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Katherine Aaslestad

Professor Emeritus of History

Teaching Fields

  • Modern Europe
  • Modern Germany
  • Nineteenth-Century Europe
  • War and Society


  • Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1997
  • M.A., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1987
  • B.A, Magna Cum Laude and Final Honors, Mary Washington College, 1985
  • Teaching Certificate in Graham Technique and Apprentice for Graham Dance Company, Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, New York, 1983-1985

Research Interests

Dr. Aaslestad specializes in modern Germany, in particular the long nineteenth century. Her most recent book, Revisiting Napoleon’s Continental System: Local, Regional, and European Experiences, presents essays by international scholars and analyzes the short and long-term consequences of the Continental System. Her earlier book, Place and Politics: Local Identity, Civic Culture, and German Nationalism in North Germany during the Revolutionary Era, explores the political culture of the Hanseatic city of Hamburg and examines the consequences of Napoleonic and international warfare on regional and civic identity in northern Germany. 

She also published articles in English, Spanish and German on republicanism, consumer culture, economic warfare, the commemoration of war, and war and gender. This research was supported by grants from the DAAD, German Academic Exchange Service, the American Scandinavian Foundation, and the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Her current research project, “After the Wars: German Central Europe after Napoleonic Conquest, 1815-1848,” explores the transition from war to peace after 1815 within the rich comparative framework of the German Confederation. Wartime experiences of military occupation, conscription, and mobilization for war against Napoleon generated a complex inheritance for civil-military relations and divided the European public sphere that debated the role of militarization in peacetime society. An intercultural and transnational comparison, this project demonstrates the centrality of warfare for the emergence of modern society, and explores the public's varied memories and perceptions of the place of soldiering in modern life.  She received a DAAD Research Grant, a Fulbright Flex Research Grant and a Honorary Fellowship and residency from the Historisches Kolleg in Munich to support the research of this work and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to complete it. She will be on Fellowship leave in 2020-2021.

She was profiled in 2014 by the American Historical Association. To learn more, visit the AHA’s  Member Spotlight page.

Courses Offered

  • HIST 102/HONS 102: Western Civilization, II
  • HIST 207/HONS 207: Nineteenth Century Europe
  • HIST 221: History of Modern Germany
  • HIST 317/517: German Central Europe: Empires, States and Nations, 1648-1900
  • HIST 318/518: German Central Europe in the Twentieth Century
  • HIST 421: Hitler and the Third Reich
  • HIST 422: Twentieth Century Germany
  • HIST 707: War and Society in a Transnational Context
  • HIST 717: Readings in Modern Europe
  • HIST 718: Seminar in Modern Europe

Graduate Students

Ph.D. Students

Autumn Mayle, PhD May 2020

John “Jack” Weaver (co-mentor with Max Flomen)

M.A. Students

Ann Fleming, May 2020

Ebony Martin

Selected Publications

Revisiting Napoleon’s Continental System: Local, Regional, and European Experiences, co-edited with Johan Joor (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

  Historica’s Women, 1000 Years of Women in History , chief consultant (Australia: Millennium House, 2007).

  Place and Politics: Local Identity, Civic Culture, and German Nationalism in North Germany during the Revolutionary Era (Leiden and Boston: Brill Press, 2005).

  Edited Journal Volumes

“Gender, War and the Nation in the Period of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars—European Perspectives,” co-edited with Karen Hagemann and Judith Miller, European History Quarterly 37/4 (October 2007).

  “Collaboration, Resistance, and Reform: Experiences and Historiographies of the Napoleonic Wars in Central Europe,” co-edited with Karen Hagemann, Central European History 39/4 (December 2006).

  Articles and Book Chapters

“Aide aux personnes dans la détresse à cause de la guerre : Un premier échange humanitaire transnational à la fin des guerres napoléoniennes,” in Special issue “L'Âge des révolutions : Rebonds transnationaux,” Annales historiques de la Révolution française, nº397 (March 2019) 171-192.

“Cities and War:  Modern Military Urbanism in Hamburg and Leipzig during the Napoleonic Era,” German History 35/3 (September 2017), 381-402.

  “Identifying a Post-War Period and the German Confederation:  Case Studies from the Hanseatic Cities 1813-1830" in Decades of Reconstruction: Postwar Societies from the 18th to the 20th Centuries , edited by Ute Planert and Jim Retallack, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 158-176.

  “Postwar Cities: The Cost of the Wars of 1813-1815 on Society in Hamburg and Leipzig," in War, Demobilization and Memory: The Legacy of War in the Era of Atlantic Revolutions, edited by Karen Hagemann and Michael Rowe (London: Palgrave, 2016), 220-237.

  “Serious Work for a New Europe: The Congress of Vienna after Two Hundred Years,”  Central European History 48/2 (2015), 224-237.

  “Citizenship in Action: Hanseatic Women’s Wartime Associations” in Gender in Urban Europe: Sites of Political Activity and Citizenship, 1750-1900 , edited by Krista Cowman, Nina Javette Koefoed, Asa Karlsson Sjogren (New York: Routledge, 2014), 124-140.

  “Revisiting Napoleon’s Continental System: Consequences of Economic Warfare,” in Revisiting Napoleon’s Continental System: Local Regional and European Experiences , edited by Katherine Aaslestad and Johan Joor (London: Palgrave, 2014), 1-22.

  “Napoleonic Rule in German Central Europe: Militarisation, Compliance, and Resistance” in The Napoleonic Empire and the New European Political Culture , edited by Michael Broers and Peter Hicks (London: Palgrave, 2013), 160-172.  

  “Krieg, Demobilisierung und Errinerungskultur in den republikanischen Stadtstaaten Hamburg, Bremen und Lübeck, 1813-1830,” in Kriegsenden, Nachkriegsordnungen, Folgekonflikte , Wege aus dem Krieg im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, edited by Jörg Echternkamp (Freiburg im Breisgau: Rombach Verlag, 2012), 53-74.

  "El dominio napoleonico en la Europa Central alemana: militarizacion, colaboracion y resistencia", en El imperio napoleonico y la nueva cultura europea, edited by Michael Broers, Agustin Guimera, and Peter Hicks (Madrid: Centro de Estudios Politicos e Institucionales, 2011), 245-258.

  “Patriotism in Practice: War and Gender Roles in Republican Hamburg 1750–1815,” in Gender, War and Politics , edited by Jane Rendall, Karen Hagemann, and Gisela Mettle (London: Palgrave, 2010), 227-246.

  “Lost Neutrality and Economic Warfare: Napoleonic Warfare in Northern Europe, 1795-1815,” in War in the Age of Revolution , 1775-1815 , edited by Roger Chickering and Stig Förster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 373-394.

“War without Battles: Civilian Experiences of French Economic Warfare in the Hanseatic Cities,”  in Soldiers, Citizens, and Civilians:  Experiences and Perceptions of the French Wars 1790-1820, edited by Alan Forrest, Karen Hagemann, and Jane Rendall (London: Palgrave, 2008), 118-136.

“Patriotism and Gender in Republican Hamburg 1750-1814,” European History Quarterly 37/4 (2007), 582-602.

  “The Continental System and Imperial Exploitation,” in Napoleon and the Empire , edited by Philip Dwyer and Alan Forrest (London: Palgrave, 2007), 114-132.

  “Krieg un d Identität in Hamburg: 1806, Wirtschaftskrieg und moderner hanseatischer Regionalismus,”   Hamburger Wirtschafts-Chronik Neue Folge 6 (2006), 45-75.

  “Paying for War: Experiences of Napoleonic Rule in the Hanseatic Cities,” Central European History 39/4 (December 2006), 641-675.

  “1 806 and its Aftermath: Revisiting the Period of the Napoleonic Wars in German Central European Historiography,” co-authored with Karen Hagemann, Central European History 39/4 (December 2006), 547-579.

   “ Sitten und Mode , Fashion, Gender, and Public Identities in Hamburg,” in Gender in Transition: Discourse and Practice in German-Speaking Europe, 1750-1830 , edited by Marion Gray and Ulrike Gleixner (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2006), 282-318.

  “Remembering and Forgetting: The Local and the Nation in Hamburg’s Commemorations of the Wars of Liberation,” Central European History 38/7 (September 2005), 384-416.

“Old Visions and New Vices: Republicanism and Civic Virtue in Hamburg’s Print Culture, 1790-1810,” in Patriotism, Cosmopolitanism, and National Culture: Public Culture in Hamburg, 1700-1933, edited by Peter Owe Hohenwald (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2003), 143-165.

“Material Identities:  Tradition, Gender, and Consumption in Early Nineteenth Century Hamburg” in The Selected Papers of the Consortium on Revolutionary Europe, Florida State University, 1998, 599-607.

Encyclopedia Articles

“Napoleonic Empire and Migration,” in Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration, edited by Immanuel Ness (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 2266-2270.

“Holy Roman Empire” and “Schleswig-Holstein” in Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World, 1750 to the Present, edited by Peter Stearns (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).