Andrew Zonderman


BA in History, Duke University, 2010

Research Interests

Eighteenth-Century Europe
Great Britain

Dissertation Topic

"Embracing Empire: Eighteenth-Century German Migrants and the Development of the British Imperial Project"

Faculty Advisor

James V.H. Melton


My dissertation explores how the migrations of German-speaking merchants, missionaries, soldiers, and borderland settlers throughout the eighteenth-century British Empire shaped that imperial project. And, at the same time, how these migrants transmitted their experiences back to Central Europe and influenced the German-speaking public's understanding of empire and future imperial ambitions. Various British institutions and agents, from the East India Company to colonial governors to private merchants, promoted and attempted to direct these migrations. The migrants’ labor and skills offered a means to stabilize and expand the eighteenth-century British Empire’s authority, even while occasionally undermining it. The dissertation brings voice to one of the largest partners in building the British Empire, and certainly the most unexamined one; and challenges views that German-speaking peoples before the nineteenth century had limited personal engagement with overseas colonialism.

My research has been generously supported by a number of organizations including: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), German Historical Institute (Washington, D.C.), Central European History Society, Library Company of Philadelphia, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.