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School of History, Philosophy and Culture
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 483484
Professor Dillinger received his doctorate from Trier University. He taught at Trier University, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Georgetown University, Stanford University, and Nehru University (New Delhi). In 2000 and 2001 Dillinger worked as a Visiting Resarch Fellow at the German Historical Institute, Washington DC. Dillinger received both elite scholarships of the German Research Foundation (Noether and Heisenberg). Mainz University granted him an honorary professorship.
Dillinger is mainly interested in early modern history. He is currently working on the history of early modern terrorism, the cult of relics and a microstudy of a border community between France and Germany.
Main research interests include:
First, this chapter explores political violence in the late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Era. Even though the term “terrorism” did not exist before the French Revolution, political phenomena that closely resembled various forms of modern day terrorism were known and feared since the fourteenth century. The late Middle Ages and the early modern period witnessed the assassinations of numerous princes. The authorities as well as the populace feared organized gangs of criminals in the pay of rival political or religious leaders. These gangs were said to attack the civilian population using arson and mass poisoning in order to destabilize whole states. The fear of the terrorist “state destroyer” was part and parcel of state building from its very beginning. Secondly, the chapter discusses nineteenth-century historiography about early modern political violence. Nineteenth-century historians refused to interpret early modern political crime as terrorism: they denounced it either as lacking any political concept, or they vindicated it as justifiable resistance.
Dillinger's PhD thesis, a comparative study of 1300 witch-trials in two German principalities, won the Friedrich Spee Award for outstanding contributions to the historiography of witchcraft and the prize for the best PhD thesis of Trier University. An English translation has been published under the title '"Evil People"A Comparative Study of Witch-Hunts in Swabian Austria and the Electorate of Trier.' Dillinger received the most prestigious scholarships of the German Research Foundation (Noether and Heisenberg) as well as the Andrew Mellow Grant of the Massachusetts Historical Society.