Sommerkurs 2018


42nd International Wolfenbüttel Summer Course / 42. Internationaler Wolfenbütteler Sommerkurs

The Thirty Years War: Aftermath and Legacy

(Herzog August Bibliothek, 1-14 July 2018)


Prof. Dr. Mary Lindemann (University of Miami)

Application deadline: 28 February 2018


Heumann / Sandrart: Das Friedensmahl (1650); HAB: Graph. A2:64


2018 marks the 400th anniversary of the beginning of the Thirty Years War but it also marks the 370th anniversary of the end of that war. Until recently, however, scholars have paid far more attention to the origins of wars, their causes, their beginnings, and their course rather than to how wars end. Scholars have likewise been less attentive to the longer aftermath of war. The HAB Summer Course for 2018 will introduce ongoing graduate students to the period following the Thirty Years War, from 1648 until approximately 1720 (the end of the Great Northern War). The history of this period has often been dominated by a story of the “rise of Prussia” or of an emerging Austro-Prussian dualism.

We will, however, be more concerned with how the Germanies recovered from the wartime experience, examining both those areas that recovered rapidly and those where the war wreaked damages that persisted for decades.  In addition, we will want to consider how, at least for some parts of the Germanies, war did not end with the Peace of Westphalia but continued in a series of declared wars, but also troop movements and occupations (such as the Swedish occupation of parts of northern Germany).  Furthermore, we will want to examine the impact the war had on society, the economy, politics, and culture, broadly conceived.

Over the course of two weeks, the course will focus on how “things changed” after the War or, alternatively, how things remained the same. Scholars must always remain conscious of the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.  If the period 1648-1721 represented an era of recovery and rebuilding, it also was a period that both continued trends beginning before 1618 and introduced innovations in commerce, social life, science, culture, and diplomacy. The following topics will be treated by particular specialists in a wide variety of fields in order to (1) convey a panoramic overview of the period; (2) consider new approaches to the history of the period (and early modern history more generally); and (3) determine whether the period 1648-1721 can be considered on its own and not merely as the “aftermath” of war or the prequel to the absolutism of the eighteenth century or as a prologue to the history of the Enlightenment in Germany.  In short, we will want to discover and theorize what was unique to—and about—the period. In addition, we shall want to keep in mind the broader impact of the war on the subsequent history of Germany (in the medium and long run) and its deep impact on Germany memory—its “Legacy”—without succumbing to an older (mis-) interpretation that the war can be blamed for the “backwardness” of Germany in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century worlds and for diverting Germany onto a “special path” into the modern world: the Sonderweg.

We will cover the following topics:

  • Implications of the Peace of Westphalia
  • Post-Westphalian diplomacy
  • Post-war violence
  • The Northern Wars, the Baltic
  • Trade and Commerce
  • Witchcraft
  • Culture
  • The “New” Science
  • Environment and Resource Management
  • The Holy Roman Empire in 1700: Change and Continuity


  • Maren Lorenz, Ruhr University, Bochum
  • Michael North, University Greifswald
  • Tara Nummedal, Brown University
  • Daniel Riches, University of Alabama
  • Thomas Robisheaux, Duke University
  • Alexander Schunka, FU Berlin
  • Anuschka Tischer, University Würzburg
  • Joachim Whaley, Gonville & Caius College, University of Cambridge


The call for applications is addressed to masters or doctoral students. The seminars will be conducted in English. The materials for study will be in either German or English.

The library offers up to fifteen places for participants and will cover their expenses for accommodation and breakfast. Each participant will receive a subsidy of 100 Euros to cover living costs. Participants are expected to pay their own travel expenses.

There are no application forms. Applicants should state their reasons for wishing to participate in the course and send a c.v. which describes their academic career and their current research. Please also supply the address of an academic referee who may be contacted to provide a reference if needed. The deadline is 28 February 2018. Applications should be submitted, preferably by email, to:

Dr. Volker Bauer
Herzog August Bibliothek
Postfach 13 64
D-38299 Wolfenbüttel
Fax-Nr.: +49 5331 – 808 266