Dr. Samuel Weber

Dozent II
Im FS24 Vertretung von Prof. Dr. Christian Windler

Abteilung für Neuere Geschichte

+41 31 684 36 55
B 010, Unitobler, Länggassstrasse 49
Universität Bern
Historisches Institut
Länggassstrasse 49
3012 Bern
2014 – 2019 Ph.D., History, University of Bern, Switzerland, and University of Durham, U.K. Ph.D. Thesis: “Pining for Stability: The Borromeo Family and the Crisis of the Spanish Monarchy, 1610–1680,” under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Christian Windler (Bern) and Dr. Toby Osborne (Durham)
2012–2014 M.A., History, University of Bern, Switzerland
2008–2011 B.A. (Hons), History with American Studies, Plymouth University, U.K.

I am a social and cultural historian of early modern Europe with a particular interest in the nobility and religion. My work often approaches these subjects with the help of theoretical concepts from sociology, art history, and anthropology.

My first monograph, Aristocratic Power in the Spanish Monarchy: The Borromeo Brothers of Milan, 1620-1680 (OUP, 2023), offers a fresh take on the transformation of the warrior nobility into a court aristocracy in the seventeenth century. It locates the birth of the service nobility in the trough of the crisis of legitimacy that the government of minister-favorites ushered in across Western Europe in the 1640s. By that time, the war mongering of the warrior nobility had fostered widespread opposition to the rule of an elite who purported to govern in the name of the collective good but all too often seemed more interested in its own social advancement. That resistance from below spawned a reinvention of nobles as disinterested princely servants committed to the good governance of the king’s commonwealth. Using the Borromeo family from Spanish Milan as a case study, Aristocratic Power in the Spanish Monarchy shows how a governing class under pressure from below gave its rule a facelift that changed early modern societies forever.

More recently, I have developed an interest in Catholic cults and their relationship with media. After work on the cult of saints and the Immaculate Conception of Mary, I have embarked on a project tentatively titled Burning Hearts: The Second Media Revolution and the Making of the Cult of the Sacred Heart, c.1670–1800. Using the cult of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as an example, the project probes the umbilical link between Catholic piety and new forms of media production and consumption emerged in the long eighteenth century. The main sources used are the media produced to promote veneration to the Sacred Heart, including devotional tracts and periodicals, portable images and devotional objects. Drawing on approaches from religious media studies, the project seeks to understand the emotional, sensorial, and cognitive effects these media had on their consumers. Though grounded in religious history, the project promises to tell us much about media consumption and “public-making” in the long eighteenth century.

Samuel Weber. Aristocratic Power in the Spanish Monarchy: The Borromeo Brothers of Milan, 16201680. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023.

Samuel Weber. “The Dissolution of the Jesuits and the Birth of an Antisemitic Conspiracy Theory in the Age of Enlightenment.Age of Revolutions, January 16, 2023

Samuel Weber. “Una mater litigans nella Roma chigiana: Giovanna Cesi in Borromeo (1598–1672) e il 'misconoscimento' del potere femminile nella corte pontificia di metà Seicento." Dimensioni e problemi della ricerca storica 2 (2021): 217–250.

Samuel Weber. "Ein Verteidiger adliger 'Interessen' gegen republikanische 'Leidenschaften': Nuntius Federico Borromeo als Akteur im Zwyerhandel (1656–1659)." In Beobachten, Vernetzen, Verhandeln: Diplomatische Akteure und politische Kulturen in der frühneuzeitlichen Eidgenossenschaft, edited by Philippe Rogger and Nadir Weber, 45–67. Basel: Schwabe, 2018.