Doctoral Candidate (Gotha Research Centre)

Office hours

nach Vereinbarung

Visiting address

Forschungszentrum Gotha der Universität Erfurt (FZG)
Schloßberg 2
99867 Gotha

Mailing address

Forschungszentrum Gotha der Universität Erfurt (FZG)
Schloßberg 2
99867 Gotha

Curriculum Vitae

since June 2022
Scientific Assistant at the Gotha Research Centre of the University of Erfurt

since April 2021
Full Member of the Gotha Research Centre at the University of Erfurt

since July 2018
Member of the EPPP graduate centre "History of Knowledge in Modern Times" at the Gotha Research Centre of the University of Erfurt

June 2018 - May 2022
PhD scholarship of the Jutta-Heidemann-Foundation

Since January 2017
Doctoral studies at the University of Erfurt, dissertation topic: "Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Gotha and Altenburg (1745 - 1804) between science, politics, and secret society activities"

April 2016 - December 2020
Friedenstein Castle Foundation, employee in the Collections and Restoration Department.

October 2013 - March 2016
Master of Arts at the University of Erfurt in History Thesis topic: "The Ethiopian Journey of Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1862. Travels for the Public between Showmanship, Diplomacy and Science"

October 2013 - March 2014
Student teaching, contributing to a block seminar of several days as part of the Studium Fundamentale

July 2012 - July 2013
Student Council of the University of Erfurt, member of the Executive Board

October 2009 - September 2013
Bachelor of Arts at the University of Erfurt, major in History, minor in Religious Studies Thesis topic: "Autodafés in the Spanish Empire".

Research Interests

  • Enlightenment research
  • History of societies, history of Freemasonry and the Illuminati Order
  • Self-testimony research
  • Everyday life and cultural history
  • Court and residence research
  • (digital) editing

Research Project

"Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Gotha and Altenburg (1745 - 1804) between science, politics and secret society activities".

Reading about Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Gotha and Altenburg, one can see: The narrative of the enlightened prince, influenced by Masonic ideas, who turned more intensely to his passion for science and the Arts than to politics, has remained powerful to this day. Within historical research, this prince of the late 18th century has so far been considered primarily in his regional sphere of influence; his activities have often been studied in isolation from one another. As the ruler of a small central German principality, he presented himself - as was customary for the Ernestine family - as a patron of the arts and sought to enhance his reputation through close ties with scholars and artists. Through his participation in central political and social movements, he combined the most diverse aspects of Enlightenment behavior. As a high-ranking member of two important secret societies, the Freemasons and the Illuminati, Ernst was considered an influential, prominent figure in the arcane world of the late 18th century. With their political objectives, the Illuminati clearly differed from Freemasonry and were thus fundamentally opposed to the princely self-image. The activity in this secret society positioned Ernst as ruling duke between contradictory poles.

This tension is at the center of the emerging research work and refers to the central period of investigation from about 1783 to 1787. On the basis of his correspondence, it is asked on a micro level about the actions of the prince in these divergent areas of life of government and secret society activity and about their possible mutual influences. With its focus on the practice of letter writing, the work ties in with self-testimony research and with its biographical questioning with societal research. With this new perspective on its extensive correspondence, the project aims to contribute to new insights in Thuringian aristocratic and societal research.