Welcome to the website of the historian Bodie A. Ashton. From here, you can keep track of my latest publications and speaking engagements, see what I’ve been up to, and contact me regarding commissions, consultancies, and any other enquiries.
Hello! I am Bodie Alexander Ashton (he/him), a historian in Lower Bavaria. I am a joint British and Australian citizen, having been raised and educated in Adelaide, South Australia. I attended Adelaide’s St. Peter’s College, before studying at the University of Adelaide, where I received my Bachelor of Arts (History/German) in 2007, a First-Class Honours degree in History in 2008, and my Ph.D. in History in 2014. With a range of experience as a researcher, author, lecturer, editor, and speaker, I am also available for historical consultancy and lectures.
Having completed my undergraduate degree in 2007, I was accepted into the University of Adelaide Honours programme, in which I wrote my dissertation (‘Stalin’s Bitter Pill: Ideology, Diplomacy, and the Nazi-Soviet Pact’) under the supervision of the Russian historian Associate Professor Frederic S. Zuckerman. With this dissertation, I achieved First-Class Honours and, in the next year, I commenced my doctoral candidature, supervised by Professor Robin Prior and Dr. Gareth Pritchard. I was awarded my doctorate in 2014 with a dissertation entitled ‘The Kingdom of Württemberg and the Making of Germany, 1815-1871.’ This formed the basis of my first monograph.
My first monograph, The Kingdom of Württemberg and the Making of Germany, 1815-1871, was published by Bloomsbury Publishing in 2017. Since its appearance on shelves, it has received positive reviews in a number of highly-esteemed academic publications, including European History Quarterly, German History, The Journal of European Studies, and H-German. In 2018, CHOICE named The Kingdom of Württemberg and the Making of Germany, 1815-1871 an ‘Outstanding Academic Title of 2017’, calling it ‘lucid and thoroughly researched.’
Beyond this, I have published articles in the Giornale di storia costituzionale and the Flinders Journal of History & Politics, as well as a number of reviews in The American Historical Review, European History Quarterly, German Studies Review, German History, and The German Quarterly. I have also contributed to contemporary discussion of the place of history in society, including a post on the University of Sheffield’s History Matters blog on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain.
I have wide-ranging expertise in historical fields. By training, I am a historian of Germany, ranging from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. I have experience in the analysis and interpretation of diplomatic, political, social, military, literary, cultural, and other media sources. In addition, my research interests extend to political ideology, imperialism and colonialism, and LGBTIQ+ history, with a geographical span of Western Europe (including Great Britain), as well as Russia. I have demonstrable experience researching in archives around the world. I am fluent in both spoken and written English and German.
I am currently a lecturer and researcher at the Faculty of Law at the Universität Passau, in Lower Bavaria.
Between 2016 and 2018 I was employed as the professional academic editor on the European Research Council-funded project Reconsidering Constitutional Formation (ReConFort), based at the Universität Passau. This project aims to provide a comprehensive reappraisal of the constitutional building blocks that make up European historical heritage and legal identity.
I am also a historical consultant for The David Roche Foundation, in North Adelaide, Australia. The Foundation is a private cultural heritage gallery and museum that houses the most significant private collection of French, Russian, English, and German eighteenth- and nineteenth-century artworks in the Southern Hemisphere.
Previously, I have worked as a historical consultant for the Sir John Monash Centre, an Australian war memorial and education centre in Villers-Bretonneux. I have also acted as a research assistant for a number of projects conducted by colleagues at the University of Adelaide.
I have extensive experience teaching undergraduate students at a university level. In 2019 I am teaching the English-language course ‘Comparative Constitutional Discourse in the Long Eighteenth Century’ as part of the Universität Passau’s Faculty of Law Certificate of Studies in European, Comparative and International Law (CECIL) programme, having previously taught the same subject in 2018. In Winter Semester 2018/19 I taught both a German-language legal history course (‘Verfassungs- und Staatstheorie’) for the Faculty of Law, as well as an English argumentation course for the Universität Passau’s Sprachenzentrum (Languages Centre). In previous years, I have taught and/or assessed a wide range of courses at the University of Adelaide and Flinders University of South Australia, with both junior and senior students.
I am a frequent and enthusiastic contributor to academic conferences, and I have given papers in Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Germany, the United States, and Poland.
Beyond my engagement in history, I am an avid reader, with my tastes ranging from Goethe and Schiller to modern science fiction (in particular the space opera of Iain M. Banks); I’m also an unapologetic Trekkie! I have an enduring love of coffee, and my free time is often a combination of the two: sitting with a freshly-brewed espresso, reading. When I’m not doing this, I am a keen photographer and I enjoy travelling.
Utilising diplomatic records, diaries, newspapers, and a wealth of other resources, this book reevaluates the process of the German unification (Reichsgründung) of 1870-1, through the prism of the southwest German Kingdom of Württemberg. Listed as a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title for 2017, recommended as ‘nothing less than the current state of research on the history of nineteenth-century Württemberg’ (European History Quarterly) and a book ‘that should be included on all reading lists devoted to German history between 1815 and 1871’ (Journal of European Studies), The Kingdom of Württemberg and the Making of Germany is available in hardback, paperback, and e-book from Bloomsbury Publishing.
Select reviews for The Kingdom of Württemberg and the Making of Germany, 1815-1871
It is hard to give this book sufficient praise; lucid and thoroughly researched, it brings the past to life, and the sections on politics, economic growth (or the absence of it in southern Germany), and warfare are equally effective. If the unification of Germany came in a way that was unexpected (the author notes in closing), what came afterward was equally unpredictable. Summing up: Highly recommended.
—Stephen Bailey, CHOICE
[Ashton] offers in a concise way a good overview of Württemberg’s room for manoeuvre and initiatives with regard to the German Question between 1815 and 1871. Alternatives and missed chances are, in this way, made clear. Ashton convincingly shows that the path to a Prussian-dominated foundation of the German empire was not inevitable.
— Henning Türk, German History
Some readers will be familiar with Abigail Green’s Fatherlands: State-Building and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), an excellent ground-breaking study of Württemberg in this period. Ashton builds on Green’s work and offers a fascinating analysis of Württemberg’s German policy between the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and the unification of Germany. […] Ashton’s book should be included on all reading lists devoted to German history between 1815 and 1871.
— Joachim Whaley, Journal of European Studies
[Ashton’s] compact and tightly-written book is based upon the evaluation of comprehensive archival materials from archives in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and Britain, the analysis of newspapers and unpublished source materials as well as the reappraisal of the research literature. With his book, Bodie A. Ashton achieves an important contribution to German and regional history of the nineteenth century. The reading of the book is recommended.
— Ursula Rombeck-Jachinski, H-German
This comprehensive book represents nothing less than the current state of research on the history of nineteenth-century Württemberg, and it will surely find readers in the other remaining Mittelstaaten as well.
— Ulf Morgenstern, European History Quarterly
Bodie A. Ashton, Amy Bonsall, and Jonathan Hay (eds.), Talking Bodies, vol. II: Bodily Languages, Selfhood and Transgression (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).
This volume brings together scholars from across disciplines and continents in order to continue to analyse, query, and deconstruct the complexities of bodily existence in the modern world. Comprising nine essays by leading and emerging scholars, and spanning issues ranging from literature, history, sociology, medicine, law and justice and beyond, Talking Bodies vol. II is a timely and prescient addition to the vital discussion of what bodies are, how we perceive them, and what they mean. As the essays of this volume demonstrate, it is imperative to question numerous established presumptions about both the manner by which our bodies perform their identities, and the processes by which their ownership can be impinged upon.
Hardback and ebook editions are now available from Palgrave Macmillan.
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Kingship, Sexuality and Courtly Masculinity: Frederick the Great and Prussia on the Cusp of Modernity’, ANU Historical Journal II 1 (2019): 109-35.
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘“Subjects of our most gracious Majesty”: Constitutionalism and Constitutionalisation in South Australia Colony: An Agenda for Future Research’, Giornale di Storia Costituzionale 37, no. 1 (2019): 243-61.
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Constitutionalism as a Force of Popular Loyalty: Constitutional and Unconstitutional Württemberg in the Nineteenth Century’, Giornale di storia costituzionale 34, no. 2 (2017): 137-60.
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘In Defence of Paul Ham: History as Its Own Worst Enemy’, Flinders Journal of History & Politics 31 (2015): 3-14.
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Retrospective: Jonathan Brent and Vladimir P. Naumov’s Stalin’s Last Crime: The Plot against the Jewish Doctors 1948-1953, Ten Years Later’, Flinders Journal of History & Politics 29 (2013): 2-7.
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Review: Paul Fox, The Image of the Soldier in German Culture, 1871-1933 (London: Bloomsbury, 2018)’, European History Quarterly 50, no. 1 (2020): 152-4.
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Review: Anna Ross, Beyond the Barricades: Government and State-Building in Post-Revolutionary Prussia, 1848-1858 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019)’, European History Quarterly 49, no. 4 (2019): 713-15.
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Review: A. Wess Mitchell, The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018)’, European History Quarterly 49, no. 3 (2019): 522-3.
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Review: Benjamin Carter Hett, The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power (London: William Heinemann, 2018), European History Quarterly 49, no. 2 (2019): 322-4.
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Review: Sebastian Heer, Parlamentsmanagement: Herausbildungs- und Funktionsmuster parlamentarischer Steuerungsstrukturen in Deutschland vom Reichstag bis zum Bundestag (Düsseldorf: Droste, 2015)’, American Historical Review 123, no. 4 (2018): 1411-12.
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Review: Laurence Cole, Military Culture and Popular Patriotism in Late Imperial Austria (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)’, European History Quarterly 48, no. 3 (2018): 551-3.
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Review: Susan Richter, Pflug und Steuerruder: Zur Verflechtung von Herrschaft und Landwirtschaft in der Aufklärung (Cologne, Weimar and Vienna: Böhlau, 2015)’, German Studies Review 40, no. 2 (2017): 411-13.
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Review: Brian E. Vick, The Congress of Vienna: Power and Politics after Napoleon (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2014)’, German History 33, no. 2 (2015): 294-6.
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Review: Barbara Eichner, History’s Mighty Sounds: Musical Constructions of German National Identity 1848-1914 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2012)’, German History 31, no. 4 (2013): 585-6.
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Review: Sebastian Conrad, German Colonialism: A Short History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012); and Christian S. Davis, Colonialism, Anti-Semitism, and Germans of Jewish Descent in Imperial Germany (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2012)’, The German Quarterly 85, no. 3 (2012): 368-70.
Media, Blogs, Other
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘State of Nature: The Australian Federal Government would do well to remember some ideas from Western state philosophy, such as Bodin, Hobbes and Locke, especially when it comes to the responsibilities of a government’, Digitales Forschungsmagazin, Universität Passau (17 January 2020).
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Naturzustand: Die australische Regierung sollte sich ein paar Ideen von westlichen Staatstheoretikern wie Bodin, Hobbes und Locke zu Gemüte führen – insbesondere wenn es um die Pflichten einer Regierung geht’, Digitales Forschungsmagazin, Universität Passau (17 January 2020).
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘I’m Doing What the Australian Government Won’t — Telling the Truth about the Climate Crisis: Scott Morrison is dangerously downplaying the climate crisis – forcing people like me to tell the world the truth’, The Independent (7 January 2020).
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Australia is Burning: une perspective australienne’, Le Grand Continent (5 January 2020).
Bodie A. Ashton and Caroline Dodds Pennock. ‘Why We, As Academics, Created a Letter in Support of LGBT+ Rights: Our trans colleagues in higher education face constant fear of marginalisation. But many more of us support them. It’s time to confront the narrative’, The Independent (23 June 2019).
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘The Past is not a Straight Line’, History Matters: History Brought Alive by the University of Sheffield (13 July 2017).
Bodie A. Ashton, ‘Stop Tinkering with School History, and Start Teaching It’, The Conversation (2 January 2014).
So it has been a very (very, very) long time since I’ve updated my site, which should most definitely change as of now. There is plenty to talk about and…honestly, lots of time, but let’s pretend there isn’t in fact all that much. What’s been going on? First of all, I have a book out! …
A little over a week ago, 34 UK-based academics signed an open letter, printed in the Sunday Times, in which they argued (among other things) that respecting the identities of trans and gender-diverse students and colleagues, including their pronouns and names, constituted an intolerable restriction on “free speech” and “academic freedom.” This is not the …
Once upon a time, I began work on Frederick the Great. I wasn’t quite sure where it would lead me, but Frederick has always fascinated me. Christopher Clark has previously noted that the first three kings in/of Prussia — Frederick I, Frederick William I, and Frederick II (the Great) — offer us a curious historical …
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Bodie A. Ashton
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