Institute of Modern History

Dr. Anne Sophie Overkamp

Research associate


Seminar für Neuere Geschichte

Wilhelmstraße 36

72074 Tübingen



Office hours during semester break:

After taking contact via mail.

Education and professional appointments

04/2023 - 09/2023
Research associate

with Professor Jan C. Jansen, Chair of Modern History at the University of Tübingen.

04/2022 - 03/2023
Research associate

with Professor Jörn Leonhard, chair of Modern Western History at the University of Freiburg.

since 06/2019
Research associate

with the research project “Landhäuser im Wandel – Country Houses in Times of Change“ at the University of Tübingen.

PhD in History
08/2014 – 07/2015
Parental leave
12/2012 – 05/2019
Research associate

with Professor Susanne Lachenicht, chair of Early Modern History at the University of Bayreuth.

01/2012 – 09/2012
Parental leave
2010 – 2012
PhD scholarship

with the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German Academic Scholarship Foundation)

2008 – 2010

with TU9 – German Universities of Technology e.V.


in Cultural Studies and History

2001 – 2007
Student of Cultural Studies and History

at the universities of Frankfurt/Oder, Warsaw, and Chapel Hill, NC



  •  history of the middle classes
  •  material culture and history of consumption
  •  economic history as cultural history
  • Atlantic History
  • aristocratic history

Research projects

The tropics on the windowsill- domestication and commercialisation of nature in the age of high imperialism (second book project)

The research project uses the tension between imperial expansion and intimate domesticity, scientific rigorism and aesthetic valorisation, commercial interests and popular pedagogical impetus to shed a new and different light on the relationship between nature, culture and society in the age of high imperialism. It explores the market logic behind so-called global goods, examines the material appropriation and domestication of foreign nature and asks about the presence of the colonial in everyday life. With its focus on a specific practice, houseplant culture, the project understands global interweaving processes on an individual level and embeds them locally and area-specifically. The study focuses on Germany and Belgium from the mid-nineteenth century to 1930. The time frame of the project is derived from the exponentially increasing availability of tropical and subtropical plants on the European market since about 1850 thanks to improved transport infrastructure (railways, steamships) and technical innovations in plant transport (Ward's box). The end point is based on the fundamental changes in horticulture and the plant trade that were already announced in the post-war period and then solidified in the course of the world economic crisis in 1929. During this period, both countries were not only regionally fragmented but also socially, politically and economically highly differentiated. For this reason, studying Germany and Belgium brings the interweaving of highly imperial globalisation and nation-building on the one hand and colonised nature and the local environment on the other into particularly clear focus.

The country house between consumption and patina, 1780-1830

sub-project „Country Houses in Times of Change

The period around 1800 is characterized by profound upheavals, albeit in Germany these differed from region to region. The many changes deeply influenced life in the many forms of "country houses“ to be found in the German lands. The temporary abolition of the nobility and feudal burdens in the Rhineland, its mediatisation in the southwest and the agrarian reforms in the northeast not only changed the economic conditions for the buildings, but also transformed relations with the population surrounding the house. As a rule, country houses were initially still owned by nobles, but in increasing numbers, at least in the western and eastern part, could also be inhabited by commoners. While the Age of Revolutions led to an increased criticism of the nobility, all these events also had an impact on the self-confidence and claim to leadership of the (noble) country house residents. Law lost considerable importance for the emphasis on status. Wars and reforms caused incomes to melt down.
Against this background, did country house owners seek new ways of manifesting their social status? Consumption and the staging of material culture can be an essential factor for external demarcation and, according to the premise of the sub-project, can thus be examined as reactions to the challenges of profound structural change around 1800. Based on this premise, the project asks about the design of country houses, i.e. the spatial arrangements and interiors, the consumption practices and generally the material culture used by the country house inhabitants. Denomination and gender form further categories of analysis.

Diligence, Faith, Education - Merchants as „polite society“ [gebildete Stände] in the Wupper valley 1760-1840 (Phd project (completed))

In my dissertation, I dealt with merchant-manufacturers living a proto-industrial region, the Wupper valley, asking how merchants became part of a specific social formation, that is „polite society“, or „gebildete Stände“ in German, around 1800.
The central concern of the work is to combine economic and cultural history.
This integrative study of four merchant families in the Wupper in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, looks at the interrelationship and brings into dialogue various research approaches:  Atlantic (economic) history, proto-industrialisation, history of consumption on the one hand, and research on the bourgeoisie [Bürgertumsforschung] and polite society on the other.
By this, the merchants are not analysed solely as economic actors, but in the various contexts of their lives. Firstly, I have examined techniques of market development and commercial accounting, secondly mercantile situations extraordinaire such as bankruptcy, and thirdly, related these phenomena to cultural norms and religious practices. I also looked at strategies of education, marriage and public conviviality and examined to what extent these were influenced and informed by mercantile requirements. By engaging with the subject at hand in this two-folded manner, so the main hypothesis, economic macro-processes such as global commercialisation can be comprehensively analysed and their cultural conditioning appropriately understood and historicised.



  • Fleiß, Glaube, Bildung. Kaufleute als gebildete Stände im Wuppertal 1760-1840, Göttingen 2020.


  • [mit Jutta Wimmler], Ordnungen im Wandel. Institutionen und Vergesellschaftungsprozesse um 1800. Artikelserie (Journal of Modern European History 19,2 2021 ff.)

  • [with Magnus Ressel], Migration und Kosmopolitismus. Mitteleuropäische Fernhändler im 18. Jahrhundert (Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, Themenheft, 107,2 2020).


  • [mit Johanna Ilmakunnas, Jon Stobart], To their credit: The aristocracy and commercial credit in Europe, c. 1750-1820, zur Veröff. angenommen, erscheint in: Journal of Modern European History [2024]

  • Ein Eldorado der Fleißigen, ein Zion der Gläubigen. Die Herkunft von Friedrich Engels, in: Zeitschrift des Bergischen Geschichtsvereins 106 (2019-2021) (Themenschwerpunkt: 200 Jahre Friedrich Engels. Neue historische Perspektiven, hg. von Stefan Gorißen), S. 17-24.

  • [with Jon Stobart], Networks of supply and elite consumers in Britain and Germany, c.1750-1830, accepted for release, appears in: Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte.

  • Polite practices of acquisition: how German elites shopped for clothes, 1770–1820, in: History of Retailing and Consumption 7/3 (2022), p. 277-292, DOI: 10.1080/2373518X.2022.2114679.

  • Maintaining Order in Revolutionary Times –The Political Practices of a Mercantile Elite in the Rhineland, 1770–1830, in: Judith Pollmann / Henk te Velde (Ed.), Civic Continuities in an Age of Revolutionary Change, c. 1750-1850 Cham 2023, p. 145-170 (open access: Link).

  • Religiöse und vestimentäre Praktiken in einem Gewerbezentrum – Das Wuppertal und seine Kaufmannsfamilien, 1750 bis 1840, in: Esther Meier / Adelheid Rasche (Ed.), Der Stoff der Protestanten. Textilien und Kleidung in den lutherischen und reformierten Konfessionen, Nürnberg 2022, p. 103-114 (open access: Link).

  • [with Jutta Wimmler], Ordnungen im Wandel. Institutionen und Vergesellschaftungsprozesse um 1800. Einleitende Bemerkungen, in: JMEH 19,2 (2021), p. 239-243.

  • Außenhandel und Heimarbeit. Die Industrialisierung des Wuppertaler Bandgewerbes, in: Michael Schäfer, Swen Steinberg, Veronique Töpel (Hg.), Sachsen und das Rheinland. Zwei Industrieregionen im Vergleich, Leipzig 2021, p. 103-125.

  • With Ewald Frie, Manuela Mann, Daniel Menning, Christoph Schlemmer: Landhäuser im Wandel. Gesellschaftliche Transformation in deutschen Regionen, 18.-20. Jahrhundert, in: Zeitschrift für Agrargeschichte und Agrarsoziologie 68,2 (2020), p. 103-117.

  • Elberfeld und der Atlantik. Strategien und Möglichkeiten eines proto-industriellen Kaufmannes im (Trans-)Atlantikhandel, 1760-1820, in: VSWG 107,2 (2020), p. 242-263.

  • [with Magnus Ressel], Migration und Kosmopolitismus. Mitteleuropäische Fernhändler im 18. Jahrhundert, in: VSWG 107,2 (2020), p. 146-162.

  • A Cartel on the Periphery. Wupper Valley Merchants and their Strategies in Atlantic Trade (1790s-1820s), in: Klaus Weber / Jutta Wimmler (Hg.), Globalized Peripheries. Central Europe and the Atlantic World, 1680-1860, Woodbridge 2020, p. 133-150.

  • Die Wuppertaler Schmalwarenindustrie im 18. Jahrhundert, in: ZBGV 105 (2017/18), p. 21- 38.

  • Vestimentäre Praktiken zwischen einer „Kultur der Erscheinung“ und einer „Kultur des Ansehens“. Wuppertaler Kaufmannsfamilien und ihre Kleidung, in: Anne Gräfe / Johannes Menzel (Hg.), Un/Ordnungen denken. Beiträge zu den Historischen Kulturwissenschaften, Berlin 2017, p. 290-311.

  • A Hinterland to the Slave Trade? Atlantic Connections of the Wupper Valley in the Early Nineteenth Century, in: Felix Brahm / Eve Rosenhaft (Hrsg.), Slavery Hinterland. Transatlantic Slavery and Continental Europe, 1680-1850. Woodbridge 2016, p. 161-185.

  • Of Tape and Ties: Abraham Frowein from Elberfeld and Atlantic Trade, in: Susanne Lachenicht (Hg.), Europeans Engaging the Atlantic. Knowledge and Trade, 1500-1800. Frankfurt/Main, New York, Chicago 2014, p. 127-150.

  • Stadtbürgerliche Fürsorge, christlicher Gemeinsinn und nützliches Erwerben: Die Armenfürsorge in Elberfeld und Barmen im ersten Viertel des 19. Jahrhunderts, in: Swen Steinberg, Winfried Müller (Hg.), Wirtschaft und Gemeinsinn. Konfessionelle und neureligiöse Gemeinsinnsmodelle im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, Bielefeld 2014, p. 149-170.

  • „Vermehrung der Kenntnisse, Verfeinerung der Sitten – die Elberfelder Lesegesellschaft (1775-1818)“ in: Geschichte im Wuppertal 19 (2010), p. 43-53.