Dr Kathrin Zickermann

Biography content


Lecturer in History

Before becoming a lecturer at the Centre for History in 2011, I held the Alan Pearsall Research Fellowship (Maritime and Naval History) at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR, London), researching early modern transnational commercial and maritime networks of Scottish merchant families. This project developed from my doctoral research on early modern Scottish contact with and settlement in Northwest Germany which I completed in 2009 at the University of St Andrews.

Research content



My research expertise lies in two main areas – the Thirty Years War (1618-1618) and early modern maritime history.

My first research project deals with the Swedish diplomat and war councillor Alexander Erskein (1598 – 1656) who was born to Scottish parents in the town of Greifswald in Pomerania. Erskein achieved a remarkable career in Swedish service taking over various military administrative duties and diplomatic missions. My project focuses especially on Erskein’s identity and networks. In particular I want to find out to what his Scottish origin and service to a foreign power meant to him. Together with Professor Steve Murdoch (St Andrews) I am also working on the Scottish Widows Project which analyses the provision of women and other dependants of victims of the Thirty Years War.

My other research interests lie in the analysis of early modern Scottish and European commercial links and migration with a particular focus on family networks and the importance of riverine systems as facilitators of trade and communication.

Publications content




Across the German Sea: Early Modern Scottish Connections With the Wider Elbe-Weser Region (Brill: Leiden, 2013).

Articles (Selection)

‘Alexander Erskein und die schottischen Netzwerke in den Herzogtümern Bremen und Verden nach 1648‘, in B-C. Fiedler (ed.), Friedensordnung und Machtpolitische Rivalitäten: Die schwedischen Besitzungen im europäischen Kontext 1648 bis 1721 (Publikationen des Niedersächsischen Landesarchives, forthcoming 2019).

‘’Bereft of all Human Help?’: Scottish Widows of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648)’, Northern Studies, Vol. 50 (2019). (Co-authored with Professor Steve Murdoch, St Andrews).

‘Scottish Merchant Families in the Early Modern Period’, Northern Studies, Vol. 45 (2013), pp. 100-118.

‘The Scottish Fisheries and the Northwest German Territories During the Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries’, Journal of the North Atlantic, Special Volume No. 4 (2013).

‘Return Migration from Northwest Germany During the Early Modern Period’, in Mario Varricchio (ed.), Back to Caledonia (Birlinn, 2012), pp. 73-90.

Teaching content



Based on my research I have developed the following undergraduate and postgraduate modules:

  • Cultural Centres and Economic Powerhouses: London, Amsterdam and Hamburg During the Early Modern Period (3rd year).
  • The Sovereignty of the Sea? Politicians and the Evolution of Territorial Waters During the Early Modern Period (3rd year).
  • Death and Destruction: The Social Impact of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) (4th year).
  • Merchants, Mariners and Maritime Marauders: Scottish Trade in the Early Modern Period (4th Year).
  • Maritime Lives: The Scottish Northern Isles During the Early Modern Period (Masters).
  • Rivers, Ports and Coasts in Europen History (Masters, together with Dr David Worthington).

I am currently leading on the development of a team-taught masters module on Palaeography and Languages for North Atlantic History.

Additional activities content

Additional activities

Additional activities

  • Honorary Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews.
  • Co-editor of the ‘Scotland, Scandinavia and Northern Europe, 1560-1707’ online database (SSNE).
  • Co-editor o the peer-reviewed Journal of the Scottish Society for Northern Studies.
  • Council Member of the Scottish History Society.