Atmosphere and Society in Early Modern Europe

With the rise of global history, historians have continuously expanded the spatial scope of their studies in a horizontal movement. In recent decades, however, a growing body of literature has begun to discuss the human exploration of the atmosphere and outer space in a distinctly vertical dynamic. A widespread assumption in this literature is that the history of airspace begins with the history of aviation. This project combines archival and digital research to show that the human engagement with airspace has a longer history.

Legal Study in German Universities

The following graphs study the language used in the titles of more than ten thousand legal dissertations defended at German universities during the seventeenth century. They are part of an ongoing project that explores broader temporal and spatial trends in early modern jurisprudence.

Religious LanguageThis graphs highlights the steep rise of religious language – measured as the relative frequency of words like religio or charitas – which could point to an increasing “juridification” of religious matters in the wake of the Thirty Years’ War.

Roman Law

This visualisation captures the decreasing relative frequency with which students worked on classic texts of Roman Law, such as the pandectae or digesta, at a time at which jurists began to pay increasing attention to customary and natural law.

Mapping the Customs

I am currently undertaking a geospatial analysis of one of the largest surviving early modern customs archives, the records of the house of Wettin in sixteenth-century Thuringia whose dominions lay the crossroads of two of the most important Central European trade routes.

Carters Erfurt

Origin of the carters transporting goods through Erfurt in 1525. The map shows that the carting business on the central stretch of one of Central Europe’s most important trade routes was dominated by a group of carters from a small community in the Spessart mountains: the carters from Frammersbach hauled almost 40% of the trade volume.

Early Modern Mobility

Supported with 100,000 $ from the UPS Endowment Fund and Stanford’s Program in History and Philosophy of Science, this collaborative project investigates the history of postal systems, roads, transportation, and communication infrastructure in early modern Europe.

with Paula Findlen (Stanford), Katherine McDonough (London), Rachel Midura (Stanford), Suzanne Sutherland (Murfreesboro), and Iva Lelková (Prague)

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Past Projects

The Polygon in Spatial History

The following two maps have been published as part of an article that questions the use of polygons as the main vector data model for representing political entities in spatial history.

Number of foreign subjects enserfed by the Electors Palatine in 1665. The map shows that the spatial extent of the Palatine incursions in the neighboring territories were much more limited than previously assumed (the light grey area).

Terrain.pngThe elevation profile of the region shows that most of the serfs lived in the Rhine Rift Valley and in Rhenish Hesse, areas with fertile soils and a warm climate. The villages in these areas were easily accessible and more densely populated, offering a larger tax base.