I am a cultural historian and exhibition curator with special interest in 17th, 18th & 19th centuries environmental, medical and natural history as well as the history of universities and scholarship. I obtained a PhD from the University of Goettingen with a thesis on the cultural history of epizootics in Mid-18th century Northern Europe. The thesis used multi-disciplinary approaches to the past experiences of humans and other species. My research critically engages with Animal Studies and the development of the scientific as well as quotidian engagement of humans with the natural world in the past but also the present.

My current research project is a material history of 18th century entomology. It analyzes the pan-European fascination with insects and their taxonomy and behaviour as well as the role of global specimens in these processes in order to illuminate the development of scientific disciplines, global exchange and the practices of (academic) knowledge formation.
The project will pay special attention to materiality, the role of images vs text and the means of knowledge exchange and discussion.  Collaboration with entomologists / insect curators is an important part of the project as historic zoological collections are invaluable sources for current taxonomic and biodiversity research in the life sciences.

In 2020, I co-founded the Collection Ecologies Research Collective which is a place for discussing the intersections of the history of collections, material culture, environmental humanities, (historical) ecology and the material history of the sciences and knowledge.

In addition I am also publishing on the history of universities as corporate institutions and academics as subjects in (by lack of a better term) “enlightened absolutism”. This research also is informed by current developments in higher education globally and discussion on the future of the humanities.

I am currently a research associate at the DFG-Centre for Advanced Studies “Imaginaria of Force” at the University of Hamburg.

Since August 2017 I am co-editor of the Brill series “Emergence of Natural History” (ENH) and since December 2020 member of the editorial board of Nuncius – Journal of the Material and Visual History of Science.

Additionally, I am an advisor to the initiative to strengthen research, outreach and conservation of the University of Goettingen’s academic collections. Academic heritage, the history and future of collections and the material aspects of knowledge formation are my keay concerns also as an affiliate researcher at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow.

I co-curated and supported several exhibitions in Germany and Scotland:

“All of Nature – Forces, Order, Boundaries”
Museum of Nature Hamburg, November 2022 – August 2023

Tiny unpredictable material objects. Postcolonial Perspectives on Plants in the Georg Forster Herbarium (1772-75)
Forum Wissen, University of Goettingen, 13 July to 14 October 2022



April 2011
PhD in History, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen on the environmental, medical and cultural history of epizootics in the 18th century
Scholarship: German Research Foundation Training Programme: “Interdisciplinary Environmental History”, University of Göttingen and Max-Planck-Institute for History, Göttingen
Received the annual prize of the Society for the History of Schleswig-Holstein for best book on the history of the region in 2011

July 2003
M. A. in History, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel with a thesis on religion, revolution and academic careers around 1800
Minor Subjects: Anglophone Literature and Psychology

09/1999 – 06/2000
year abroad at the University of Hull

Other Publications

Visible Labour? Productive Forces and Imaginaries of Participation in European Insect Studies, ca. 1680–1810, in: Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, 3 May 2021, Early View

Objekte, Bilder, Praktiken. Ein Schmetterlingsnetz und seine materielle Wissensgeschichte, in: WerkstattGeschichte 83, 1 (2021), p. 115-119

The “Normative Forces” of Difference – Ecology, Economy and Society During Cattle Plagues in the 18th Century, in: Tim Soens (ed.), COVID-19 & Environmental History. Making Sense of COVID-19 from the Perspective of Environmental History, Special Issue of the Journal for the History of Environment and Society, 5 (2020), S. 91-100

 The forces of reproduction. Meta/physics and insect sex in eighteenth-century entomology, in: Voltaire Foundation – A collaborative blog for those interested in the Enlightenment, October 2020

Viral Hive Knowledge: Twitter, Historians, and Coronavirus/COVID-19, in: History of Knowledge – Research, Resources, and Perspectives. A blog of the German Historical Institute, Washington, March 2020

Der “unverbesserliche Reisende” Fabricius, in: Dirk Brandis, Michael Kuhlmann and Dominik Huenniger (eds.), „F.“– Schatztruhe und Fenster in die Vergangenheit. Die Insektensammlung von Johann Christian Fabricius, Kiel: Zoologisches Museum, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel 2020, p. 20-37 and 94-96.

“Extolled by Foreigners.” William Hunter’s Collection and the Development of Science and Medicine in Eighteenth-Century Europe, in: Mungo Campbell, Nathan Flis and María Dolores Sánchez-Jáuregui (eds.), William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2018, p. 127-141.

together with Demetrius L. Eudell (ed.): Lichtenbergs MenschenBilder: Charaktere und Stereotype in der Göttinger Aufklärung, Göttingen: Göttinger Verlag der Kunst 2018,
including the essay: “Bilder machen – Charaktere, Stereotype und die Konstruktion menschlicher Varietät bei Johann Friedrich Blumenbach”, S. 65-77.

Nets, Labels and Boards: Materiality and Natural History Practices in Continental European Manuals on Insect Collecting 1688-1776, in: Arthur MacGregor (ed.), Naturalists in the Field. Collecting, Recording and Preserving the Natural World from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-First Century, Leiden et. all: Brill 2018 (Emergence of Natural History; 2), p. 686-705.

What is a useful university? knowledge economies and higher education in late eighteenth-century Denmark and central Europe, in: Larry Stewart und Kelly J. Whitmer (eds.): Expectations and utility in eighteenth-century knowledge economies, special issue of: Notes and Records. The Royal Society journal of the history of science, p. 173-194.

Inveterate travellers and travelling invertebrates – Human and animal on the move in enlightenment entomology, in: Sarah Cockram and Andrew Wells (eds.): Interspecies interaction. Animals and Humans between the Middle Ages and Modernity, London et al.: Routledge 2017,p. 171-189

Sammeln, Sezieren und Systematisieren. Naturkundliche Verfahrensweisen in der Insektenkunde um 1800, in: Silke Förschler and Anne Mariss (eds.): Akteure, Tiere, Dinge. Verfahrensweisen der Naturgeschichte, Köln Weimar Wien: Böhlau Verlag 2017, p. 47-60

Die moralische Ökonomie von Hochschullehrern. Gehalts- und Positionsverhandlungen an der Universität Kiel, 1773 ?1808, in: Elizabeth Harding (ed.), Kalkulierte Gelehrsamkeit. Zur Ökonomisierung der Universitäten im 18. Jahrhundert, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2016, p. 257-275.

Die Universität Kiel um 1800: Religion und Öffentlichkeit, Korporation und Herrschaft am Beispiel der Karriere von Johann Otto Thieß (1762-1810), in: Oliver Auge and Swantje Piotrowski (eds.): Gelehrte Köpfe an der Förde. Kieler Professorinen und Professoren in Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft seit der Universitätsgründung 1665 (Sonderveröffentlichungen der Gesellschaft für Kieler Stadtgeschichte, 73), Kiel 2014, p. 55-85.

Umweltgeschichte kulturhistorisch. Tierseuchen in den Lebenswelten des 18. Jahrhunderts, in: Manfred Jakubowski-Tiessen and Jana Sprenger (eds.), Natur und Gesellschaft. Perspektiven der interdisziplinären Umweltgeschichte, Göttingen 2014, S. 173-190

Die Viehseuche von 1744-52. Deutungen und Herrschaftspraxis in Krisenzeiten, Neumünster 2011 (Studien zur Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte Schleswig-Holsteins, 48) Reviews:
Robert Jütte, in: Historische Zeitschrift, 296, 2 (2013), S. 521-523
Johannes Kirchinger, in: Zeitschrift für Agrargeschichte und Agrarsoziologie, 1 (2013), S. 125-127
Christoph Wegner, in: Thünen-Jahrbuch 8/2013, S. 105-109.
Klaus Bergdolt, in: Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 99, 2 (2012), S. 224f.
Julia Breittruck, in: H-Soz-u-Kult, 11.12.2012
Carsten Porskrog Rasmussen, in: Sønderjyske Årbøger 2011, 239f.
Heiko Schnickmann, in: Das Achtzehnte Jahrhundert. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für die Erforschung des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts, 36,2 (2012), S. 287-289
Detlev Kraack, in Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Schleswig-Holsteinische Geschichte, 136 (2011), S. 304-306

Konsumverzicht als Teuerungsabwehr – Die Debatte um Ausfuhrverbote für Butter während einer Rinderseuche in den Herzogtümern des 18. Jahrhunderts, in: Kraack, Detlev and Lorenzen-Schmidt, Klaus-Joachim (eds.), Essen und Trinken. Zur Ernährungsgeschichte Schleswig-Holsteins, Neumünster 2010, p. 159-184 (Studien zur Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte Schleswig-Holsteins; 46)

Policing Epizootics. Legislation and Administration during Outbreaks of Cattle Plague in Eighteenth-Century Northern Germany as Continuous Crisis Management, in: Karen Brown and Daniel Gilfoyle (eds.), Healing the Herds. Disease, Livestock Economies, and the Globalization of Veterinary Medicine, Athens/OH 2010, p. 76-91 (Series in Ecology and History)

Cattle Plague in Early Modern Germany: Environment and Economy / Knowledge and Power in a Time of Crisis, in: Bern Herrmann and Christine Dahlke (eds.), Elements – Continents. Approaches to Determinants of Environmental History and their Reifications, Stuttgart 2009, p. 235-240 (Nova Acta Leopoldina N.F. 98, 360)

together with Richard Hölzl: Global denken – Lokal forschen. Auf der Suche nach dem “kulturellen Dreh” in der Umweltgeschichte. Ein Literaturbericht In: WerkstattGeschichte 48 (2008), p.83-98

together with Katharina Engelken and Steffi Windelen (eds.), Beten, Impfen, Sammeln. Zur Viehseuchen- und Schädlingsbekämpfung in der frühen Neuzeit, Göttingen: Universitätsverlag 2007

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Dominik Hünniger

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