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Juniorprofessorin Dr. Verena Krebs


  • Verena Krebs is specialist for pre-modern African history, focussing especially on the medieval history of North-East Africa and the Horn. Trained as both a medievalist historian and art historian, her work is often of an interdisciplinary nature, incorporating material culture sources alongside written source material.
    In October 2017, she took up the W1 professorship for "Medieval Cultural Realms and their Entanglements" at Ruhr-University Bochum, where she pursues a research project on the gold and ivory trade between Africa and Europe in the Middle Ages.

    Transcultural history and the enanglements of geographically distant realms have always lain at the heart of her research. Her interdisciplinary PhD project, conducted in a co-tutelle between the University of Konstanz, Germany, and Mekelle University, Ethiopia, examined the diplomatic, commercial and artistic contacts between medieval Christian Ethiopia and Latin Europe. It especially focussed on the role of Western European religious material culture and artistic exchange in Ethiopia, and how foreign goods were utilised and instrumentalised by the Ethiopian late medieval court to further local goals and meet political demands within the North-East African highland kingdom. In 2016, it was awarded the the Förderpreis Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft award as best PhD thesis at University Konstanz; a reworked book manuscript is currently under review with an American university press.

    From 2014 to 2017, she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. From 2015 to 2018, she moreover joined "JewsEast - Jews and Christians in the East: Strategies of Interaction between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean" - a European Research Council project at the Center for Religious Studies, Ruhr University Bochum as an associate researcher. At JewsEast, she acted as resident material culture and digital humanities expert in addition to her expertise on medieval Ethiopian history, leading a first JewsEast fieldwork season investigating the material culture of the Ethiopian Jews to the Gondar area of Ethiopia in 2015.

  • Vita and Publications

  • Vita
    Positions and Research Fellowships

      since 2017 - W1 Professor at the Junior Professorship for "Medieval Cultural Realms and their Entanglements, Faculty of History, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany

      2015-2018 - Associate Researcher, Research Fellow, Center for Religious Studies, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany

      2016-2017 - Truman Research Fellow, Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

      2014-2017 - Martin Buber Fellow at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

      2012-2014 - Visiting researcher at the Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies, Hamburg University; specialist for object and artwork description for the European Research Council research project "ETHIO-SPARE: Cultural Heritage of Christian Ethiopia: Salvation, Preservation, Research" (Dr. Denis Nosnitsin)

      2011-2012 - Visiting researcher at the Department of History and Cultural Studies, Mek'elle University, Ethiopia

      2011 - Visiting researcher at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

    • Education and Degrees

    • 2010-2014 - Dr. phil. / PhD, summa cum laude, University of Konstanz, Germany, and Mekelle University, Ethiopia (bi-national degree)

    • 2007-2010 - M.A. in History with distinction, University of Konstanz, Germany (of this 8 months at University of York, UK, in the MA program Medieval History)

    • 2004-2007 - B.A. in Literature, Art and Media Studies with distinction, University of Konstanz, Germany

    • Publications

      Material Diplomacy: Culture Contact with Latin Christianity and Western Christian Art in Ethiopia, 1400-1550 (under review)

      Edited Volumes
      (forthcoming) Krebs, V. and Gnisci, J.: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the History of Art and Architecture in Ethiopia, Vienna, 2-6 September 2013, as a Special Issue of ITYOP̣IS – Northeast African Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities

      (in preparation) Krebs, V. and Girke, F.: Special issue “Untold Ethiopian Histories”, Journal for Eastern African Studies

      Journal Articles and Contributions (peer reviewed)
      • Krebs, V. and Kribus, B. ‘Betä Ǝsra’el (Ethiopian Jewish) Monastic Sites North of Lake Ṭana: Preliminary Results of an Exploratory Field Trip to Ethiopia in December 2015’, Entangled Religions. Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Religious Contact and Transfer. Special issue “Historical Engagements and Interreligious Encounters - Jews and Christians in Premodern and Early Modern Asia and Africa”, 6 (2018), 309-344. DOI:

      • Krebs, V. ‘Royal Ethiopian patronage and hybrid ‘färänğ’ styles: A new approach to art in Ethiopia, 1460-1530’, ITYOP̣IS – Northeast African Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (accepted for publication June 2016, in print).

      • Krebs, V. ‘Crusading threats? Ethiopian-Egyptian relations in the 1440s’, Crusading in Africa, ed. Benjamin Weber, Toulouse: Presses Univesitaires du Midi 2018 (accepted for publication August 2017, in print).

      • Krebs, V. ‘Re-examining Foresti’s Supplementum Chronicarum and the ‘Ethiopian’ embassy to Europe of 1306’ (under R&R review with the Bulletin of SOAS since January 2018).

      • Krebs, V. ‘Diplomacy as a means to an end: Solomonic Ethiopian interest and involvement in Western Europe in the 15th and early 16th century’ (submitted to the Journal for Eastern African Studies in June 2018).

      • Krebs, V. and Smidt, W. ‘From Venice to Ethiopia and Back Again: A trilingual vocabulary and travelogue showing early 15th century trade contacts between Ethiopia and Western Europe’, joint article with Wolbert Smidt, Mekelle University, Ethiopia (to be submitted to the Journal of African History in July 2018).

      Journal articles (not peer reviewed)
      • ‘Äthiopien und Europa: Mittelalterliche Kontakte und ihr Einfluss auf die Äthiopische Kunst’, in: Kirche und Schule in Äthiopien 63 (2010).