I studied History and English at the University of Bern and completed doctoral research on late medieval parishes 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). I directed Warwick's Centre for the Study of the RenaissanceLink opens in a new window in 2014, took up guest professorships at KonstanzLink opens in a new window in 2015/18 & was seconded to McGill in 2022 (#DigiMont22).
I am the 'Food & Drink 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.Link opens in a new window Together with Prof. Brian Cowan at McGill, I co-edit Bloomsbury's 'Cultures of Early Modern EuropeLink opens in a new window' publication series and serve on the boards of the journals Food & History and Brewery History Link opens in a new windowas well as Adam Matthew's Food and Drink in History. Involvement in other scholarly bodies includes the Warwick Network for Parish Research (as My-Parish co-ordinator), Drinking Studies NetworkLink opens in a new window (co-founder), German History SocietyLink opens in a new window (committee member 2005-8), Warwickshire Local History SocietyLink opens in a new window (committee member 2012-19) and the Microhistory NetworkLink opens in a new window. In Switzerland, I was appointed a federal expert for heritage and help to assess (post-)doctoral scholarship applications submitted to the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Privately, I follow the changing fortunes of several footie teamsLink opens in a new window and keenly explore all aspects of Italian gastronomy. Together with my family I enjoy travelling and skiing in the Alps.
At Warwick, I have convened / contributed to three core modules ...
- Making History / The Historian's Toolkit (Year 1)
- The European WorldLink opens in a new window (Year 2) & Europe in the Making (Year 1; both using our Routledge textbook)
... and directed two options:
- Reformation, Politics & Rebellion in 16thC Germany (Year 2; reflected in video lectures and podcastLink opens in a new window resources)
- The World of the Tavern in Early Modern Europe (drawing on the Public DrinkingLink opens in a new window source edition)
Teaching elsewhere includes modules on popular religion, Reformation change and drinking cultures at Bern, Bielefeld, Cambridge & Konstanz.
I contribute to Warwick's MA in Early Modern History, including its core moduleLink opens in a new window. Further afield, I taught a masters option at Bielefeld / Germany in 2011, lectured for CEU and co-directed five annual Summer UniversitiesLink opens in a new window of the European Institute for the History and Cultures of Food at Tours / France (2014-18). External examining experience includes PhD / DPhil / MA by Research theses at Birmingham, Dresden, Gloucestershire, Hull, Oxford, St Andrews, Trinity College Dublin, UCL and postgraduate taught programmes at AberdeenLink opens in a new window, Cambridge, OxfordLink opens in a new window and York.
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:
- Uolf Candrian, 'Social Networks of Ballenberg Public Houses' (with Walter Leimgruber at Basel, profile)
- 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' (profile)
- 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; profile)
Completed PhD / MA by Research projects:
- James Brown, 'The Landscape of Drink: Inns, Taverns and Alehouses in Early Modern SouthamptonLink opens in a new window' (PhD University of Warwick, 2008; e-portfolioLink opens in a new window), 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-portfolioLink opens in a new window; thesis monograph)
- 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 Link opens in a new window' (PhD University of Warwick, 2014; with Steve Hindle; e-portfolioLink opens in a new window), now an Associate Fellow of the Department
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 books like The Shaping of a Community; The Parish in English LifeLink opens in a new window; Landgemeinde und KircheLink opens in a new window; The Communal Age in Western Europe c. 1100-1800Link opens in a new window, Pfarreien in der VormoderneLink opens in a new window, contributions to the English Parish ChurchLink opens in a new window & advising on Warwickshire Parish Accounts
- Food, drink & social exchange: reflected in my roles in Warwick's Food GRP & the 'Social Sites' network; books like The World of the TavernLink opens in a new window, Drinking MattersLink opens in a new window, Brewing CulturesLink opens in a new window, A Cultural History of Food in the Early Modern AgeLink opens in a new window; the source collection Public Drinking in the Early Modern WorldLink opens in a new window; and a video on church ales.
- Rural self-government in the Holy Roman Empire: a Fellowship at the Alfried Krupp WissenschaftskollegLink opens in a new window in Greifswald led to lectures / publications on imperial villages & parish republics (esp. GersauLink opens in a new window & Dithmarschen).
- Local memory and inter-generational communication: a new 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 (Cambridge / Brussels lectures & overview article)
Collaborative ventures help to set these topics in a wider interdisciplinary framework:
- Migration-related research with 2020-22 IAS Fernandes Fellow Dr Marjolein Schepers and 2022-25 Leverhulme Early Career Fellow Dr Tom Pert at the Renaissance Centre;
- Acting as Advisory Board member for Prof. Felicita TramontanaLink opens in a new window's HOLYLAB ERC project at Roma Tre, following her Marie Skłodowska-Curie MIGMEDLink opens in a new window fellowship on migration at the Renaissance Centre (2016-18; report);
- The 'Warwick Network for Parish Research', with the associated community platform 'My-ParishLink opens in a new window' and the annual 'Warwick Symposium on Parish Research', alongside the Microhistory NetworkLink opens in a new window;
- The Warwick-founded 'Drinking Studies NetworkLink opens in a new window', which facilitates workshops, an annual symposium and new research initiatives (I co-direct its 'Understanding ExcessLink opens in a new window' cluster);
- The 2018-19 Humanities Research Centre Workshop series on the theme of PASSIONLink opens in a new window.
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 GuardianLink opens in a new window, The TimesLink opens in a new window, The ConversationLink opens in a new window 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 RussiaLink opens in a new window 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 recordingLink opens in a new window of my address to the LandsgemeindeLink opens in a new window and the public debateLink opens in a new window on political 'freedom'). In autumn 2017, I discussed the Reformation impact and drinking cultures at the 'Warwick WordsLink opens in a new window' History Festival.
In other activities, I produced several learning resources, wrote for A-level audiences, discussed the 'Renaissance from BelowLink opens in a new window', directed the FEAST! theme for Coventry UK City of Culture, took over the Twitter account of the Ecclesiastical History Society and participated in a public round table events on 'parishes & migration' and 'The Future of Hospitality'.
A full list appears here
a) Books / edited collections
Christoph Cornelissen, Beat Kümin & Massimo Rospocher (eds),
Migration and the European City: Social and Cultural Perspectives from Early Modernity to the Present
Studies in Early Modern and Contemporary European History 5
(Berlin: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2022)
C. Scott Dixon & Beat Kümin (eds),
Interpreting Early Modern Europe
(London: Routledge, 2019)
Contents & information / 20% Discount Flyer - as hardcopy/paperback/e-book, featuring surveys on the historiography of key themes in the period, with extracts from primary sources & secondary works. Reviews 1 + 2
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)
[reviewLink opens in a new window]
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 PODCASTLink opens in a new window 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]
Publisher Information (Volume HBLink opens in a new window, Volume PBLink opens in a new window / SeriesLink opens in a new window) DustjacketLink opens in a new window IntroductionLink opens in a new window
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 & 3rd edns, 2014 & 2018; 4th edn with two new chapters out on 12 December 2022!)
Contents & Availability; Companion Website (with interactive map, image gallery, timeline, glossary & weblinks);
Editor ProfileLink opens in a new window; reviews of the first edn in EnglishLink opens in a new window, GermanLink opens in a new window and HungarianLink opens in a new window; 2nd edn website
B. Kümin (ed.),
Politische Freiheit und republikanische Kultur im Alten EuropaLink opens in a new window. 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]
Available for CHF 19.50 at Bezirkskanzlei GersauLink opens in a new window
Open Access to Full TextLink opens in a new window
Michele Ferrari and Beat Kümin (eds),
Pfarreien in der Vormoderne: Identität und Kultur im Niederkirchenwesen EuropasLink opens in a new window [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 versionLink opens in a new window; publication / ordering flyerLink opens in a new window; 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 houseLink opens in a new window', 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]Link opens in a new window', 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 informationLink opens in a new window]
- 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 informationLink opens in a new window]
- 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 ForschungLink opens in a new window 41 (2/2014), 187-230 [abstractLink opens in a new window]
- 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 detailsLink opens in a new window]
- 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 detailsLink opens in a new window] [pre-print versionLink opens in a new window]
- B. Kümin, 'Rural autonomy and popular politics in imperial villages', in: German History 33 (2/2015), 194-213 [abstractLink opens in a new window] [original versionLink opens in a new window]
- B. Kümin, 'Maitland, Frederic William (1850-1906)Link opens in a new window', 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 detailsLink opens in a new window] [pre-print versionLink opens in a new window]
- 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 publicationLink opens in a new window] [print versionLink opens in a new window] [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 homepageLink opens in a new window / abstract]
- B. Kümin, 'Martin Luther and the Reformation Debates: the Ninety-Five Theses, 500 years on', in: Modern History ReviewLink opens in a new window 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 BlickleLink opens in a new window]Link opens in a new window]’, 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 versionLink opens in a new window] [journal homepageLink opens in a new window] [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 versionLink opens in a new window]
- 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)
B. Kümin, 'Nachrichten für die Nachwelt. Turmkugelarchive in der Erinnerungskultur des deutschsprachigen Europa [Messages for Posterity: Tower Ball Archives in the Memory Culture of German-Speaking Europe], in: Historische Zeitschrift 312 (3/2021), 614-648 [Open Access, with German & English abstracts]
B. Kümin, 'Cultural Representations', in: B. Ann Tlusty (ed.), Alcohol in the Early Modern World: A Cultural History (London: Bloomsbury, 2021), 159-177 [review1] [review 2]
Dorota Dias-Lewandowska, Laura Fenton, Sam Goodman & Beat Kümin, ‘Altered states: Changing conditions of excess in European drinking cultures’, in: G. Hunt, T. Antin & V. Asmussen Frank (eds), Routledge Handbook of Intoxicants and Intoxication (London: Routledge, 2022), 501-22 [publisher info] [abstract]
Rebecca Earle & B. Kümin, 'Food and Drink Cultures', in: B. Kümin (ed.), The European World 1500-1800: An Introduction to Early Modern History (London: Routledge, 2023), 289-300 [publisher info]
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.
Professor Beat Kümin
Early Modern European History
Contact: FAB, 3.49; in-person office hours in term (online in reading weeks): Tue 2-3 [wk 10: 4-5] & Fri 4-5 pm (please book a time here).
'Food & Drink Studies':
Summer University (Tours)
homepageLink opens in a new window / media coverageLink opens in a new window /
student reportLink opens in a new window on 2018
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, have now appeared (see under 'Publications').
A Video Intro to our Food GRP
See what's going on at My-ParishLink opens in a new window
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'?
Debating the 'Future of Hospitality' at the Resonate Festival (April 2022)