Professor Karin Friedrich

Professor Karin Friedrich
Professor Karin Friedrich
Professor Karin Friedrich

M.A., Ph.D., FRHisS

Professor in Early Modern History

Accepting PhDs

Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 272451
Office Address

School of Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History
Crombie Annexe,
Meston Walk,
King's College,
University of Aberdeen,
Old Aberdeen,
AB24 3FX.
Room: 207

Tel. +44 1224 272451

School of Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History


Having studied in France, Munich, Washington D.C. and Poland, with a doctorate from Georgetown University, Karin Friedrich held the post of lecturer and then senior lecturer at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of  London/University College London from 1995 to 2004. In the spring/summer of 2000, she was visiting professor at the Free University, Berlin, and from 2001-2006 she was co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal German History. In January 2005 she joined the University of Aberdeen as a senior lecturer and became co-director of the Centre of Early Modern Studies. She is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and, from 2014-2019, an elected member of the Council of the Royal Historical Society. She serves as a member of the AHRC peer review college and on many editorial and advisory boards in Germany and Poland, including the editorial board of the book series on Early Modern European History published by Cambridge University Press.

Promoted in 2013 to a professorship in Early Modern European History, she has held two Leverhulme Fellowships, an AHRC research fellowship, a Wellcome Trust small grant and a Gerda-Henkel Fellowship (small grant). Having widely published on the history of Poland-Lithuania, Prussia, court culture, history of religion and political ideas, she has more recently held guest felowships at the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel and the Leibniz Institute for European History in Mainz. She teaches on a range of undergraduate and graduate level courses and coordinates the postgraduate MLitt programme in History at Aberdeen. In 2020, she was elected chair of the German History Society in the UK. She welcomes supervision of topics in the social, political, cultural and intellectual history of Central Europe (esp. Brandenburg-Prussia, Poland-Lithuania and the Holy Roman Empire) from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth century, and the early modern/modern history of East Central Europe's borderlands.


  • M.A. History, East European History and Politics 
    1989 - Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany 
  • PhD History 
    1995 - Georgetwon University, Washington D.C., USA 

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

Founding member of the Centre for Polish-Lithuanian Studies (from 2020)

Co-director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies (2009-)

Coordinator of Postgraduate Studies in History (2021-)

Catalyst (History) for the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities (SGSAH)

Director of Research for History (2015-2017)

Coordinator of the Postgraduate Taught Programme (MLitt) in Medieval and Early Modern Studies; Member in the Research Committee, Member of the University Senate, and responsibility for student tutees (graduate attributes).

Head of Discipline (History), Deputy Head of School (Divinity, History and Philosophy) for History (2012-15)

External Memberships

Editorial Board of the Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas (from 2022)

Editorial Board member for the New Studies in European History series, Cambridge University Press (from 2021)

Chair of the German History Society, U.K. (2020-2023)

Appointed member of the Advisory Council of the Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum für Ostmitteleuropa, University of Leipzig (since 2016)

Fellow (since 2000) and elected member (2014-2019) of the Council of the Royal Historical Society

Appointed member of the AHRC peer review college (since 2012)

Appointed member of the Peer Assessor College of the Carnegie Trust (2014-18).

Member of the advisory editorial board of H-Net German

Member and deputy chair of the academic advisory committee of the German Historical Institute in Warsaw (2001-11)

Member of the Arbeitskreis für Barockforschung at the Herzog-August Library in Wolfenbüttel (2003-13)

Joint editor of German History (2001-2006) and member of the editorial board of German History (until 2011)

Member of the Historische Kommission for Preussische Landesgeschichte (Historical Commission for Prussian History), Berlin.

External Examiner in History at the University of Dundee (2008-12) and at the University of Stirling (2011-2014).

Peer reviewer for numerous journals and publishers, assessor for academic prizes and academic promotions.

Prizes and Awards

Orbis-prize by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (now ASEEES) 2001 for The Other Prussia (Cambridge, 2000) as best book in Polish Studies

Kulturpreis of the Society for West Prussian Studies (2022/3)

Two AHRC and two Leverhulme Research Fellowships

One Wellcome Foundation Small grant

Several other smaller grants and guest scholarships in Germany, the UK and Poland.


Research Overview

My research focuses on the entangled history of the German-Polish borderlands in the context of early modern Europe and issues of cultural transfer, citizenship, religious and political identities, and the constitution of early modern commonwealths. I also work on the history of ideas in the early Enlightenment, nobilities and urban history and court culture.


My doctoral work and first book was on urban elites (mostly German-speaking and Protestant) in Polish Prussia, and their historical and national identities in the context of a noble-dominated Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Further interests and publications have focused on the history of political and religious ideas in early modern Central Europe, early modern identities and urban history, the history of Silesia, Cracow and Prague and confessionalisation in Poland-Lithuania in their European context from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. My interest in Polish-Lithuanian and German history of the early modern period also include court and festival culture, interest in the rival political systems of absolutist Brandenburg-Prussia and the mixed form of constitutionally limited monarchy in Poland.

As co-director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies I am interested in supporting interdisciplinary research on early modern Europe. I have a particular interest in the notion and meaning of citizenship in the early modern period and closely cooperate with the University of Aberdeen's Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and the Rule of Law (CISRUL). Most recently (from 2020), I have been helping to build up our new Centre for Polish-Lithuanian Studies, which addresses the legacy of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and its successor states in East Central Europe, including Jewish history.


Research Areas

Accepting PhDs

I am currently accepting PhDs in History.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Email Me


Accepting PhDs

Research Specialisms

  • European History
  • German History
  • Polish Studies
  • Social History
  • Intellectual History

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

My research continues to concentrate on the borderlands of Poland-Lithuania, Prussia and Germany. I am currently finishing a monograph (contracted with Routledge) under the title Traitor or Patriot? Bogusław Radziwiłł(1620-1669) and the Dilemmas of a Transnational Aristocrat on the Lithuanian magnate and governor of Prussia, Boguslaw Radziwill, whose role as a traitor who collaborated with the Swedish enemy, as a Calvinist, as a magnate in Lithuania and governor in Prussia, is still highly contested in Poland today. I analyse his political and religous patronage networks, his family policies, his changing allegiances between Poland-Lithuania, Sweden and Prussia, and his loyalties in political, religious and cultural terms.      


Past Research

Publications (ordered according to publication type):


Brandenburg- Prussia, 1466-1806. The Rise of a Composite State (Palgrave, 2011) is addressed to students and a wider readership, and locates Brandenburg-Prussia within East Central Europe as well as the German context of the Holy Roman Empire through a synthesis of approaches, debates and recent research.

The Cultivation of Monarchy and the Rise of Berlin: Brandenburg-Prussia 1700, with Sara Smart (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010).

Inne Prusy. Polska, Prusy Królewskie a Wolnosc, 1569-1772 (Poznan: Polskie Towarzytwo Przyjaciol Nauk, 2006) Polish translation of:

The Other Prussia. Poland, Prussia and Liberty, 1569-1772 (Cambridge University Press, 2000, pb 2006) 280 pp.

Books (edited)

(ed.) Pietro Omodeo in collaboration with Karin Friedrich, Duncan Liddel (1561-1613) Networks of Polymathy and the Northern European Renaissance (Leiden: Brill, 2016).

(ed.) Die Erschließung des Raumes: Konstruktion, Imagination und Darstellung von Räumen und Grenzen im Barockzeitalter – Opening spaces: Constructions, visions and depictions of spaces and boundaries in the Baroque, 13. Wolfenbütteler Arbeitskreis für Barockforschung (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, forthcoming 2014) 

(ed.) Citizenship and Identity in a Multi-National Commonwealth. Poland-Lithuania in Context, 1550-1750 (Leiden: Brill, 2009)

(ed.) Festivals in Germany and Europe: New Approaches to European Festival Culture (Lewiston, Queenston, Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 2000) 396 pp.

Chapters in books (selection)

‘Knowledge Transfer in the Age of Confessionalisation. Duncan Liddel  (1561-1613) between Scotland and Northern Europe’, in 525 Years in the Pursuit of Truth: A New History of the University of Aberdeen, ed. by Bradford Bow and Michael Brown (Aberdeen: University of Aberdeen Press, 2021)

‚Eigennutz oder Gemeine Wohlfahrt? Bogusław Radziwiłł (1620-1668) und Danzig im Zweiten Nordischen Krieg, 1655-1660‘, Danzig in der Frühen Neuzeit: Kultur, Religion, Politik, Gesellschaft und internationale Beziehungen, ed. by Jürgen Sarnowsky and Wiesław Długokęcki (Gdańsk, 2021 in press)

'Obywatele i obywatelskość w wielonarodowej Rzeczypospolitej’, in: Dyskurs polityczny Rzeczypospolitej w dialogu z tradycją europejską. Struktury aksjologiczne – praktyka komunikacyjna – granice cywilizacyjne, ed. Anna Grześkowiak-Krwawicz (Warsaw: University of Warsaw Press, 2016).

'Die Reformation in Polen-Litauen', in: Polen in der europäischen Geschichte. Ein Handbuch in Vier Bänden, general ed. Michael G. Müller, vol. ed. Hans-Jürgen Bömelburg, vol II: Die Frühe Neuzeit (Hiersemann-Verlag, Stuttgart, 2011), 123-143.

'Von der religiösen Toleranz zur gegenreformatorischen Konfessionalisierung: Konfessionelle, regionale und ständische Identitäten im Unionsstaat', Polen in der europäischen Geschichte. Ein Handbuch in Vier Bänden, ed. Michael G. Müller, vol. ed. Hans-Jürgen Bömelburg, vol II: Die Frühe Neuzeit (Hiersemann-Verlag, Stuttgart, 2012), 251-289.

'Poland-Lithuania', in History of European Political Throught, 1450-1700, eds. Howell Lloyd, Glenn Burgess, Simon Hodson (Yale University Press, 2007), 208-242.

Articles in journals and edited collections

'Zwischen Ost und West - Kultur und Politik in Preußen Königlich-Polnischen Anteils im Zeitalter der Aufklärung' [Between East and West – Culture and Politics in Royal-Polish Prussia in the Age of Enlightenment], in Die Geschichte der Musikkultur in Danzig und Westpreußen. Perspektiven einer transnationalen Forschung, ed. by Erik Firscher, Anneliese Kürsten, Sarah Brasack (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2018), 120-137.

‘Political Loyalties in the Commonwealth’s Borderlands. The Case of Bogusław Radziwiłł (1620-1669)’, Imaginations and Configurations of Polish Society: From the Middle Ages through the 20th Century, ed. by Yvonne Kleinmann, Tomasz Wiślicz and Achim Rabus. Alexander Brückner Zentrum, Universität Jena (Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2017, open access), 143-173.

‘Rola i znaczenie Prus Królewskich w życiu politycznym i intelektualnym Rzeczypospolitej w XVIII wieku, szczególnie w dobie reform ustrojowych‘, in Pamięć „chwili, która nas samym sobie wróciła..”: Wykłady Trzeciomajowe w Trybunale Konstytucyjnym w latach 2000-2016, Andrzej Rzepliński, Karol Budziło, & adam Jankiewicz (eds), Lectures of the Constitutional Tribunal in Warsaw, Poland 2016; vol. one, no. 50 (Warsaw: Constitutional Tribunal Warsaw 2016),  231-253.

'"Pomorze" or "Preussen": Polish Perspectives on early modern Prussian History', German History 22:3 (2004), special issue: 'Polish Views of German History', pp. 190-217, and Introduction (co-authored with Klaus Zernack), 155-168.

'Nationsbewußtsein im Schlesien der frühen Neuzeit' [National identity in early modern Silesia], in: Die Grenzen der Nationen. Nationale Identitätenwandel in Oberschlesien in der Neuzeit, edited by Kai Struve and Philip Ther (Marburg: Herder-Institut, 2002),19-44.

'Royal Prussia: Monarch, Nobles and Cities', in Richard Butterwick (ed.), The Polish-Lithuania Monarchy, 1500-1795 (London: Palgrave, 2001), 93-115.

Knowledge Exchange


525 Years in the Pursuit of Truth

A podcast series that will present a new history of The University of Aberdeen, one that accounts for the University's activities in the transnational and global transmission of ideas since its foundation.

Episode 3 - Duncan Liddel (1561-1613): Medicine and Mathematics during Northern Europe's Age of Confessionalisation


Outreach activities/Impact:

As part of local public engagement, in 2014-2015, I organised a community project "Linking Northern Communities" to support the integration of East European, and esp. Polish, migrants to Scotland, funded by the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, and in collaboration with Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh. The report, blogs, and a scholarly article are available on this website.



With colleagues from Poland, Spain, Lithuania, France and Italy, I am currently involved in a funding bid on (Chanse/Hera, follow-up funding from Horizon)  "Crisis - Perspectives from the Humanities", with a project entitled Crises of Civic Values: The Forgotten Religious Tumults in Early Modern Poland–Lithuania (2024-26)

I established a funded network under the title "An Entangled History of Poland-Lithuania" in cooperation with colleagues from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland (2023-25) which, after a first conference in Aberdeen in April 2023, will continue to organise two more conferences in Prague and Krakow.

The Foundation for Prussian Heritage (Stiftung preussische Schlösser und Gärten, Potsdam) provides funding for an anniversary outreach programme on which I cooperate with Dr Jurgen Luh (SPSG) and Dr Thomas Biskup (Hamburg), in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the act of Prussian homage to the Polish king in Cracow in 1525. The programme will provide an anniversarz conference and an exhibition in 2025 in Potsdam.

In 2014-15 I have led an outreach-public engagement project, Linking Northern Communities socially, culturally and economically: East European Immigration in Scotland, funded with £ 18,000 by the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, based at the University of Strathclyde (

I have also been in cooperation with the Institute for Reformation Studies at the University of Warsaw, funded by the Polish Science Foundation, on Universal Reformation As part of the Centre for Early Modern Studies, I have been involved in several funding applications, such as an application within the HERA Collaborative Research Project Balancing Diversity and Community: 17th-Century Politics and Media Practises(with the University of Paderborn, Germany) and a publication project with the University of Warsaw and the Instytut Badan Literackich on 'Political Discourse in Poland-Lithuania in Dialogue with the European Tradition'

In 2013-14 I have led a project funded by the Wellcome Trust under the title Medical Knowledge between Polymathy and Disciplinarity: Duncan Liddel (1561-1613) in Context as part of the research initiatives located within the University's Centre for Early Modern Studies (CEMS). The result was a publication with Brill in Leiden: Duncan Liddel (1561-1613). Networks of Polymathy
and the Northern European Renaissance (ed. Pietro Omodeo in collab. with K. Friedrich, Leiden, 2016)  I am also an active member of and PhD supervisor for the University's Centre for Citizenship, Civic Society and the Rule of Law (CISRUL)

I have regular collaborative and advisory contacts with the Leibniz Institute for then History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO), co-operated with an urban history project at the Palacky-University in Olomouc (Czech Republic), the Zentrum für Historische Kulturwissenschaften der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz and the East European History at the University of Halle (both Germany).

In 2002-2004, I took part of an AHRB-funded project on East European travel literature (London), a Leverhulme-funded project on European political thought (Hull), and an AHRC-funded project 'Europa Triumphans' (Warwick), all of which resulted in publications.


My current supervision areas are: History.

Priya Parrotta (shared): Acoustic Paradise. A History of the commercialisation of Hawai`s, in the context of travelogues, music and as an evironmental study

Ioannis Chountis (shared): Edmund Burke's philosophy and the reception of classical thought in 18th-century Britain (tbs 2024)

Christoph Moore (Beattie Fellowship): Objects & Images from a Foreign Land: Scotland, Poland-Lithuania, and the Problem of Cultural Transfer (tbs 2024)

Paweł Grabowski (second supervisor): Comparison of the Polish and Burgundian Princely States in the late Middle Ages (distance learning PhD, tbs 2024)


Completed Dissertations:

Benjamin Whitlock (second supervisor): Empires in Comparison: The Habsburg and the British Empire during the Long Nineteenth Century

Jared Thomley (second supervisor): Concepts of Charity in Calvinist Geneva and Aberdeen (2020)

Hanna Mazheika: British-Lithuanian religious networks ( 2019)

Anna Grudzińska: `Citizens’ and ‘Nationals’ in Contemporary Poland (2017)

Mindaugas Šapoka (second supervisor): The Vilnius Confederacy, 1717-1720 (2016)

Sheena Hogan (second supervisor): The Irish Enlightenment and Francis Hutcheson (2015)

Kate Wilson (SSEES/UCL): Protestantism in Great Poland, 1573-1620 (2004)

Funding and Grants

Leverhulme Research Fellowship 2018-2019

Professorial guest scholarship at the Leibniz Institute for European History, Mainz, 2019

Gerda Henkel Foundation Small Grant 2018

Royal Society of Edinburgh/ Polska Akademia Nauk, International Exchange Fellowship, August-September 2016

Scottish Universities Insight Institute, University of Strathclyde, public engagement grant 2014-15

Hunter-Caldwell Fellowship/ Aberdeen Humanities Fund, University of Aberdeen 2013-14

The Wellcome Trust, small grant 2013-14

AHRC Fellowship 2011-12

Exchange Fellowship British Academy/Polish Academy of Sciences, May 2010

Guest scholar at the Herzog August Library Wolfenbuettel, summer 2008 and summer 2009

Guest scholar at the Krupp Foundation Greifswald/ University of Greifswald, summer 2007

The Andrew Mellon Foundation Conference Grant/Sawyer Seminars Series, 2005

Leverhulme Research Fellowship 2000-2001

Guest Chair Free University Berlin, Summer Term 2000

Max Planck Institute for History, Goettingen, Reseach Grant, summer 1999

Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum fuer Ostmitteleuropa (GWZO) Leipzig, Research Grant, July/Aug 1998

AAASS travel grant to conference in Boston, 1996

British Academy Conference Grant, 1995

PhD Fellowship and Teaching Assistantship Georgetown, 1989-1992




Non-course Teaching Responsibilities

I also fulfil the following roles:

  • Programme Coordinator MLitt in Early Modern Studies
  • Coordinator of all History postgraduate taught degrees
  • Coordinator of postgraduate research students in History
  • Member of the Knowledge Exchange Hub Citizenship, Culture and Ethics of the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) for the University of Aberdeen (PhD training programme)
  • Final Year Undergraduate Dissertation Supervision
  • MLitt and PhD supervisions
  • Coordination of the annual training weekend at the Burn in Edzell for postgraduate students
  • Personal tutor duties

Page 1 of 4 Results 1 to 10 of 39

  • The "Common Good" and Urban Crisis Management in Early Modern East-Central Europe: The Examples of Danzig and Slutsk

    Friedrich, K.
    Defining the Identity of the Younger Europe. Hanusiewicz-Lavallee, M., Maryks, R. (eds.). first edition. Brill, pp. 48-69, 22 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Multiconfessionalism and Interconfessionality: Religious “Toleration” in Royal Prussia, Lithuania, and the Ruthenian Lands

    Friedrich, K.
    Multicultural Commonwealth: Poland-Lithuania and its Afterlives. Bill, S., Lewis, S. (eds.). first edition. University of Pittsburgh Press, pp. 45-65, 21 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • “Germański Heros.: Czy Kopernik był Niemcem?”

    Friedrich, K.
    Polityka, pp. 41-43
    Contributions to Specialist Publications: Articles
  • The influence of natural law on the discourse of toleration on seventeenth-century Poland-Lithuania

    Friedrich, K.
    Natural Law in Eastern Europe. Gango, G., Haakonssen, K., Klippel, D. (eds.). first edition. Leiden: Brill, pp. 61-104, 43 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Eigennutz oder Gemeine Wohlfahrt? Bogusław Radziwiłł (1620-1668) und Danzig im Zweiten Nordischen Krieg, 1655-1660 [Self-interest or Common Good? Bogusław Radziwiłł (1620-1668) and Gdańsk in the Second Northern War, 1655-1660]

    Friedrich, K.
    Gdańsk w okresie nowożytnym (Kultura, religia, polityka, społeczeństwo i stosunki międzynarodowe): Danzig in der frühen Neuzeit (Kultur, Religion, Politik, Gesellschaft und internationale Beziehungen). Długokęcki, W., Sarnowsky, J. (eds.). first edition. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego, pp. 293-319, 26 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
  • “I was there for three weeks, I knocked on the door and they said, ‘Remont!’” or: "What are you going to do with your life, baby?”, Wende, Wandel, Weitermachen? Nachfragen zur Geschichtswissenschaft der 1990er Jahre in Deutschland, Polen und Europa, edited by Kolja Martinet-Lichy, Markus Krzoska et al (Stuttgart, Schöningh Verlag, 2021)

    Friedrich, K., Frost, R.
    Wende, Wandel, Weitermachen?: Nachfragen zur Geschichtswissenschaft der 1990er Jahre in Deutschland, Polen und Europa Markus Krzoska, Kolja Lichy, and Konstantin Rometsch. Krzoska, M., Lichy, K., Rometsch, K. (eds.). Brill, pp. 104-134, 31 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • 525 Years in the Pursuit of Truth Podcast: Duncan Liddel (1561-1613): Medicine and Mathematics during Northern Europe's Age of Confessionalisation

    Bow, C. (ed.), Friedrich, K.
    Non-textual Forms: Digital or Visual Products
  • Odpowiedzi na Ankietę (Answers to the Survey)

    Friedrich, K.
    Kwartalnik Historyczny, vol. 128, no. 1, pp. 113-118
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Zwischen Ost und West: Kultur und Politik in PreußenKöniglich-Polnischen Anteils im Zeitalter der Aufklärung

    Friedrich, K.
    Die Geschichte der Musikkultur in Danzig und Westpreußen: Perspektiven einer transnationalen Forschung. Fischer, E. (ed.). Franz Steiner Verlag, pp. 146-164, 19 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
  • Obywatele i obywatelskość w wielonarodowej Rzeczypospolitej

    Friedrich, K.
    Wartości polityczne Rzeczypospoltej Obojga narodów: Struktury aksjologiczne i granice cywilizacyjne. Nowicka-Jeżowa, A., Axer, J., Grześkowiak-Krwawicz, A. (eds.). first edition. Wydawnicto Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, pp. 119-150, 31 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals

Contributions to Specialist Publications

Non-textual Forms