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Dr Kat Hill

MA (Hons) in Modern History (Oxon), Master of Studies in Historical Research with Distinction, D Phil in History

Lecturer in Early Modern History

Contact details

Office 320 25-28 Russell Square

Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
Birkbeck, University of London
28 Russell Square
London
WC1B 5DQ

Profile

Email: katherine.hill@bbk.ac.uk

I am a historian of early modern cultural and religious history in global contexts. I started at Birkbeck in 2017, after a position as Lecturer in Early Modern history at UEA. Prior to this I held a British Academy Post-Doctoral fellowship at Oxford where I also completed my DPhil and Masters, supervised by Professor Lyndal Roper..

Research Interests

  • My current research examines the movement, migration and sense of confessional belonging in non-conformist religious communities such as the Mennonites and Hutterites in the early modern world as they faced exile, resettled and migrated, and constructed distinct confessional, emotional, and cultural identities. This research aims to answer major questions about religion and culture in the early modern era by examining how such communities constructed a deeply confessional sense of belonging through rituals, forms of history writing, record keeping, material objects, or in familial relationships. Study of groups who are descendants of the Anabaptist tradition such as Mennonites and Hutterites have been a side story at best of Reformation history, resulting in the neglect of an important dimension of the legacy of religious change in the early modern world. Furthermore, historians have never taken a cultural, interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of long histories of the radical and non-conformist strands of the Protestant Reformation as they evolved across time and in different locations. Mennonite communities in America still sing in German and trace their names back to the families who first emigrated from Europe, so this project explores the transmission and legacy of radical identities across continents and through to the present day.
  • My previous work focused on the religious and cultural history of Germany during the time of the Lutheran Reformation. My first book, Baptism, Brotherhood and Belief, analysed the evolution of Anabaptist identity in the lands of the Saxon princes from 1525 to 1585. I then ran a British Academy funded project on Lutheran culture after Luther’s death which examined the creation and expression of Lutheran culture in the second half of the sixteenth century and explored how Lutheran pastors constructed their world without Luther. My work has examined diverse themes such as the role of history-writing, time, and chronology in Lutheranism; the reimagining of space and place; the importance of memory and modes of memorialisation; the history of emotions as Lutherans dealt with the loss of Luther but also deployed humour and laughter; new ideas about the body, pain, and suffering evoked by Lutheran theology; and the role of material culture.
  • Research interests: Early modern history; religion; cultural history; material culture; global and transatlantic history; memory; archives; Germany; central Europe.

Teaching

  • I teach a variety of papers including the Level 4 outline course on early modern history, a Level 5 course on the early modern Reformations and their impact in the early modern world, a Level 6 on magic and witchcraft in the pre-modern world, and  MA modules on the history of the self and microhistory.
  • PhD supervision

  • I am very happy to supervise students working on topics related to early modern religious, cultural and intellectual history.

Publications

  • Books
  • Cultures of Lutheranism: Reformation Repertoires in the Early Modern Era, editor and introduction (OUP: Past and Present Supplement 12, 2017)
  • Baptism, Brotherhood and Belief in Reformation Germany: Anabaptism and Lutheranism, 1525-1585 (Oxford University Press, Oxford Historical Monograph Series, March 2015).
  • Journal Articles
  • 'Mapping the Memory of Luther: Place and Confessional Identity in the later Reformation', German History (Forthcoming, 2020)
  • ‘Fun and loathing in later Lutheran culture’, in Cultures of Lutheranism: Reformation Repertoires in the Early Modern Era, ed. Kat Hill (OUP: Past and Present Supplement, 2017)
  • ‘Brotherhood and Sisterhood: Gender and Language in the Early German Reformation’, Reformation and Renaissance Review (2015)17(2), 181-195
  • ‘Anabaptism and the World of Printing in Sixteenth-Century Germany’, Past and Present (2015) 226 (1), 79-114.
  • 'Blut, Taufe und Identität: Beobachtungen zur Entwicklung des Täufertums in Thüringen, c. 1520-1550', Mennonitische Geschichtsblӓtter 67 (2010), 51-68.
  • Book Chapters
  • 'On the road: exile, experience and memory in the Anabaptist diaspora', in Alexandta Walsham (ed.), Remembering the Reformation (Forthcoming, 2019).
  • ‘The Power of Names: Radical Identities in the Reformation Era’, in Bridget Heal and Anorther Kreme (eds), Radicalism and Dissent in the World of Protestant Reform (Vandoeck and Ruprecht, 2017)
  • Blogs and Media
  • 'Heirlooms and Hair Wreaths: Mennonite Materialities, Emotions and Communities of Dispersion in Europe and Beyond', Podcast episode in the Affective Artefacts seminar series at the University of Manchester
  • Book Reviews
  • Book Review, of Joel F. Harrington, The Faithful Executioner, London, 2013, History Today (April, 2013).
  • Book Review, of Lotte van de Pol, trans. Liz Walters, The Burgher and the Whore: Prostitution in Early Modern Amsterdam, Oxford, 2011, and Susan Broomhall and Jennifer Spinks, Early Modern Women in the Low Countries: Feminizing Sources and Interpretations of the Past, Farnham and Burlington, 2011, in Women’s History Review 21 (2012).
  • Book Review, of C. Scott Dixon (ed.), Living with Religious Diversity in Early-Modern Europe, Ashgate 2009, in Central Europe 9.2 (2011).
  • Book Review, of Gary K. Waite, Eradicating the Devil's Minions: Anabaptists and Witches in Reformation Europe,1525–1600, Toronto, 2007, in English Historical Review 125, (April 2010), 425- 427.

Research Projects and Grants

  • For further information on my research projects and grants see my personal webpage and project webpage.
    • 2018-2020 BA/Leverhulme Small Grant with Dr. Simone Laqua O'Donell
    • 2018-2019 Plett Foundation Grant
    • 2018-19 Humboldt Yale History Network Travel Grants
    • 2018-2019 CHASE doctoral training programme, 'Objects in Space', co-organised with Dr. Rebecca Darley
    • 2017-2018 Participation in British Academy Writing Workshop, organised by Dr. Rebecca Darley and Dr Luca Zavagno, Bilkent University

Professional membership

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • German History Society
  • Renaissance Society of America
  • Sixteenth Century Society
  • Emodir - Early Modern Dissents and Radicalism Research Group

Honours and awards

  • My first book was awarded the Gerald Strauss Book Prize by the SCSC, which recognizes the best book published in English during the preceding year in the field of German Reformation history, and in 2013 I received an Award for Excellence from the University of Oxford, awarded for consistent demonstration of exceptional performance significantly above what might be expected at that grade
  • I have been awarded several research grants including a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant award for project on ‘Cultures of Lutheranism’ in 2015, a University of Oxford Fell Fund award for seminars on early modern German culture in 2013, a TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities) grant for interdisciplinary network on early modern German culture and a AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellowship in 2013. I was also a British Academy Post-Doctoral Award Holder.

Current activities

  • Editorial Board of German History
  • Editorial Board of The Historical Journal
  • Co-Convenor of IHR seminar, European History 1500-1800
  • Co-Convenor of IHR seminar, Society, Culture and Belief, 1500-1800
  • Founder member of Early Modern Work in Progress, a research and career development network for early modern humanities scholars in the south-east
  • Mentor for professional development in conjunction with the German Historical Institute
  • Deputy BA Exams Officer and BA Dissertations Officer