Humboldt Foundation Fellow Conducting Research at Greifswald’s Department of History

Prof. Dr. Marten Seppel – Photo: Magnus Schult, University of Greifswald

Professor Seppel is Associate Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Tartu in Estonia. After studying History in Tartu and Cambridge, he did his doctorate in Estonia. This was followed by periods of stay abroad as a researcher and postdoc in Göttingen, Konstanz, London and Sweden. Martin Seppel was lecturer of modern history at the University of Tartu for several years. It was here that he was appointed the title of associate professor in 2015. His key fields of research are serfdom and demesne farming in the territories east of the Elbe (Ostelbien) in the early modern period, famines in northern Europe and aspects of early modern nation-building such as cameralism, medicine, famine relief or agricultural politics.

The Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers enables highly qualified, foreign early-career researchers with doctorates to carry out a research project of their choice in Germany. During his period of research, Professor Seppel will write a historical observation on serfdom. For this he will examine the ideas and ideologies of serfdom and its dissemination between the 16th and 18th Centuries.  The administrative and public debates on serfdom in the regions on the southern and eastern coasts of the Baltic Sea, stretching from Pomerania, via East Prussia and Livonia to Russia, will be at the focus of his investigations.

Close ties between Professor North from the Department of History and scholars from Tartu were decisive factors for Professor Seppel’s decision to choose the University of Greifswald for his research. ‘Professor North has extensive expertise in the field of demesne farming in the territories east of the river Elbe. It therefore made sense for me to contact him when I was applying for the Humboldt fellowship,’ explains Prof. Seppel. And also the archives and the libraries in Greifswald and the surrounding area provide him with perfect conditions for collecting and analysing source materials. At the same time, he enjoys working in a small town: ‘I really feel at home here. Greifswald is quiet in the best of ways. The town reminds me of the prettiest parts of my home town, Tallinn, and of Tartu, where I have lived for the past twenty years.’

The Department of History welcomes its new guest and is looking forward to exciting research impulses. ‘We are proud that with Professor Seppel’s decision to come to Greifswald for his Humboldt Fellowship, the Department of History has attracted another internationally recognised and leading researcher. This shows that we are acknowledged at an international level and Greifswald is an attractive location for international researchers when conducting research into the Baltic Sea Region,’ says the content host, Prof. Michael North, Head of the Department of History.

Further Information

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables 2,000 researchers from all over the world to come to Germany for a period of academic stay. The foundation maintains a network of more than 28,000 Humboldt Fellows from all subject areas in more than 140 countries - including 55 Nobel laureates. 

Media Photo

Contact at the University of Greifswald

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael North
Head of Department
Department of History
Domstraße 9 A
17489 Greifswald
Tel.: +3834 420 3309
Department of History

Prof. Dr. Marten Seppel
Tel.: +3834 420 3309