Personal profile


Felicia Gottmann is Associate Professor of History and PI of the UKRI FLF Project ‘Migration, Adaptation, Innovation 1500-1800’. Her research interests lie in the global and transnational history of early modern Europe.

Felicia joined Northumbria in January 2018. Before this she held posts at the Universities of Dundee (Leverhulme ECR Fellow, 2014-2017) and Warwick (Research Fellow, 2010-2014), having completed her DPhil at the University of Oxford in 2010.



Felicia studies the global and transnational movements of goods, people, ideas, and technology to elucidate the transformational processes of early modernity: globalisation, commercialisation, technological innovation, nation building, and the development of political economy as a discipline.

She is PI of the UKRI Future Leaders’ Fellowship Project ‘Migration, Adaptation, Innovation 1500-1800’. Working as a team with two postdocs, a PhD student and multiple partner organisations both in the region and internationally, the project investigates the historical link between migration and technological innovation. Combining case studies from Europe, the Islamic World, and East Asia, the team will identify the mechanisms underpinning the success and failure both of the integration of the migrant and the adaptation and diffusion of his or her skills and outputs.

She is also in working on a book based on research funded by the Leverhulme Trust which investigates the interlinkages of Europe’s various East India Companies. It uses the underresearched Prussian East India Company, a multinational enterprise trading to India and China in the 1750s, to analyse the interplay between transnational capital, highly mobile expertise, state institutions, and corporate enterprise which formed the matrix for much of Europe’s early modern imperial and economic expansion. Political economy is a vital component of these processes and her abiding interest in this topic stems from her PhD thesis, which investigated the place of global trade and consumption in the political economy of the European Enlightenment.

After finishing her DPhil Felicia was part of a major ERC-funded project studying European-Asian trade. Based on this research her monograph Global Trade, Smuggling, and the Making of Economic LiberalismAsian Textiles in France 1680-1760 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) investigates the material culture of French-Asian commerce. Focussing on the global trade in Asian textiles, the book explores its impact on the early modern French state: on its practices of policing, its industrial and scientific programmes, on knowledge transfer and industrial espionage, on smuggling, consumer cultures, and popular resistance, and on the development of Enlightenment economic liberalism.



Felicia enjoys teaching both early modern global history and European cultural, economic, and intellectual history. Using non-textual sources, material culture in particular, always plays a major part in her teaching which has won funding for its innovative approach to student-led material culture research. She has taught on and lead several optional and core modules at undergraduate and masters level including HI7005: Digital History; HI4008: Cultures, Structures, and Ideas; and HI4006: Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe 1200-1720.

Her level 5 module HI5037 ‘Globalising Worlds: Objects, People and Ideas, 1600–1800’, introduces students to the different ways of studying the global connections of the early modern world ranging from food history, material culture, and the history of migration, to environmental history, religion and revolution and includes visits to Archives and Museums.

Her level 6 module (HI6034) entitled ‘Big Business in Asia? The European East India Companies, 1600–1800’ gives students the opportunity to develop their own primary-source based research into the worlds of these first multinationals.


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 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Education/Academic qualification

BA (Hons), University of Oxford

MSt, University of Oxford

DPhil, University of Oxford


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