Tom Zago

PhD Candidate in Early Modern History
Co-Convenor Cambridge New Habsburg Studies Network
AFR PhD Abroad Scholar
Tom Zago

I am a PhD candidate working on the idea of absence and presence as systemic components of early modern political culture. My dissertation project angles the early modern Duché de Luxembourg et Comté de Chiny, one of the former seventeen provinces of the Spanish and later Austrian Netherlands and investigates the many fascinating mechanisms along which local elites coped with the absence of the sovereign during the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This history is embedded and speaks to the larger context of research being carried out by a vibrating and interdisciplinary community of scholars working on the Low Countries, more specifically, and the idea of trans-imperial identities and trans-regional spaces more generally.

Before embarking on the intriguing journey of doing a PhD, I did my MPhil (2019) at the University of Cambridge, looking at the corporeality of politics in revolutionary France with a particular emphasis on the discourse of princely education and the (im-)possibility of a constitutional monarchy in late eighteenth-century France. Besides, I hold a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Sciences from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg i. Br. (2018). My undergraduate dissertation focused on a comparative history of the Habsburg and Bourbon courts during the second half of the eighteenth century and was supervised by Prof. Dr. Ronald G. Asch and Prof. Dr. Isabelle Deflers.

I have been working on many different problem areas including chiefly the history of the early modern court, the nobility and monarchical culture in late early modern Europe. Thematically, I am interested in the history of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, the history of the early modern French and German nobility, a comparative history of the early modern court and the société des princes, as well as state-formation processes in general. Besides, I have been working on the theory and concept of dynasticism and dynastic identity as behavioural pattern of early modern European societies. Geographically, I have been focusing on the Holy Roman Empire, France as well as the historic regions of the former Duchy of Luxembourg and the county of Chiny as well as the Austrian Netherlands in more general terms. However, recently I have been shifting my geographical focus to central Europe (i.e. the hereditary lands).

Key publications