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Edited by Esther Peperkamp and Malgorzata Rajtar

The radical process of religious change in eastern Germany poses a real challenge to social researchers. Common explanations view either the socialist past or larger scale processes of modernization to be the cause of eastern German secularization, but fail to address historical contingencies and individual agency. This book focuses on the interplay between local bureaucracies and individual lives. Contextualizing individual choices is essential in order to gain insight into how religious meaning is produced, reproduced, contested, discontinued, and disrupted. Bringing together the disciplines of anthropology, history, political science, and sociology, what unites the articles is their qualitative approach. The collection of articles lays out an impressive mosaic of the religious and the secular in the GDR and contemporary eastern Germany.

Contributors are Irene Becci, Anja Frank, Uta Karstein, Anna Körs, Esther Peperkamp, Małgorzata Rajtar, Thomas Schmidt-Lux, Nikolai Vukov, Kirstin Wappler, and Monika Wohlrab-Sahr.


Michele Zelinsky Hanson

Debate over the usefulness of the confessionalization paradigm for understanding how Europeans responded to religious differences resulting from the Reformation has obscured people's experiences during the early years of reform. Based on interrogations recorded in Augsburg, Germany, in the first half of the sixteenth century, the compelling portraits of individual believers presented in this book provide a rare insight into the lives of ordinary people during one of the most controversial periods in religious history. Speaking about their faith and encounters with others in their own words, they rephrase the debate in terms of contemporary experiences. The resulting study challenges previous assumptions about the importance of belief in constructing religious identities and reveals the potential for accommodation amidst conflict.

Ways of Knowing

Ten Interdisciplinary Essays


Edited by Mary Lindemann

"Knowing" itself is a problematic concept and what was once seen as the clear objective of "knowing," that is to discover "truth" or "reality," has become increasingly less certain. This is even more the case when scholars move from the present to examine epistemology in the past. Two fundamental questions arise: What constituted knowledge in the context of early modern Germany and how was knowledge gathered, assembled, organized, deployed, and interpreted? Ways of Knowing seeks to answer these questions. Taking their cues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives, including art, German literature, social, political, medical, and religious history, the contributors offer readers a rich and insightful portrait of knowing and knowledge in early modern Germany. Investigators look at what people “knew” in early modern Germany and how they “knew” it. Four essays in part one consider how knowledge was created and organized. In part two, six authors examine how knowledge was evaluated and how it functioned, especially in the realms of belief, law, politics, and medicine.

Contributors include: Robert Beachy, Susan R. Boettcher, Jason Coy, Pia F. Cuneo, Mitchell Lewis Hammond, Mary Lindemann, Francisca Loetz, Terence McIntosh, Janice L. Neri, Elisabeth Wåghäll Nivre, and Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly.


Edited by Randolph C. Head and Daniel Christensen

This interdisciplinary collection of essays about early modern Germany addresses the tensions, both fruitful and destructive, between normative systems of order on the one hand, and a growing diversity of practices on the other. Individual essays address crucial struggles over religious orthodoxy after the Reformation, the transformation of political loyalties through propaganda and literature, and efforts to redefine both canonical forms and new challenges to them in literature, music, and the arts. Bringing together the most exciting papers from the 2005 conference of Frühe Neuzeit Interdisziplinär, an international research and conference group, the collection offers fresh comparative insights into the terrifying as well as exhilarating predicaments that the people of the Holy Roman Empire faced between the Reformation and the Enlightenment.

Contributors include: Claudia Benthien, Robert von Friedeburg, Markus Friedrich, Claire Gantet, Susan Lewis Hammond, Thomas Kaufmann, Hildegard Elisabeth Keller, Benjamin Marschke, Nathan Baruch Rein, and Ashley West.

Persuasion and Conversion

Essays on Religion, Politics, and the Public Sphere in Early Modern England


Torrance Kirby

The early modern ‘public sphere’ emerges out of a popular ‘culture of persuasion’ fostered by the Protestant Reformation. By 1600, religious identity could no longer be assumed as ‘given’ within the hierarchical institutions and elaborate apparatus of late-medieval ‘sacramental culture’. Reformers insisted on a sharp demarcation between the inner, subjective space of the individual and the external, public space of institutional life. Gradual displacement of sacramental culture was achieved by means of argument, textual interpretation, exhortation, reasoned opinion, and moral advice exercised through both pulpit and press. This alternative culture of persuasion presupposes a radically distinct notion of mediation. The common focus of the essays collected here is the dynamic interaction of religion and politics which provided a crucible for the emerging modern ‘public sphere’.