I studied History and English at the University of Bern and completed doctoral research on the late medieval parish at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Following a research fellowship at Magdalene College, a Swiss National Science Foundation project on public houses and a stint as Peter Blickle's assistant, I joined Warwick's History Department in January 2001. Since then, I obtained a Habilitation in early modern history (Bern 2005), held a guest lectureship at Bielefeld University (2011-12) and spent six months as a Senior Fellow at the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg (Greifswald, 2012-13). In 2014, I directed Warwick's Centre for the Study of the Renaissance and in 2015 / 2018 took up guest professorships at Konstanz.
I am the 'Food Cultures' thematic lead for Warwick's Global Research Priority on Food, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society / Higher Education Academy and a member of the conseil scientifique of the European Institute for the History and Cultures of Food. Together with Prof. Brian Cowan at McGill, I co-edit Bloomsbury's 'Cultures of Early Modern Europe' publication series and serve on the boards of Adam Matthew's Food and Drink in History, the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture at the University of York and the journal Brewery History, Involvement in other scholarly bodies includes the Warwick Network for Parish Research (as co-ordinator), Drinking Studies Network (co-founder), German History Society (committee member 2005-8), Warwickshire Local History Society (committee member 2012-19) and the Microhistory Network. In Switzerland, I was appointed a federal expert for heritage and help to assess doctoral scholarship applications submitted to the Swiss National Science Foundation.
At Warwick, I have convened / contributed to three core modules ...
- Making History (Year 1)
- The European World (Year 2) & Europe in the Making (Year 1; both using our Routledge textbook)
... and directed two options:
- Germany in the Age of the Reformation (Year 2; reflected in video lectures and podcast resources)
- The World of the Tavern in Early Modern Europe (drawing on the Public Drinking source edition)
I convene Warwick's MA in Early Modern History and direct its core module. Further afield, I taught a masters module at Bielefeld / Germany in 2011 and, from 2014-18, co-directed the annual Summer University of the European Institute for the History and Cultures of Food at Tours / France.
I always welcome proposals for PhD / MA research projects in any field of early modern European history, particularly those relating to the social, religious & cultural history of local communities. Current research students include:
- Francesca Farnell, 'Gender and the Supernatural in Early Modern England' (with Peter Marshall; profile)
- Daniel Gettings, 'Sustaining Body and Soul: The English People and their Water c. 1550-1750'
- Serin Quinn, 'Love and Gold: A Comparative History of the Tomato in Britain and Italy, 1500-1900' (with Rebecca Earle; profile)
- Maria Tauber, 'The Making of English Politicians: Early Modern MPs and the Transformation of the Media System' (with Mark Knights; e-portfolio)
Completed PhD / MA by Research projects:
- James Brown, 'The Landscape of Drink: Inns, Taverns and Alehouses in Early Modern Southampton' (PhD University of Warwick, 2008; e-portfolio), now a Research Associate at Sheffield
- Joe Chick, 'Cloisters and Clothiers: The Social Impact of Reading's Transition from Monastic Lordship to Self-Governance, 1350-1600' (PhD University of Warwick, 2020; e-portfolio), now an IAS Early Career Fellow
- Paula McBride, 'Magic and Witchcraft in the Early Modern English Midlands' (MA by Research, 2014, profile)
- John E. Morgan, 'Flooding in early modern England: Cultures of coping in Gloucestershire and Lincolnshire' (PhD University of Warwick, 2016), now a Lecturer in Historical Geography at Bristol
- Angela Nicholls, 'Early Modern English Almshouses in the Mixed Economy of Welfare c.1550-1725 ' (PhD University of Warwick, 2014; with Steve Hindle; e-portfolio), now an Associate Fellow of the Department
Beyond Warwick, I have examined PhD / DPhil / MA by Research theses at Birmingham, TU Dresden, Gloucestershire, Hull, Oxford, St Andrews, Trinity College Dublin & UCL and served as external examiner of postgraduate programmes at Aberdeen, Oxford and York.
The 'Alte Wirt', a sixteenth-century inn at Obermenzing near Munich. Source.
My field is the cultural history of German-speaking Europe and England (c. 1400-1800). In particular, I work on political/religious/social life, food/drink consumption & memory in local communities over the early modern period.
Principal research themes include:
- Parish communities in the 'long' Reformation: see book projects like The Shaping of a Community; The Parish in English Life; Landgemeinde und Kirche; The Communal Age in Western Europe c. 1100-1800, Pfarreien in der Vormoderne and contributions to the English Parish Church DVD.
- Food, drink & social exchange in early modern public houses: reflected in the 'Social Sites network; publications like The World of the Tavern, Drinking Matters, Brewing Cultures, A Cultural History of Food in the Early Modern Age; and the primary source collection Public Drinking in the Early Modern World;
- Rural self-government in the Holy Roman Empire: a Fellowship at the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg in Greifswald led to publications on imperial villages and parish republics (notably Gersau and Dithmarschen).
- Local memory and inter-generational communication: a project on the custom of depositing chronicles, coins and other writings / objects into the tower balls placed on top of prominent buildings all across the German lands since the late Middle Ages.
Collaborative ventures help to set these topics in a wider interdisciplinary framework:
- Migration- and parish-related research with 2020-21 IAS Fernandes Fellow Dr Marjolein Schepers;
- The Marie Skłodowska-Curie MIGMED fellowship project with Dr Felicita Tramontana at the Renaissance Centre, using parish records to trace migration networks in the early modern Mediterranean (2016-18; report);
- The 'Warwick Network for Parish Research', with the associated community platform 'My-Parish' and the annual 'Warwick Symposium on Parish Research', alongside the Microhistory Network;
- The Warwick-founded 'Drinking Studies Network', which facilitates workshops, an annual symposium and new research initiatives (I co-direct its 'Understanding Excess' cluster);
- The 2018-19 Humanities Research Centre Workshop series on the theme of PASSION.
Researching food, drink and popular culture offers good opportunities for outreach. Examples include helping actress Marta Dusseldorp exploring her Swiss (innkeeping) ancestry for the Australian 'Who do you think you are?' series & participating in a TV debate on the fall of the Berlin wall; reflections on the drinking problem featured in The Guardian, The Times, The Conversation and the Swiss daily Der Bund, while radio interviews focused on the impact of Brexit on European researchers, shifts in alcohol consumption & the cultural history of eating outside.
Interpreting drinking statistics for The Voice of Russia UK
Exploring the evolution of the picnic on German station SWR2
I regularly support local history initiatives here & abroad. In 2014, I helped to celebrate the Swiss micro-republic of Gersau (see DVD recording of my address to the Landsgemeinde and the public debate on political 'freedom'). In autumn 2017, I discussed the Reformation impact and drinking cultures at the 'Warwick Words' History Festival.
In other activities, I explored the impact of digital technologies, produced several learning resources, wrote for A-level audiences, discussed the 'Renaissance from Below' and participated in a public round table event on 'parishes & migration'.
A full list appears here
a) Books / edited collections
C. Scott Dixon & Beat Kümin (eds),
Interpreting Early Modern Europe
(London: Routledge, 2019)
Contents & information / 20% Discount Flyer - available as hardcopy / paperback / e-book, featuring surveys on the historiography of key themes in the period, with extracts from primary sources & secondary works.
Imperial Villages: Cultures of Political Freedom in the German Lands c. 1300-1800
Studies in Central European Histories Volume 65
(Leiden: Brill Publishing, 2019)
The Shaping of a Community: The Rise & Reformation of the English Parish c. 1400-1560
St Andrews Studies in Reformation History
(Aldershot and Brookfield/Vermont: Scolar Press, 1996)
Drinking Matters: Public Houses and Social Exchange in Early Modern Central Europe
Early Modern History: Society and Culture
(Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)
See also the WARWICK PODCAST series on aspects of the book.
Beat Kümin (ed.),
A Cultural History of Food in the Early Modern Age
(Oxford: Berg, 2012) & now also accessible digitally on the Bloomsbury Cultural History platform
[= Vol. 4 of the six-part series A Cultural History of Food, gen. eds. F. Parasecoli & P. Scholliers]
The Communal Age in Western Europe c. 1100-1800: Towns, Villages and Parishes in Pre-Modern Society
Studies in European History
(Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)
Beat Kümin (ed.),
The European World 1500-1800: An Introduction to Early Modern History
(London: Routledge, 2009; enlarged 2nd edn, 2014; expanded 3rd edn, 2018; also available as an e-book)
Contents & Availability; Companion Website (with interactive map, image gallery, timeline, glossary & weblinks);
Editor Profile; reviews of the first edn in English, German and Hungarian; 2nd edn website
B. Kümin (ed.),
Politische Freiheit und republikanische Kultur im Alten Europa. Historische Essays zum Gedenkjahr "Gersau 2014"
[Political Freedom and Republican Culture in Old Europe. Historical Essays for the Bicentary "Gersau 2014"]
(Vitznau: Bucher Druckmedien, 2015) [includes Kümin, 'Vom Reichsdorf zur Republic: Grundlagen und Entwicklung der politischen Freiheit in Gersau', 93-8]
Michele Ferrari and Beat Kümin (eds),
Pfarreien in der Vormoderne: Identität und Kultur im Niederkirchenwesen Europas [Pre-modern Parishes: Identity and Culture in Local Ecclesiastical Life], Wolfenbütteler Forschungen 146
(Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2017) [includes regional / thematic essays in four languages plus M. Ferrari & B. Kümin, ’Einführung – Pfarreien in der Vormoderne’, 9-22] [pre-print version; publication / ordering flyer; Rezension 1; Rezension 2; Review 3]
b) Articles and essays
- B. Kümin, ‘Political Culture in the Holy Roman Empire [Review Essay]’, in: German History 27 (2009), 131-44
- B. Kümin, 'Iconographical approaches to the early modern public house', Food & History 7 (2/2009), pp. 29-42
- B. Kümin and Cornelie Usborne, 'At home and in the workplace: A historical introduction to the spatial turn', in: History & Theory 52 (2013), 305-16 [introduction to a FORUM collection on 'Domestic and Occupational Space in Western Europe from the Middle Ages']
- B. Kümin, ‘Musik in englischen Kirchgemeinden der Reformationszeit [Music in English parishes during the Age of the Reformation]', in: Michael Fischer, Norbert Haag and Gabriele Haug-Moritz (eds), Musik in neuzeitlichen Konfessionskulturen (16. bis 19. Jahrhundert): Räume - Medien - Funktionen (Ostfildern: Jan Thorbecke, 2014), 15-29 [publisher information]
- B. Kümin, ‘Oral and written communication in the late medieval English parish’, in: Jan Marco Sawilla and Rudolf Schlögl (eds), Medien der Macht und des Entscheidens: Schrift und Druck im politischen Raum der europäischen Vormoderne, The Formation of Europe 5 (Hannover: Wehrhahn, 2014), 67-81 [publisher information]
- B. Kümin, 'Kirchgenossen an der Macht. Vormoderne politische Kultur in den "Pfarreirepubliken" von Gersau und Dithmarschen [Parishioners in Power: Premodern political culture in the "parish republics" of Gersau and Dithmarschen]', in: Zeitschrift für historische Forschung 41 (2/2014), 187-230 [abstract]
- B. Kümin, 'La paroisse en Angleterre à la fin du Moyen Åge [The parish in England at the Close of the Middle Ages]', in: A. Bonzon, Ph. Guignet and M. Venard (eds), La Paroisse Urbaine: Du Moyen Åge à nos Jours, Histoire Religieuse de la France (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 2014), 115-25 [book details]
- B. Kümin, ‘The Uses of Space in Early Modern History – An Afterword’, in: Paul Stock (ed.), The Uses of Space in Early Modern History (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 227-34 [book details] [pre-print version]
- B. Kümin, 'Rural autonomy and popular politics in imperial villages', in: German History 33 (2/2015), 194-213 [abstract] [original version]
- B. Kümin, 'Maitland, Frederic William (1850-1906)', in: Albrecht Cordes et al. (eds), Handwörterbuch zur deutschen Rechtsgeschichte (2nd edn, Berlin, 2015), 21. Lieferung, col. 1191-92
- B. Kümin, 'Parish churches in the early modern world: An afterword', in: Andrew Spicer (ed.), Parish Churches in the Early Modern World (Farnham: Ashgate, 2016), 385-391 [book details] [pre-print version]
- B. Kümin, 'Rural Society', in: Ulinka Rublack (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Protestant Reformations (Oxford: University Press, 2016), chapter 25, pp. 525-45 [abstract / online publication] [print version] [paperback edn]
- B. Kümin, ‘Parish religion in late medieval and Reformation England: The evidence from churchwardens’ accounts’, in: Andrea Tilatti and Roberto Alloro (eds), Redde rationem: Contabilità parrocchiali tra medioevo e prima età moderna, Quaderni di Storia Religiosa XXI (Caselle di Sommacampagna: Cierre edizioni, 2016), 231-248 [Series homepage / publisher information] [abstract]
- B. Kümin, 'Martin Luther and the Reformation Debates: the Ninety-Five Theses, 500 years on', in: Modern History Review 19 (4/2017), 12-15
- B. Kümin, ‘Nachruf: Bauern und Bürger im Alten Europa – Zum Gedenken an Peter Blickle (1938-2017) [Obituary: Peasants and Burghers in Old Europe – In Memory of Peter Blickle]]’, in: Blätter für deutsche Landesgeschichte 153 (2017), 483-90
- B. Kümin, 'Gersau, Innerschweiz und Europa : Kirchenmodelle im Zeitalter der Reformationen [Gersau, Central Switzerland and Europe: Church Models in the Age of Reformations]', in: Der Geschichtsfreund: Mitteilungen des Historischen Vereins der Fünf Orte Luzern, Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden ob dem Wald und nid dem Wald und Zug 171 (2018), 9-20 [accepted version] [journal homepage] [online access 5 years after print publication]
- B. Kümin and Felicita Tramontana, 'Catholicism decentralized: Local religion in the early modern periphery', in: Church History 89 (2/2020), 268-287 [free to share version]
- B. Kümin, 'Wirtshäuser auf dem Prüfstand: Zur sozialen Ambivalenz öffentlicher Trinkkulturen in der Frühen Neuzeit [Testing Taverns: On the Social Ambivalence of Public Drinking in Early Modern Europe]', in: Historische Anthropologie 28 (2/2020), 229-49 [accepted version]
- B. Kümin, 'Food and Drink in Early Modern Europe', in: Food and Drink in History (Adam Matthew Digital, 2020)
Researching the contents of tower ball deposits at St Johannis, Rosdorf (Lower Saxony / Germany),
which include a 1749 chronicle written by pastor Friedrich Wilhelm Leschen, with current parishioners.
Picture credits: Jan Stubenitzky (left), Harald Lisson (middle) and BK.
Prof. Beat Kümin
Early Modern European History
Director of First Year Studies
Contact: Humanities, Room H313; Office hours in term: Tue 4-5 & Thu 2-3 (except wk 1: Thu 2-3; please book all slots in advance here)
Department of History
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL, U.K.
T: +44 (0)2476 524915
F: +44 (0)2476 523437
Proceedings of 'Migration and the European City: Social & Cultural Perspectives from Early Modernity to the Present', the Italian-German Historical Institute's LXI Study Week I co-organized at Trento in 2019, are now being prepared for publication.
See what's going on at My-Parish
Discussing the 'Passion' workshop series run in 2018-19.
With Marta Dusseldorp at the Bear inn (Ins/Bern) in November 2018.
'The Renaissance from Below'?