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Professor Beat Kümin

Personal Profile

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 second doctorate (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 in Greifswald (2012-13). In 2014, I directed Warwick's Centre for the Study of the Renaissance and in 2015 took up a guest professorship at Konstanz.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Higher Education Academy, a member of the conseil scientifique of the European Institute for the History and Cultures of Food, co-edit Bloomsbury's 'Cultures of Early Modern Europe' publication series and serve on the boards of the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture at the University of York, the Journal of Baroque Studies, Brewery History and the Warwickshire Local History Society. Involvement in other scholarly bodies includes the German History Society (Committee Member 2005-8), the Drinking Studies Network, Microhistory Network and Warwick Network for Parish Research. In 2014, I was appointed a federal expert for heritage of the Swiss Department of Culture.

Privately, I follow a number of lesser-known football teams and I am a keen explorer of Italian gastronomy. Together with my family I enjoy travelling and skiing in the Alps.


Undergraduate Teaching

At Warwick, I have convened two core modules ...

... and directed two options:

Teaching elsewhere includes modules at Bern, Bielefeld, Cambridge & Konstanz (2015: 'Cheers!'; 2018: 'English Reformations')


Postgraduate Training

I contribute to Warwick's MA in Early Modern History, direct its core module and serve as external examiner of the Diploma in Parish Church Studies at York, having previously monitored postgraduate courses at Aberdeen and Oxford. In 2011, I taught a masters module at Bielefeld/Germany 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 and cultural history of local communities. Current supervisions include:

  • Ruth Barbour, 'The "Middling Sort of Catholic" in Warwickshire 1660-1820' (e-portfolio)
  • Joe Chick, 'Pre-Reformation Lay-Church Relations in the Town of Reading' (e-portfolio)
  • MA dissertations by Jennifer Rowe, Alex Seddon and Megan Zander

Completed PhD / MA by Research projects:

In addition, I have examined PhD / DPhil / MA by Research theses at Birmingham, TU Dresden, Gloucestershire, Hull, Oxford, St Andrews, Trinity College Dublin, UCL and Warwick.


The 'Alte Wirt', a sixteenth-century inn at Obermenzing near Munich. Source.


Research Interests

My general field is the cultural history of German-speaking Europe and England (c. 1400-1800). In particular, I work on political agency, religious life and social exchange in local communities during the early modern period.

Principal research themes include:

  1. 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); my current project on local memory investigates the chronicles and objects deposited in tower balls during major church repairs all over the German lands;
  2. Public houses - inns, taverns, alehouses - in early modern life (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);
  3. Rural self-government in the Holy Roman Empire: as a Fellow of the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg at Greifswald, I worked on imperial villages and parish republics (notably Gersau and Dithmarschen).

Ornamental crest of the Republic of Gersau from a statute book of 1605. District Archive.

Collaborative ventures help to set these topics in a wider interdisciplinary framework:



Public Engagement

Researching food, drink and local communities offers good opportunities for outreach. Examples include reflections on the drinking problem featured in The Guardian, The Times and The Conversation, while radio interviews focused on shifts in alcohol consumption and 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'.

More detailed information appears on my 'public engagement' and media work pages.


Selected Publications

A full list appears here

a) Books / edited collections

Beat Kümin,
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)

Now available from Routledge

Beat Kümin,
Drinking Matters: Public Houses and Social Exchange in Early Modern Central Europe
Early Modern History: Society and Culture
(Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

Content and availability reviews: 1 / 2

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)
[= Vol. 4 of the six-part series A Cultural History of Food, gen. eds. F. Parasecoli and P. Scholliers]

Publisher Information (Volume HB, Volume PB / Series) Dustjacket Introduction




Beat Kümin,
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)

Publisher Information and Availability Contents, Introduction and Index Review


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; 2nd edn companion site (with image gallery, timeline, glossary & weblinks);
Editor Profile; reviews of the first edn in English, German and Hungarian; first 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]

Available for CHF 19.50 at Bezirkskanzlei Gersau
Book Launch Info (sub 17/6/2015), Open Access to Full Text on 'Gersau 2014' homepage



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]




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, 2015), 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]
  • 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, 'Gersau, Innerschweiz und Europa : Kirchenmodelle im Zeitalter der Reformationen [Gersau, Central Switzerland and Europe: Church Models in the Age of the Reformation]', 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]




The Parish Church of St Andrew, Ashburton (Devon)




Beat Kumin 

Prof. Beat Kümin

Early Modern European History
Director of UG Studies

Contact details:
Humanities Room H313
Office hours (in term time):
Tuesdays 3-4, Thursdays 12-1

Department of History
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL, U.K.
T: +44 (0)2476 524915
F: +44 (0)2476 523437
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