Dr. Daniel Rothenburg

Box: 1
Universitätsstr. 10, 78457 Konstanz
Phone: +49 7531 88-2539
Room: F 359
E-Mail: daniel.rothenburg@uni-konstanz.de
ORCID: 0000-0002-9957-9950

Office hours for students during summer term 2024:
On Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in room F 359

Research interests

- History of Science, Technology, and the Environment
- Australian History
- History of Ideas
- History of Infrastructures
- Environmental Movement
- Co-operative Movement


Research Projects

History of the co-operative movement, England – Germany – Palestine (1830⎼1930); habilitation ("second book") project (since 2021)

In my habilitation project I examine the co-operative movement in the 19. and 20. century as a histoire croisée in a transnational setting. Co-ops, being democratically organized businesses meant to serve the well-being of their members and their communities instead of delivering profit to share holders, were (and are) undersood either as a liberal correction in the context of a market economy, a base for utopian communities, as a means of colonization, or even as a path to a co-operative commonwealth to overcome capitalism.
The co-op idea is conceptualized as dynamic and adaptable in very different contexts to solve similar problems. With a microhistorical view on actors of transnational exchanges on the one hand and local adaptions on the other, the project aims at a social history of ideas by taking account of the social composition and goals of individual co-ops, as well as the material conditions of exchange about co-op models.
The project comprises three case studies, each representing different situations and protagonists. The first one is dedicated to the Rochdale movement in Manchester since the 1830s, the second on the Schulze-Delitzsch and Raiffeisen credit co-ops and the social democratic productive and consumptive co-ops since the 1960s, and finally the communities founded on the co-op model by German Zionists in the early 20th century with the aid to establish autonomous, utopian communities.

Islands of Transformation: An Interdisciplinary Study of Adaptation, Resilience, and Sustainability (University of Tübingen, with mit Marta Díaz-Zorita Bonilla, Laura Dierksmeier, Frerich Schön and Thomas Scholten, since 2024)

Islands represent outstanding showcases for exploring cultural, climatic, and environmental transformations. The dynamics of environment-society interactions in island communities will be investigated for the first time on a global level within an interdisciplinary and diachronic comparative framework. We study how island societies have adapted to environmental change, and the resulting challenges. Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Pacific islands are analysed from the first human settlements to the beginning of industrialisation. This project will develop a DFG Research Unit which will strengthen Tübingen University as a centre of archaeological and historical research and Island Studies with a high relevance to current debates.

Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research and the Ministry for Science Baden-Württemberg as part of the Excellence strategy (duration 2 years).

Too Much Water: Irrigation, Salinity, and Rural Communities in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia. An Environmental History (1945-2020); completed Ph.D. project (2015-2020)

In this project I explored the issue of salinization in the context of contemporary conflicts about irrigation, water, and the environment in Australia, considering the Murray-Darling Basin in particular. It provides an environmental and social history charting the transformation of rural communities in the basin through the salinization of soils and water. Focusing on the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation district in the southwest of the Murray-Darling basin – the largest irrigation district in Australia – it explores the history of state-directed, large-scale engineering in the district, where the environment has been altered dramatically to facilitate white agricultural settlement inland. Changes to the landscape led to extensive salinization, however – a significant environmental threat in Australia. In the project I traced the impact of these changes on rural communities, taking a ‘bottom-up’ approach, highlighting the connections between environmental, social, and political change. It provides an important reflection on the importance of environmental history for facing the challenges posed by anthropogenic climate change.


Since September 2023
Assistant Professor at the Department of Contemporary History, University of Konstanz

2022 ⎼ 2023
Scientific Coordinator and Research associate at the Collaborative Research Center 923 “Threatened Order”, University of Tübingen

2020 ⎼ 2022
Assistant Professor at the Department of Modern History, University of Tübingen

Ph.D. at University of Tübingen
Thesis: “Too Much Water. Irrigation, Salinity, and Communities in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia. An Environmental History”

2019 – 2020
Teaching Associate at the Department of Modern History, University of Tübingen

2015 – 2019
Research Associate at the Collaborative Research Center 923 “Threatened Order – Societies under Stress”, University of Tübingen

First State Examination
Thesis: "Australischer High Modernism. Merkmale des Hydro-Engineering-Diskurses anhand des Hume-Staudamms"

2008 – 2015
Study of History and Philosophy at the universities Mannheim and Tübingen

2005 – 2008
Abitur at Kolping-Kolleg Stuttgart

2002 – 2005
Apprenticeship as Industrial Business Management Assistant

Born in Stuttgart

Functions, Memberships, Awards, and Conferences


• Since 2024: Assistant editor to the journal "Geschichte und Gesellschaft"
• Since 2021: Review editor for H-Soz-Kult
• Since 2018: Member of the Executive Committee of the Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand Environmental History Network


• Akademie-Kolleg of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences
• German Association of Australian Studies
• German Historians Association
• Australian Historical Association
• European Society for Environmental History


• 2023: Academic Award of the German Association of Australian Studies (Dissertation)
• 2021: Walter-Witzenmann-Award of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (Dissertation)
• 2021: Dissertation Prize of the University of Tübingen (Dissertation)
• 2016: Academic Award of the German Association of Australian Studies (Final thesis)

Conferences/workshops Organized

• End of Empire: Threats, Security, and Stress in the Australia-UK Relationship (26.06.2023), Deakin University Melbourne (with Ewald Frie, Carolyn Holbrook and David Lowe), https://www.hsozkult.de/conferencereport/id/fdkn-138731.
• Krisen anders denken! Abschlusskonferenz des Sonderforschungsbereichs 923 (, Universität Tübingen (with Mischa Meier and Boris Nieswand), https://www.hsozkult.de/conferencereport/id/fdkn-138086.
• ‘Playing with Scales’ in Environmental History (11.-12.04.2018), University of Tübingen (with Ewald Frie), http://www.hsozkult.de/conferencereport/id/tagungsberichte-7737.