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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 / 2018 took up guest professorships 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 (with Prof. Brian Cowan at McGill) and serve on the boards of Brewery History, the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture at the University of York, Adam Matthew's Food and Drink in History and the Journal of Baroque Studies. Involvement in other scholarly bodies includes the German History Society (committee member 2005-8), the Drinking Studies Network (co-founder), Microhistory Network, Warwick Network for Parish Research (co-ordinator) and the Warwickshire Local History Society (committee member 2012-19). 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 / contributed to three core modules ...

... and directed two options:

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


Postgraduate Training

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:

  • Joe Chick, 'Cloisters and Clothiers: The Social Impact of Reading's Transition from Monastic Lordship to Self-Governance, 1350-1600' (e-portfolio; submmitted 2020)
  • Francesca Farnell, 'Gender and the Supernatural in Early Modern England' (with Peter Marshall)
  • 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)
  • 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:

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.


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, social exchange & memory 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.
  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: a Fellowship at the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg in Greifswald led to publications on imperial villages and parish republics (notably Gersau and Dithmarschen).
  4. 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.
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 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'.

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

Selected Publications

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.

Beat Kümin,
Imperial Villages: Cultures of Political Freedom in the German Lands c. 1300-1800
Studies in Central European Histories Volume 65
(Leiden: Brill Publishing, 2019)

Contents & Availability Book Flyer App. 1: Villages App. 2: Officeholders Review




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) & 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 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; 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]

Available for CHF 19.50 at Bezirkskanzlei Gersau
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; Review 3]




b) Articles and essays


  • B. Kümin and Felicita Tramontana, 'Catholicism decentralized: Local religion in the early modern periphery', in: Church History 89 (2/2020), 268-287
  • 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


Church pfarrhaus_leschen_pic_lisson_harald_free_use_cropped.jpg Parishioners

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.



Beat Kumin 

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
E-mail twitter_logo_blue_640x520.jpg

















'Food & Drink Studies':
International Postgraduate
Summer University (Tours)

homepage / media coverage /
student report on 2018



In September 2019, I co-organized the LXI Study Week of the Italian-German Historical Institute on 'Migration and the European City: Social and Cultural Perspectives from Early Modernity to the Present' at Trento.




























 Project Homepage







 My-Parish Logo

See what's going on at My-Parish

Discussing the 'Passion' workshop series run in 2018-19.




With Marta Dusseldorp at the Bear in Ins
With Marta Dusseldorp at the Bear inn (Ins/Bern) in November 2018.


'The Renaissance from Below'?









Interpreting Cover

Imperial Villages Cover 


Shaping Cover





 3rd edn cover

 Gersau Cover


 Pfarreien in der Vormoderne Cover