Dr Lisa Kattenberg

Research Fellow in History, Gonville and Caius College
Dr Lisa Kattenberg

I am a historian of early modern political culture and ideas, with a special interest in the Spanish empire, the Low Countries and the Iberian Atlantic. My first book, The Power of Necessity: Reason of State in the Spanish Monarchy, c. 1590-1650 (under contract with Cambridge University Press), explores how individuals negotiated the tension between political pragmatism and moral-religious principles in an empire under pressure, both in theory and in practice. In my current research I focus on (intellectual) exchange and movement within the early modern Iberian world. I am particularly interested in the connections between the Dutch Revolt and the Chilean Arauco War, and I study conflict and interactions between the Spanish, Dutch and Mapuche. I have also worked on early modern Mediterranean captivity narratives.

I am co-convenor of the Early Modern Scholarship and Religion Seminar and, from Michaelmas 2021, of the Political Thought and Intellectual History Seminar (Series II).

I received my PhD in 2018 from the University of Amsterdam with a dissertation on reason of state in the early modern Spanish monarchy, which was awarded the Keetje Hodshon prize for best doctoral thesis in history completed at a Dutch university during the past five years. My BA was in History (University of Amsterdam), followed by a Research MA in History (University of Amsterdam) and an MA in the History of Political Thought and Intellectual History (Queen Mary / UCL). Before coming to Cambridge, I held a two-year lectureship in early modern history at the University of Amsterdam. I have been a short term research fellow at the Royal Dutch Institute in Rome and the Casa de Velázquez in Madrid.

I lecture and supervise for Part I, Paper 16; Part II, Paper 6; and Historical Project. I have also taught early modern Spanish palaeography at graduate level.

At the University of Amsterdam I have taught several undergraduate skills courses and seminars in early modern intellectual, cultural and world history. I was also involved in undergraduate counselling, supervised BA dissertations, and co-organized postgraduate workshops and a summer school on global intellectual history.


Tags & Themes


Gonville & Caius College, Trinity St, Cambridge CB2 1TA


Key Publications

‘The Free Slave. Morality, Neostoicism and Publishing Strategy in Emanuel d’Aranda’s Algiers and its Slavery, 1640-1682’, in: Mario Klarer, ed., Mediterranean Slavery and World Literature: Captivity Genres from Cervantes to Rousseau (London: Routledge 2019), pp. 152-172.

‘Military Rebellion and Reason of State. Pacification of Mutinies in the Habsburg Army of Flanders, 1599-1601’, BMGN-Low Countries Historical Review 131:2 (2016), pp. 3-21.

with Rosanne Baars , ‘“Het leezen van goede boeken, … is al te noodigen zaek”. Boekenbezit van Amsterdamse kunstenaars, 1650-1700’, Amstelodamum 101-3 (2014), pp. 22-38.

‘Moslims, “morale deuchden” en commercieel succes. Het slavernijverslag van Emanuel d’Aranda, 1640-1682’, De Zeventiende Eeuw 28-1 (2012), pp. 21-39.

‘Fadrique Furió Ceriol en het Spaanse denken over de Nederlandse Opstand, 1566-1573,’ Skript Historisch Tijdschrift 31-4 (2009), pp. 206-18.