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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

  • ‘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.
  • ‘Protestantismus und preußischer Altkonservatismus’, 9. August 2017, Conference: Kulturelle Wirkungen der Reformation, Leucorea Wittenberg, 7. – 11. August 2017
  • „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. März 2018
  • 'Remembrance and self-inflicted amnesia in Prussian conservatism', ‘The politics of amnesia – Germany and beyond, 1800-2018’, Cambridge 02.07.2018 – 04.07.2018




Other Professional Activities

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