Institute for Economic and Social History

Dr. Robert Bernsee

Research interests

  • History of corruption and ethics
  • Political, administrative and legal history from the 18th to the 20th century
  • History of intellectual property
  • Economic history of the creative industries

  • Copyrights in Predigitalia: an economic and cultural history in transatlantic perspective, 1945-1990 (current book project)

Academic Employment

  • Since 2016 Research associate and lecturer at the Institute for Economic and Social History, University of Göttingen
  • 2014-2016 Research associate and lecturer, Department of History/Faculty of Arts, Heidelberg University
  • 2011-2014 Research associate in a binational research project on political corruption in France and Germany, Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany/University of Avignon, France
  • 2009-2012 Research associate, Department of History, Darmstadt University of Technology


  • 2014 Ph.D. in History, Darmstadt University of Technology
  • 2015 Diplom-Volkswirt, Heidelberg University (equivalent to a M.Sc. in Economics alongside with a B.Sc.)
  • 2009 Magister Artium in History, University of Freiburg (equivalent to a M.A. in History alongside with a B.A.)
  • 2003 Betriebswirt (BA), Berufsakademie für Bankwirtschaft, Rendsburg (today B.A. of Banking and Finance)

Honors, grants, fellowships

  • 2015, 2016 Wiedemann-Fellowship, Interdisciplinary Centre for European Enlightenment Studies, University of Halle, Germany
  • 2015 Publishing grant, Geschwister Boehriger Ingelheim Stiftung für die Geisteswissenschaften
  • 2013 2014: Ph.D.-Research grant, Leibniz-Institute for European History, Mainz, Germany


Journal articles

  • Delegitimation through Corruption: Administrative and Legal Changes in Bavaria and Prussia During the Napoleonic Era (1800-1820), in: Střed. / Centre. Journal for Interdisciplinary Studies of Central Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries 7,1 (2015), pp. 9-33.
  • Corruption in German Political Discourse between 1780 and 1820: A Categorisation, in: Journal of Modern European History 11,1 (2013), pp. 54-73.

Book chapters

  • (with Jonathan Barbier, Université d’Avignon) Continuity of Patronage? Favours and the Reform Movement in France and Germany from 1800 to 1848, in: Monier, Frédéric/Dard, Olivier/Engels, Jens Ivo (éds.): Patronage et corruption dans l’Europe contemporaine, Paris 2014, pp. 85 103.
  • Interplay of Corruption and Bureaucratisation: The Administrative Reforms in Bavaria under Minister Montgelas (1799-1808); in: Engels, Jens Ivo/Monier, Frédéric/Petiteau, Natalie (éds.): La politique vue d’en bas: éléments d’histoire européenne (19e-20e siècles), Paris 2012, pp. 149 168.
  • Zur Legitimität von Patronage in Preußens fürstlicher Verwaltung. Das Beispiel der Korruptionskritik des Kriegs- und Domänenrates Joseph Zerboni (1796-1802); in: Asch, Ronald G./Emich, Birgit/Engels, Jens Ivo (Hrsg.): Integration, Legitimation, Korruption. Politische Patronage in Früher Neuzeit und Moderne, Frankfurt/Main 2011, pp. 267 284.

Reviews in the following media

  • Neue Politische Literatur
  • H-Soz-Kult/H-Net