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Dr Stefan Hanß


Born and raised in Erfurt, I studied History and various minor subjects at the Freie Universität Berlin, the Università Ca'Fosari Venice and the Warburg Institute London. During these years, I was also an intern, undergraduate research assistant and freelancer at the Freie Universität Berlin's Faculty of History, the Duchess Anna Amalia Library Weimar, and the German Historical Institutes in Rome and London. I received the PhD from the Freie Universität Berlin (summa cum laude) after having been enrolled at the Dahlem Research School's doctoral degree programme History and Cultural Studies. After finishing my PhD, which won the Friedrich Meinecke Prize, I was a Herzog Ernst Postdoctoral Fellow of the Research Centre Gotha, University of Erfurt, before joining the University of Cambridge in 2015 as a Visiting Scholar of the Faculty of History and an Honors Fellow of the Dahlem Research School, Freie Universität Berlin. In 2016, I started a postdoctoral position as a Swiss National Science Foundation/ Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Associate in Early Modern European Object History at the University of Cambridge, Faculty of History. Since September 2016, I am a Research Associate at St John's College.

Subject groups/Research projects

Early Modern History:

Research Interests

I work on early modern global history, focusing on Christian-Muslim cultural encounters and Mediterranean slavery, as well as on Reformation Germany with a particular interest in studying the history of the body in relation to material culture.

My PhD thesis, which won the Friedrich Meinecke Prize and is now going to be published in two monographs, examines the sixteenth-century global event-making of the Battle of Lepanto. I decentered the history of Lepanto, which is commonly defined as a victory of 'Christian Europe', by revoicing silenced stories uncovered through research undertaken in more than 150 archives, libraries and museums. Contemporaries shaped Lepanto's meanings as connected histories in areas ranging from London to Venice, Rome, Sicily and Ethiopia, from the German lands, Russia, the Ottoman Empire, Persia and Japan to the Philippines, South America and the Iberian Peninsula. By challenging the perception of a particular battle, I contribute to a broader methodological debate on the status of events in history. In this context, I studied further aspects of Christian-Muslim contacts in the early modern period. I published on Veneto-Ottoman diplomacy as well as on Mediterranean slavery, primarily in the Italian, Spanish, Habsburg and Ottoman lands, and its implications for the historiography of slavery. I am finishing the book Slaves and Scholars: The Emergence of Ottoman Language Studies in Early Modern Germany.

As a member of the Basel-Bern-Cambridge research group on early modern materialized identities, I am conducting archival- and artefact-based research on early modern featherwork. The project 'Making Featherwork across Early Modern Cultures' aims to reconstruct the trade of feathers as well as the development and transmission of European craft expertise in featherwork in contexts of an increasingly connected world. Focusing on material culture and the history of the body in early modern Germany, my work at Cambridge is furthermore devoted to the history of hair in Reformation Germany. People's everyday performances of hair and their innovative usage of head, facial, body and animal hair mirrored fundamental religious and social changes at that time. In the estate-based society of early modern Germany, authorities regulated hairstyles. In such a hair-literate society, however, people innovatively approached hair and managed their appearance by going to barbershops, using medicinal remedies and staging particular beards and hairstyles. At the heart of the importance of hair was its ambivalence between the affirmation of societal norms and its potential to negotiate them in everyday life. This leads me to examine how hair enabled people to stage identities and to shape gender, social and confessional boundaries in everyday life. In the context of early modern German history, I also published on self-narratives, concepts of time, and practices of timing.

My research has been generously supported by the Centro Tedesco di Studi Veneziani, the Dahlem Research School and Friedrich Meinecke Society of the Freie Universität Berlin, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung), the German Historical Institute Rome, St John's College Cambridge and the University of Cambridge.


I lecture for part II, paper 14 (Material Culture in the Early Modern World) and part I, paper 16 (European History, 1450-1760) of the Historical Tripos. I offer(ed) the courses (I) Gender and the Body, (II) The Ottoman World, (III) Ottomans and Europeans, (IV) Turquerie and Cultural Transfer, (V) The Spanish World: Connected Histories of Encounters, (VI) Muslim Spain, (VII) Habsburg Spain and (VIII) Spain, Morocco and the Ottomans. I also contribute to The Uses of the Visual in Early Modern Germany that Professor Ulinka Rublack and Professor Sachiko Kusukawa jointly teach. In the Historical Argument and Practice paper at St John’s College, I offer a course on microhistory.

I am more than happy to mentor students and doctoral students. Beyond supervisions, I examine MPhil dissertations in early modern history and I assess PhD students' first year reports. Furthermore, Dr Tom Hamilton and I initiated and conduct the Early Modern Palaeography Workshop that offers Cambridge students a platform to discuss archival sources from around 1450 till 1850. Undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students are encouraged to approach me with source samples that will then be discussed together with a group of postdocs whose palaeographic expertise covers a wide range of the early modern world and its languages. I also offer more formal classes on German and Iberian palaeography in the Early Modern History MPhil in 2017/18. I have taught courses, both for undergraduate and postgraduate students, on the history of slavery, dress, and the body in Berlin and gained further teaching experience in Erfurt and Tübingen.

Other Professional Activities

I hosted the international workshop History of Time: Perceptions and Practices of Time, ca. 1400-1700 at the Freie Universität Berlin in 2013. Together with Dr Juliane Schiel, I co-organised Transcultural Perspectives on Late Medieval and Early Modern Slavery in the Mediterranean. The international and interdisciplinary conference took place at the University of Zurich in 2012 and was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences (SAGW), Fritz Thyssen Foundation, Zurich Historical Seminar (UZH), University Research Priority Program Asia and Europe (UZH), Competence Centre Zürcher Mediävistik (UZH), Zurich Association of Non-Professional Academic Staff (VAUZ, UZH), Zurich Academic Foundation (UZH), and Zurich Academic Association (ZUNIV). I also organised the Cambridge workshop on Hair & History: Early Modern Material Culture and the Body in Reformation Germany, St John's College, in June 2016. The workshop was supported by the DAAD Cambridge Research Hub for German Studies with funds from the German Federal Foreign Office (FFO). Religion, Culture & Society in the Early Modern World is another DAAD-Hub-funded workshop that I co-organise with Professor Ulinka Rublack and Professor Renate Dürr (St John’s College, 18th and 19th September 2017). On 10th and 11th September 2018, the international conference The Habsburg Mediterranean, 1500-1800 will take place at The Austrian Hospice in Jerusalem. I jointly organise this conference with Hon.-Prof. MMag. Markus St. Bugnyár (Austrian Hospice) and Dr Dorothea McEwan (The Warburg Institute London).

Furthermore, I presented academic papers in Basel, Berlin, Bonn, Brunswick, Cambridge (at CRASSH, Darwin College, King's College, Newnham College, St John's College and Trinity Hall College), České Budějovice, Düsseldorf, Erfurt, Fribourg, Gotha, Istanbul, Kassel, Leipzig, London (Royal Geographical Society, The Warburg Institute), Manchester, Paris (EHESS/Bulac), Princeton, Tübingen, Vechta, Venice, Vienna, Villa Vigoni, Weimar and Zurich. Further invitations to Essen, Hamburg and London (The British Museum, Institute of Historical Research) are accepted.

I serve the editorial advisory board of Journal of Global Slavery (Brill, since 2015) as well as the editorial board of Hilâl: studi turchi e ottomani, which is a book series on Ottoman and Turkish history edited by Maria P. Pedani and Elisabetta Ragagnin (Edizioni Ca’Foscari, since 2012). I am furthermore a member of the European Labour History Network’s working group Free and Unfree Labour, Amnesty International, Gesellschaft Anna Amalia Bibliothek e.V., Ernst Reuter Society and Friedrich Meinecke Society.

I published conference proceedings and wrote for a broader public in SupraLibros. Blog entries were published on Materialized Identities and University of Cambridge Museums. The University of Cambridge Research Webpage and BBC History Magazine (December 2016) reported on my research on the history of hair in early modern Germany. I also contributed to a German radio broadcast on the Battle of Lepanto, conducted by Tobias Mayer, that was broadcasted at the battle's 440th anniversary on NDR Info, SR 2, WDR 3 and WDR 5. I furthermore participated in the meetings of the opera project group 'Kepler's Trial', St John's College, Cambridge (Professor Ulinka Rublack, Tim Watts, Dr Aura Satz) and contributed to the Cambridge Festival of Ideas roundtable discussion on "What is Microhistory Now?" (Prof Thomas Robisheaux, Drs Liesbeth Corens, John Gallagher, Mélanie Lamotte, Tom Hamilton, St John’s College, 28 October 2016).


  • Early Modern History

Key Publications

[All non-English titles are given in translation, added in square brackets]


Monographs and edited volumes

Die materielle Kultur der Seeschlacht von Lepanto (1571): Materialität, Medialität und die historische Produktion eines Ereignisses [The Material Culture of the Battle of Lepanto (1571): An Event's Materiality, Mediality and its Historical Production], (Istanbuler Texte und Studien, 38), Würzburg: Ergon, 2017 (in print).

Lepanto als Ereignis: Dezentrierende Geschichte(n) der Seeschlacht von Lepanto (1571) [Lepanto, the Event: Decentering the History of the Battle of Lepanto (1571)], (Berliner Mittelalter- und Frühneuzeitforschung, 21), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht unipress, 2017. [→content information]

Joint editor (with Juliane Schiel), Mediterranean Slavery Revisited (500-1800): Neue Perspektiven auf mediterrane Sklaverei (500-1800), Zurich: Chronos, 2014. [→content information]


Source editions

Gestrich, Andreas/ Dorothea McEwan (eds.), Georg Wilhelm Schimper - in Abyssinia: Observations on Tigre. Critical Online Edition, in collaboration with Stefan Hanß, London: British Library/ German Historical Institute London/ Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2015. URL: [→online access webpage]/ [→enter database]


Articles in peer reviewed journals

together with Ulinka Rublack, "'In dem Original Contrefaict dieses Vogels': Marcus zum Lamm's Epistemic Images of Birds" (work in progress)

"Material Encounters: Knotting Cultures in Peru and Spain" (submission in 10/2017).

"Objects that Made History: A Material Microhistory of the Sant Crist de Lepant (Barcelona, 1571-2017)", in: Forum Kritische Archäologie (under review).

"The Fetish of Accuracy: Perspectives on Early Modern Time(s)", in: Past & Present (submitted).

"Hair, Emotions and Slavery in the Early Modern Mediterranean", in: History Workshop Journal (under review).

"Eine Zeit-Geschichte der Seeschlacht von Lepanto" [A Temporal History of the Battle of Lepanto], in: Militär und Gesellschaft in der Frühen Neuzeit [special issue: Zeit und Militär in der Frühen Neuzeit] (in print).

"Timing the Self in Sixteenth-Century Augsburg: Veit Konrad Schwarz (1541-61)", in: German History 35/ 4 (2017) (in print).

"War and Peace: Shaping Politics in Reformation Germany after the Battle of Lepanto", in: The Muslim World [special issue: Islam and the Protestant Reformation] 107/ 4 (2017), pp. 652–664. [→online access]

"Giorgio del Giglio Pannilini und die Seeschlacht von Lepanto: Rekonversionen, Selbstzeugnisse und Mehrfachzugehörigkeiten im 16. Jahrhundert" [Giorgio del Giglio Pannilini and the Battle of Lepanto: Reconversions, Self-Narratives and Cultural Affiliations in the Sixteenth Century], in: Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken 96 (2016), pp. 264-307. [→online access]

"Eigene und fremde Zeiten im 16. Jahrhundert" [Time and the Other in the Sixteenth Century], in: Traverse 23/ 3 (2016) (special issue: Zeiterfahrung: Untersuchungen über Beschleunigung und Entschleunigung von Geschichte [The Experience of Time: Studies on the Acceleration and Deceleration of History]), pp. 25-37.

"Sklaverei im vormodernen Mediterraneum: Tendenzen aktueller Forschungen" [Slavery in the Pre-Modern Mediterranean: Trends in Current Research], in: Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung 40/ 4 (2013), pp. 623-661. (review article). [→online access]

"'Io ritorno, serenissimo principe dal sultan Solimano […]': Devşirme and Yeñi çeri in a Record of the Venetian Bailo Bernardo Navagero, 1553", in: Eurasian Studies 10 (2012), pp. 97-125.

"Eine Untersuchung auf Diskurse, symbolische Kommunikationsformen und Inszenierungsstrategien: Eine 'Türckhische fahne' in der Neuburger Pfarrkirche St. Peter (1687)" [On Discourses, Symbolic Communication and Performativity: A 'Turkish Flag' in the Parish Church St Peter, Neuburg (1687)], in: Archiv für Kulturgeschichte 94/ 1 (2012), pp. 87-112. [→online access]

"Graf du Manoir in Weimar: Emigrationsalltag und Lektüren eines französischen Revolutionsflüchtlings" [Count du Manoir in Weimar: A Refugee’s Everyday Life and Readings during the French Revolution], in: Francia: Forschungen zur westeuropäischen Geschichte 39 (2012), pp. 499-519.

"'Per la felice vittoria': Venezianische Reaktionen auf die Seeschlacht von Lepanto (1571)" ['For the Felicitous Victory': Venetian Responses to the Battle of Lepanto (1571)], in: Frühneuzeit-Info 22 (2011), pp. 98-111.

"Bibliotheksbesuche und Lesealltag in Weimar um 1800: Die Ausleihjournale der Herzoglichen Bibliothek Weimar" [Library Visits and Readings in Weimar around 1800: The Loan Records of the Ducal Library Weimar], in: Weimar-Jena: Die große Stadt. Das kulturhistorische Archiv 3/ 1 (2010), pp. 5-28. [→online access]


Book chapters

"Pastoral Care, Discipline, Everyday Life", in: Joar Haga et al. (eds.), A Companion to Lutheran Orthodoxy, (Brill's Companions to the Christian Tradition) (submission in 09/2017).

"'Wherefore we are due to preach Christ's Doctrine of Head and Body Hair in Public': The Body's Confessional, Visual and Material Plausibility in Reformation Germany", in: Anne-Charlott Trepp et al. (eds.), Luther, der Leib und die Valenz des Materiellen (forthcoming).

"Diplomatie" [Diplomacy], in: Barbara Schneider (ed.), Außereuropäische Geschichte in der deutschsprachigen Forschung: Eine Bibliographie (Global-Lokal: Beiträge zur Geschichte Europas in der Welt), Münster: MV-Wissenschaft, 2018 (in print, handbook for students with short bibliographical introductions).

"New World Feathers and the Matter of Ingenuity", in: Alexander Marr/ Richard Oosterhoff/ José Ramón Marcaida (eds.), Ingenuity in the Making: Materials and Technique in Early Modern Europe, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018 (forthcoming).

"Face-Work: Making Hair Matter in Sixteenth-Century Central Europe", in: Martin Mulsow (ed.), Das Haar als Argument: Zur Wissensgeschichte von Bärten, Frisuren und Perücken (Gothaer Forschungen zur Frühen Neuzeit), Gotha: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2018 (in print).

"Die Universität Tübingen und die Anfänge osmanischer Sprachstudien im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert" [The Beginnings of Ottoman Language Studies at the University of Tübingen, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries], in: Wolfgang Mährle (ed.), Spätrenaissance in Schwaben: Wissen, Literatur, Kunst, Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2017 (in print).

"'The Catholic Ambassador will Sing the Mass': Ambassadorial Service and Venetian Festivities after the Battle of Lepanto (1571)", in: Michael Hüttler/ Hans E. Weidinger (eds.), Culture of Politics or Cultural Politics: Ambassadors as Cultural Actors in the Ottoman-European Relations, (Ottoman Empire & European Theatre, 6). Vienna: Hollitzer Wissenschaftsverlag. (in print, submitted in 2013).

"Gefangen und versklavt: Muslimische Sklaven aus der Seeschlacht von Lepanto in Rom" [Captives and Slaves: Muslim Slaves from the Battle of Lepanto in Rome], in: Stefan Hanß/ Juliane Schiel (eds.), Mediterranean Slavery Revisited (500-1800): Neue Perspektiven auf mediterrane Sklaverei (500-1800), Zurich: Chronos, 2014, pp. 337-379.

together with Juliane Schiel, "Semantics, Practices and Transcultural Perspectives on Mediterranean Slavery", in: Stefan Hanß/ Juliane Schiel (eds.), Mediterranean Slavery Revisited (500-1800): Neue Perspektiven auf mediterrane Sklaverei (500-1800), Zurich: Chronos, 2014, pp. 11-23.

"Udienza und Divan-ı Hümayun: Venezianisch-osmanische Audienzen des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts" [Udienza and Divan-ı Hümayun: Veneto-Ottoman Audiences, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries], in: Peter Burschel/Christine Vogel (eds.), Die Audienz: Ritualisierter Kulturkontakt in der Frühen Neuzeit, Cologne/ Weimar/ Vienna: Böhlau, 2014, pp. 161-220. [→google books]

"Baili e ambasciatori: Bayloslar ve Büyükelçiler" [Baili and Ambassadors], in: Maria P. Pedani (ed.), Il Palazzo di Venezia a Istanbul e i suoi antichi abitanti: İstanbul'daki Venedik Sarayı ve Eski Yaşayanları, (Hilâl. Studi turchi e ottomani, 3). Venice: Edizioni Ca’Foscari, 2013, pp. 35-52. [→online access]

"'Bin auff diße Welt gebohren worden': Geburtsdatierungen in frühneuzeitlichen Selbstzeugnissen" ["I was Born into This World": Birth-referential Datings in Early Modern Self-Narratives], in: Achim Landwehr (ed.), Frühe Neue Zeiten: Zeitwissen zwischen Reformation und Revolution, (Mainzer Historische Kulturwissenschaften, 11). Bielefeld: transcript, 2012, pp. 105-153. [→google books]/ [→online access]

Other Publications

More than 30 reviews of English, French, German, Italian and Spanish books are currently in print or already published in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Colonial Latin American Review, Frühneuzeit-Info, German Historical Institute London Bulletin, geschichte.transnational: Fachforum zur Geschichte des kulturellen Transfers und der transnationalen Verflechtungen in Europa und der Welt, Historische Zeitschrift, H-Soz-u-Kult: Kommunikation und Fachinformation für die Geschichtswissenschaften, Journal of Global Slavery, Journal of Latin American Studies, Journal of World History, L'Homme: Europäische Zeitschrift für Feministische Geschichtswissenschaft, Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken, The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Latin American History, WerkstattGeschichte, Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung and Zeitschrift für Thüringische Geschichte.