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Luca Scholz

Luca Scholz

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford Humanities Center
Lecturer, Department of History
Ph.D. European University Institute
M.A. École des hautes études en sciences sociales and University of Heidelberg
B.A. University of Heidelberg

I work on the history of early modern Europe, combining social, legal and intellectual history with spatial and digital methods.

My first book, The Enclosure of Movement (forthcoming with Oxford University Press), retraces the history of the modern state’s grasp over flows of goods and people, particularly during the early modern period. After having dug through more than twenty archives between the Alps and the North Sea, I am able to show how travelers, jurists and officials negotiated passage and obstruction on the roads and rivers of the Old Reich, one of the pre-modern world’s most fragmented regions. I do this with particular reference to safe-conduct, that is, the quasi-sovereign right to escort travelers and to levy duties on passing goods and people. My book challenges conventional conceptions of pre-modern statehood, and offers a new account of how early modern polities claimed and disputed rights of passage.

I use geospatial and distant reading approaches to explore phenomena that escape the grasp of conventional scholarship. I have completed statistical, geospatial, and computational training at Heidelberg, Columbia, and Stanford. Within Stanford’s Spatial History Project, I lead a digital mapping project that uses GIS and other digital tools to create new maps of old-regime Europe. Together with colleagues at Stanford and other institutions, I recently won a substantial grant for a collaborative digital history project on mobility in the early modern world. My digital research uses advanced computing to gain a more faithful understanding of pre-modern political geography, to retrace the ways in which goods and people travelled through the physical landscape, and to uncover broad spatial and temporal trends in intellectual history.

I have designed and taught numerous lecture and seminar classes for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students at Stanford, Berlin, and Florence, on different aspects of early modern history, on spatial history and on the digital humanities. I also acted as co-director of Stanford’s Digital Humanities Graduate Fellowship Program.

I earned a PhD in History from the European University Institute, a MA in History from the École des hautes études en sciences sociales and University of Heidelberg, as well as a BA in Economics from that same university. Before moving to California, I taught at the Free University of Berlin. I have also been a visiting scholar at the University of Saint Andrews and at Columbia University.

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Selected Publications:

The Enclosure of Movement. Borders and Mobility in the Holy Roman Empire (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

“Deceptive Contiguity. Polygons in Early Modern Spatial History” Cartographica. The International Journal for Geographic Information and Geovisualization (forthcoming)

“La strada proibita. L’uso delle strade nel Sacro Romano Impero in epoca moderna” Quaderni Storici, 53 (2018) 2, 335-352. [The Forbidden Road. On the Use of Roads in the Early Modern Holy Roman Empire]

“Leibeigenschaft rechtfertigen. Kontroversen um Ursprung und Legitimität der Leibeigenschaft im Wildfangstreit”, Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung, 45 (2018) 1, 41-81. [Justifying Serfdom. Controversies on the Origins and Legitimacy of Serfdom in the Wildfang Dispute]

“Le passeport insulté. Lettres de passage et ambiguïté territoriale dans le Saint-Empire au XVIIe siècle”, in: Bretschneider, Falk and Duhamelle, Christophe (eds.): Le Saint-Empire, histoire sociale (XVIe-XVIIIe siècles) (Paris: Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 2018), 185-198. [The Insulted Passport. Letters of Passage and Territorial Ambiguity in the Old Reich of the Seventeenth Century]
“Protection and the Channelling of Movement on the Margins of the Holy Roman Empire”, in: Attwood, Bain, Benton, Lauren, and Clulow, Adam (eds.): Protection and Empire. A Global History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 13-28.
“Frei und sicher? Geleitschutz und Bewegungshoheit im Alten Reich des späten 16. Jahrhunderts”, in: Christian Windler, Nadir Weber, Tilman Haug (eds.): Protegierte und Protektoren (Cologne, Weimar, Vienna: Böhlau, 2016), 333-348. [Free and Safe? Safe Conduct and the Control of Movement in the Old Reich of the Late Sixteenth Century]