Professor Ulinka Rublack FBA

Professor of Early Modern European History
Ulinka Rublack

Ulinka Rublack was born in Tübingen in 1967 and studied in Hamburg and Cambridge. She completed her PhD in Cambridge under the supervision of the late R.W. Scribner, was awarded the Faculty´s Prince Consort Medal, elected as Junior Research Fellow at St John's College in 1994 and offered a lectureship at Cambridge University in 1996. She has taught at the History Faculty ever since, was elected as Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1999, appointed to a chair in 2013 and elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2017. In 2018 the Humboldt- and Thyssen Foundations jointly awarded her a life-time achievement award for outstanding research and fostering academic exchange, the Reimar-Lüst Prize. In 2019, her work as a historian and her book The Astronomer and the Witch: Johannes Kepler´s Fight for His Mother were recognised with Germany´s most prestigious prize for historians, awarded every three years, the Deutsche Historikerpreis. Rublack has published widely on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century culture as well as on methodological concerns. Her books are translated into six languages.

Rublack´s current work focuses on the impact of the rise of consumerism in the early modern world, and on changes in material and religious cultures. She has recently completed a book on European art and society, entitled Dürer in the Age of Wonder: Art and Society at the Dawn of a Global World, to be published with Oxford University Press and Klett Cotta, in German. She is currently working on a new book, The Triumph of Fashion, which charts the rise of fashion in different parts of the globe from 1300 onwards.

Her previous monographs include Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Early Modern Europe, also published by Oxford University Press, which explores the relation between dress and identities in the period, won the Bainton Prize and was one of six books nominated for the Cundill Prize, the largest non-fiction history book prize in the world.

Her monograph, The Astronomer and the Witch: Johannes Kepler's Fight for his Mother has inspired a unique interdisciplinary opera project - see the website The opera was performed at the Victoria & Albert Museum in November 2017. The book has also inspired a film script by director Michael Hoffman and Roland Walters, and the film is produced by Sympathetic Ink.

Ulinka Rublack has supervised PhD students from the UK, the US, Switzerland, Italy, Poland and New Zealand. Her PhD students have worked on topics including food in the Reformations in England; gender, embodiment and dress in France; the history of aristocratic dress in England; weight and the body in Reformation Germany; dress and the lifecycle in early modern Prague; the visualisation of dress in early modern courts; German visual culture at a Calvinist court; the history of religion and material culture in Prague; Reformation music;  gender as category in understandings of the German witch-craze; costume books; London's clothing culture; and the role of armour in Renaissance Florence. She has mentored doctoral research on the memory and material culture of the Battle of Lepanto. She has sponsored post-doctoral work on the history of disability in early modern Europe and mentored post-doctoral work on the role of confession in the German Catholic Renewal as well as the cultural history of hair in the early modern period. Ulinka Rublack has supervised MPhil students on a wide variety of topics ranging from pilgrimage in the Catholic Renewal to purses in German dress.  Interested graduates are very welcome to get in touch with her to discuss considered proposals.

Ulinka Rublack teaches for outline paper O5 on the early modern world, she contributes to the Specified Subject on The Material Culture of the Early Modern World, runs a Special Subject on German Renaissance Visual Culture, and contributes to the MPhil in Early Modern History.

Rublack has been a full member of five European research networks, and was co-investigator of a Swiss National Foundation Grant (2016-18) to explore the relationship of materiality, objects and emotional communities in the early modern world, In the course of this project, she had a Renaissance feather headdress reconstructed and the process documented on film (see link).

She has been visiting scholar at the Maison de l'Homme, Paris, and in 2017 was Descartes Fellow at NIAS as well as Senior Visiting Fellow at the Leibniz Institute in Mainz and at the Herzog August library Wolfenbüttel. During the academic year 2021-2, Rublack was a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin.

She has co-curated the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge exhibition 'Treasured Possessions' and curated its exhibition 'A Young Man's Progress' (March - September 2015), which resulted from her collaboration with an artist and fashion designer in response to Renaissance fashion images.

Ulinka Rublack chaired the UK's and Republic of Ireland´s German History Society. She serves on the editorial boards of History Today, The Historical Journal and Fashion Theory. She is co-editor of various book series and has served on the editorial board of German History for many years. She regularly reviews international grant applications.

Rublack has repeatedly lectured at the Hay Literary Festival and other public venues, and has delivered a range of keynote and public lectures at conferences and institutes, including museums, in Europe, the US, and Peru. She has taken part in BBC radio programmes including In Our Time (on Kepler, on Dürer, and on The Thirty Year´s War), Free Thinking (on Luther) and Beyond Belief.

Key Publications


Dürer´s Lost Masterpiece: Art and Society at the Dawn of a Global World, Oxford University Press (2023) and Klett Cotta, Germany (2023).

The Astronomer & the Witch: Johannes Kepler´s Fight for His Mother, Oxford: Oxford University Press, October 2015, shortlisted 2017 British Society for the History of Science Dingle Prize; Observer book of the Year, awarded Historiker-prize; translated into Chinese, Italian, Hungarian, Arabic and German, 5th edition 2019, paperback January 2020.

Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Renaissance Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press: October 2010, 384 pp, winner of the Roland H. Bainton Prize 2011, awarded by the Sixteenth Century Society, USA, and Finalist for the Cundill Prize, the largest global history non-fiction prize, awarded in Canada; German edition forthcoming in 2022.

Reformation Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (New Approaches to European History) February 2005, 280pp; second, substantially revised edition 2017; for the German edition see below

The Crimes of Women in Early Modern Germany, Oxford: Oxford University Press (Studies in Social History Series, ed. Keith Thomas) May 1999, 284 pp, shortlisted for the Longman/History Today Book of the Year Award 2000; Paperback version February 2001; for German edition see below

Die Reformation in Europa, Frankfurt: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, December 2003, 278 pp, 2nd ed. 2006 

Magd, Metz oder Mörderin? Frauen vor frühneuzeitlichen Gerichten, Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, March 1998

Geordnete Verhältnisse? Ehealltag und Ehepolitik im frühneuzeitlichen Konstanz, Constance: Universitätsverlag, December 1997


Edited Books:

Protestant Empires: Globalising the Protestant Reformations, Cambridge University Press: 2020.

The Oxford Handbook of the Protestant Reformations, Oxford: Oxford University Press December 2016; 37 contributors.

Hans Holbein, The Dance of Death, London: 2016 Penguin Classics.

A Concise Companion to History, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2011, 451 pp, paperback September 2012, German translation by S. Fischer Verlag, 2nd ed. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Chinese translation by Shanghai Joint Publishing Co LTD

Gender in Early Modern German History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Past and Present Series) November 2001, 308 pp, paperback ed. October 2010

Susanna Burghartz, Lucas Burghart, Christine Göttler, Ulinka Rublack eds., Materialized Identities: Objects and Affects in Early Modern Europe, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2021. OPEN ACCESS project volume of a Swiss National Foundation funded research project

Giorgio Riello, Ulinka Rublack eds., The Right to Dress. Sumptuary Legislation in a Global Perspective, 1300-1900, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019, ppb 2020.

Ulinka Rublack, Maria Hayward ed., The First Book of Fashion: The Books of Clothes of Matthäus and Veit Konrad Schwarz, London: Bloomsbury, October 2015.

Other Publications

Recent chapters in books:
`Knowing the Market: Hans Fugger´s Affective Economies´, in Inger Leeman, Anne Goldgar eds., Knowing the Market: Affective Economies in Early Modern Europe, Routledge 2021.

`Performing America: Feather-work and Affective Politics at the Württemberg Court´, in Burghartz, Burghart, Göttler, Rublack eds., Materialized Identities, 2021.

Journal Issues:
Joint editor (with Mary Fulbrook) of the German History Special Issue 3/2010 on Ego-Documents in German History, with an Introduction, ‘In Relation: The ”Social Self” and Ego-Documents’, pp.263-272

Sole editor of German History Special Issue 1/1999 on ‘Gender in Early Modern German History’, with an Introduction, pp.1-8