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Laura Achtelstetter

Laura Achtelstetter

PhD Candidate in History

Co-convenor German History Research Group

Newnham College
Sidgwick Ave
Cambridge CB3 9DF


I completed a History/Political Science B.A. (2014) and a M.A. in Political Science (2016) at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Research projects included works on National Socialism as political religion (Voegelin) and on the legitimacy of political resistance (Martin Luther). 
I worked as a student assistant in the Gerlach-Archive at FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg (Family archive of the von Gerlachs).

Research Interests

PhD research

In my PhD research, I am working on the nexus between politics and religion in early nineteenth-century Prussian conservatism. Consequently, my work includes elements of the history of German of political thought, the history of German politics, and the history of religious thought. My focus lies on the conservative network of the von Gerlach brothers and the later camarilla at the court of Frederick Wilhelm IV. of Prussia.

I am supervised by Professor Joachim Whaley.

Talks and presentations

  • Panel ‘On After-‘lifes’ of the French Revolution: The invention of organicism in nineteenth-century German thought’ and talk ‘Organicism and conservative policy in the Prussian Vormärz’, 05. June 2019, Conference: Revolutions & Evolutions in Intellectual History, International Society of Intellectual History, Brisbane (AUS), 05.–07. June 2019.

  • ‘Politics and Religion in the Prussian old conservative milieu 1815-1854’, 10. January 2019, 23rdPostgraduate Students Conference, German Historical Institute, London, 10.–11. January 2019.
  • ‘"Monarchy” in the Prussian old conservative milieu’, 09. January 2019, Conference: Monarchy and Modernity since 1500, Cambridge, 08.–09- January 2019.
  • ‘Remembrance and self-inflicted amnesia in Prussian Conservatism’, 02. July 2018, Workshop: ‘The politics of amnesia – Germany and beyond, 1800-2018’, Cambridge 02.–04. July 2018.
  • ‚„Was Gott gefügt hat…“: Die Ehescheidungsdebatte im vormärzlichen Preußen als Ausdruck religiös motivierter Policy‘, 24. March 2018, Conference: Politik, Ethik und Religion – auf der Suche nach der guten Ordnung; Jahrestagung des DVPW Arbeitskreises „Politik und Religion“, Katholische Akademie Berlin, 22.–24. March 2018.
  • ‘Protestantismus und preußischer Altkonservatismus’, 9. August 2017, Conference: Kulturelle Wirkungen der Reformation, Leucorea Wittenberg, 7. – 11. August 2017.
  • ‘Marriage and politics: The debate on a reform of the Prussian marriage law and conservative state doctrine’, 11. July 2017, Conference: Theology and Politics in the German Imagination, 1789–1848, CRASSH, University of Cambridge, 10. – 11. July 2017.


So far, I taught:

  • HSPS Taster Day Lecture: ‘The political system of the European Union’, Newnham College, Cambridge, Easter Term 2019 
  • Historical argumentation and practice paper (HAP): ‚Political History’, Newnham College, University of Cambridge, Easter Term 2019 
  • Historical argumentation and practice paper (HAP): ‚Revolutions in History’, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, Lent Term 2019
  • History Taster Day Lecture: ‘The Napoleonic time and Germany – Diversion, Alliance and commemoration’, on behalf of Newnham College, Cambridge during a visit in Preston, Lent Term 2019
  • Historical argumentation and practice paper (HAP): ‚Revolutions in History’, Newnham College, University of Cambridge, Michaelmas Term 2018
  • HSPS Taster Day Lecture: ‘Human Rights – history, principles and concepts’, Newnham College, Cambridge, Easter Term 2018 (twice)


Other Professional Activities

Together with fellow doctoral students Thomas Dahms and Maxwell Jones I founded the German History Research Group (#GHRG; @GerHistReGr) which started in Michaelmas 2018. 

Other Publications

Achtelstetter, Laura C»Sag, wie hältst du’s mit der Reformation?« Die Reformation im Staatsdenken Karl Ludwig von Hallers und Friedrich Julius Stahls als antagone Grenzpunkte der Altkonservativen Reformationsrezeption, in: Klaus Fitschen, Marianne Schröter, Christopher Spehr and Ernst-Joachim Waschke (eds.) Leucorea-Studien zur Geschichte der Reformation und der Lutherischen Orthodoxie (Evangelischen Verlagsanstalt, 2018). Pp. 561-70.