 1986-2016, Aachen 2016.
  • Paul Thomes, The renaissance of consumer credit in Germany after World War II, Session: The politics of consumer credit since 1945: an exploratory comparative history, 17th World Economic History Congress – Diversity in Development, Kyoto 3.-7.8.2015.
  • Paul Thomes, Elektromobilität – eine historisch basierte Analyse, in: Elektromobilität. Grundlagen einer Zukunftstechnologie, hrsg. von Achim Kampker, Dirk Vallée und Armin Schnettler, Berlin/Heidelberg 2013, S. 6-15.
  • Paul Thomes / Bernado Bátiz-Lazo/ J. Carles Maixé-Altés (Hg.), Technological Innovation in Retail Finance. International Historical Perspectives, New York und London 2011.

Full list of publications, Prof. Paul Thomes