Dr Simone Laqua-O'Donnell

Dr Simone Laqua-O'Donnell

Department of History
Lecturer in Early Modern History
Head of Postgraduate Studies (Taught)

Contact details

Simone Laqua-O’Donnell is a historian of early modern Europe. She studied at the Universities of Hamburg and Cambridge and was a PhD student at Balliol College, Oxford, under the supervision of Professor Lyndal Roper. Her PhD was supported by the AHRC. In 2006 she was awarded a Research Fellowship at Downing College, Cambridge. In 2009 Simone joined the School of History and Cultures, University of Birmingham, as Lecturer in Early Modern History.

Simone Laqua-O'Donnell has received awards from the Institute of Historical Research, the German Historical Institute London, the Institute of European History, Mainz, and a Scatcherd European Scholarship to spend time at the University of Rome, La Sapienza. She is a founding member of the Catholic Reformation Research Network and a member of the Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies. Her research on the introduction of the decrees of Trent in early modern German convents has been awarded the 2003 Essay Prize of the Royal Historical Society and the German History Society. Her book Women and the Counter-Reformation in early modern Münster (OUP, 2014) has been awarded the annual book prize of the Women History Network.

Her areas of expertise are Gender History, Reformation History, the Holy Roman Empire, Witchcraft and the History of Crime.


  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Birmingham
  • DPhil University of Oxford
  • MSt University of Oxford
  • BA (Hons) University of Cambridge



First year

  • The Making of the Modern World, c.1500-1815
  • Practising History (skills and approaches):
  • ‘Martin Luther and the German Reformation’
  • ‘M for Murder: Interpersonal Violence in Early Modern Europe’
  • ‘Beyond repair? Reforming the Catholic Church in Early Modern Europe’
  • Christian History, 1500-Present

Second year

  • History in Theory and Practice
  • Critical Analysis: ‘Power and State-formation in Early Modern Europe’
  • Research Methods
  • Option: ‘Who are you? Contested identities in the early modern period’

Third year

  • Reviewing History: ‘Political Participation in Early Modern Europe’
  • Special Subject: ‘Big City, Small Worlds: The Making of Early Modern Cities’
  • Option: ‘Witchcraft, Power and State-Formation in Early Modern Europe’
  • Historical Reflections
  • Dissertation supervision


  • MA in Reformation and Early Modern Studies
  • MRes in Early Modern History

Postgraduate supervision

I am happy to discuss research projects on any aspect of early modern German history.
I am currently supervising a PhD project on pedagogy and catechism in early modern Germany (jointly with Dr Elaine Fulton).


My first monograph examines the impact of the Counter-Reformation on women’s lives. The focus is on the city of Münster, which was the northernmost stronghold of the Counter-Reformation in Germany. By looking at convents, marriage, concubinage, deviance and piety, the study raises important issues about women’s involvement in Catholic reform as well as their religious and social identity.



  • Women and the Counter-Reformation in early modern Münster (Oxford University Press, 2014). Winner of the 2015 Women’s History Network (UK) Book Prize, “awarded for an author’s first single-authored monograph which makes a significant contribution to women’s history or gender history and is written in an accessible style”.

Articles and book chapters

  • 'Family Matters: Peter Canisius as Confessor and Spiritual Guide in early modern Augsburg. A Case Study’, Journal of Jesuit Studies 16/1 (2016).
  • ‘Piety and Community in Early Modern Catholic Europe’, Ashgate Research Companion to the Counter-Reformation (Ashgate, 2012).
  • ‘‘Women on top’ and the ascent of men: A discussion of the advance and advantages of gender as an analytical tool’, convened by Bridget Heal and Simone Laqua-O’Donnell, Colloquia: Journal of Central European History (November, 2010).
  • ‘Concubinage and the Church in early modern Münster’, Past and Present Supplement, Ruth Harris and Lyndal Roper (eds), The Art of Survival: Gender and History in Europe, 1540-2000, (Oxford, 2006).
  • ‘Der Prozeß der Entjudung in der schlesischen Stadt Glatz, 1933-1945’, in Arno Herzig (ed.), Glaciographia Nova: Festschrift für Dieter Pohl (Hamburg, 2004).