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Philipp Roessner

Prof, Dr. phil. habil. (Habilitation)

Personal profile


I hold two Ph.D.s, one being in Economic History (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh / UK, 2007): for a thesis on Scottish overseas trade in the eighteenth century); the other being a higher doctorate (common across continental Europe, antiquated and comparable to what you may call D.Litt) in Social and Economic History (Dr. phil. habil., 2011) awarded for a thesis on "Deflation - Devaluation - Rebellion" from the Universität Leipzig in 2011. For the latter I studied the connections between coin debasement and popular unrest in fifteenth- and sixteenth century Germany.  In 2012 I was appointed Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Manchester and in 2017 promoted to Senior Lecturer.

I was recently elected as the first historian ever into the "Young Academy" of the Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig (Saxon Academy of Sciences).

I am currently serving on the editorial board of two academic monograph series: The "Studien zur Gewerbe- und Handelsgeschichte der vorindustriellen Zeit (SGHVZ)", as well as the "Beiträge zur Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte". I am also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (Scotland), as well as member of several academic societies in the field of economic and global history.

My senior doctoral thesis / Habilitationsschrift (P. R. Rössner, Deflation - Devaluation - Rebellion. Geld im Zeitalter der Reformation (Stuttgart, 2012) was awarded the Walter-Hävernick Prize of theNumismatische Kommission / Commission of Numismatists of the Federal Republic of Germany, a prize awarded biennally for the best monograph on monetary history & numismatics published in Germany.

I have also won a Heisenberg Fellowship (Heisenbergstipendium) by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), which took me as research professor to the Universitaet Leipzig in 2013-2015. 

I have published, amongst other things, four scholarly monographs and five edited collections on (1) Early modern British commerce and economy (focus on Scotland), (2) late medieval and early modern German monetary problems and monetary history, and (3) the history of economic thought, with a focus on early modern mercantilism, Cameralism and "Economic Reason of State Theory" (nowadays - and totally counterintuitively - classified as "heterodox"; it used to be mainstream not that long ago). I am currently completing my fifth research monograph which will be a long-term comparative European study on the role of the state and the rise of modern capitalism, 1350-2016.

I am also co-editor of the first complete translation from German into English of Werner Sombart, Der moderne Kapitalismus, vols. I and II (4th ed. Munich: Duncker & Humblot, 1921).

Research interests


Research Statement

I am happy to supervise postgraduate students in any field that relates to my two areas of specialization (see research tab).


I have three areas of specialization: (1) early modern British economic history, especially eighteenth-century Scotland; (2) early modern German economic and social history, especially sixteenth-century monetary history and economic history in general. (3) But I have also started to make some inroads into the history of pre-classical political economy. I am especially interested in Cameralism (usually known as the continental variant of Mercantilism), a very peculiar political economy which has received much unduly negative acclaim in recent years by scholars who have completely misunderstood the concept and its working mechanisms, especially by abusing the terminus technicus Policey and mis-representing its institutional as well as discoursive consequences in early modern political economy and economic life. Some have suggested that the German political economy and political theory ofPolicey would translate into something like "police" or "police state" which, apart from being a more than unlucky (in fact wrong) translation, has led to the most bizarre interpretations of Cameralist science and political economy in the recent literature.

I have just completed my fourth monograph which is an introduction to Martin Luther's economic thought and which will come out later on in 2014. I am planning to expand my studies on the culture and anthropology of money and the economics of the German Reformation (1517), derived from my past work (2007-2012) on the problems of coin debasement, deflation and social unrest in the German lands on the eve of the Lutheran reformation.

I hosted an international conference at Leipzig in July 2014 on Mercantilism, Cameralism and the Origins of Modern Political Economy the proceedings of which will be published with Routledge in 2016. I have also prepared a commented new translation (transl. Keith Tribe) of Philip Wilhelm von Hornick, 'Austria above All' (1684) - which was at its time the most successful and widely-read pamphlet in economics prior to Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations".

Further information


1. Expertise

Public Lectures


2. Fields of Expertise

Money, Cultural and Economic History of Money, Money as a Travelling Object in the Early Modern World

Trade, Commerce, Integration, Connections - History of Early Globalization (Germany, Portugal, 1500-1800)

History of the German Reformation (1517), especially monetary issues

Scottish History (1600-1800)

3. Languages

German (native), French, Spanish, Portuguese (basic reading), Latin (fluent reading), Classical Greek (basic reading)

4. Experience

Member, international advisory panel Scottish Historical Review Trust

Member, international advisory panel Annales Mercaturae

Expert referee for State of Saxony / Landesstelle für Museumswesen (Department of Museums and Public Exhibitions:

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Letters, Dr. phil. habil. (Habilitation), Universitat Leipzig


Award Date: 1 Dec 2011

Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D. Economic History, University of Edinburgh

Feb 20032007

Award Date: 26 Jun 2007

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Creative Manchester


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