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Verena Krebs

Former Associate Researcher; Subproject Horn of Africa
(September 2015-August 2018)

Verena Krebs is specialist for pre-modern African history, focussing especially on the medieval history of the Horn of Africa. Trained as both a historian and art historian, her work is often of an interdisciplinary nature, incorporating material culture sources alongside written source material. Her interdisciplinary PhD thesis examined the diplomatic, commercial and artistic contacts between medieval Christian Ethiopia and Latin Europe, and the role of Western European religious material culture and artistic exchange in Ethiopia. It was awarded the the Förderpreis Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft award as best PhD thesis at University Konstanz, and the reworked book manuscript is currently under review with an American UP. Following her PhD, from 2014-2017, she worked as a Martin Buber Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. In September 2015, she joined the JewsEast team as an associate researcher, where she was the resident material culture and digital humanities expert in addition to her expertise on medieval Ethiopian history. With several years of fieldwork experience in Ethiopia, she led the first JewsEast fieldwork season to the Gondar area of Ethiopia in 2015, investigating the material culture of the Bete Israel together with Bar Kribus. Since October 2017, she holds the W1 professorship for "Medieval Cultural Realms and their Entanglements" at Ruhr-University Bochum, where she pursues a research project on the gold and ivory trade between Africa and Europe in the Middle Ages.


Vita and Publications




  • since 2017 - W1 Professor at the Junior Professorship for "Medieval Cultural Realms and their Entanglements, Faculty of History, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany

  • 2015-2018 - Associate Researcher, Research Fellow, Center for Religious Studies, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany 

  • 2016-2017 - Truman Research Fellow, Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace,  Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • 2014-2017 - Martin Buber Fellow at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

  • 2012-2014 - Visiting researcher at the Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies, Hamburg University; specialist for object and artwork description for the European Research Council research project "ETHIO-SPARE: Cultural Heritage of Christian Ethiopia: Salvation, Preservation, Research" (Dr. Denis Nosnitsin) 

  • 2011-2012 - Visiting researcher at the Department of History and Cultural Studies, Mek'elle University, Ethiopia 

  • 2011 - Visiting researcher at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia 


Education and Degrees

  • 2010-2014 - Dr. phil. / PhD, summa cum laude, University of Konstanz, Germany, and Mekelle University, Ethiopia (bi-national degree)

  • 2007-2010 - M.A. in History with distinction, University of Konstanz, Germany (of this 8 months at University of York, UK, in the MA program Medieval History)

  • 2004-2007 - B.A. in Literature, Art and Media Studies with distinction, University of Konstanz, Germany




  • Material Diplomacy: Culture Contact with Latin Christianity and Western Christian Art in Ethiopia, 1400-1550 (under review)

Edited Volume (forthcoming)

  • Krebs, V. and Gnisci, J.: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the History of Art and Architecture in Ethiopia, Vienna, 2-6 September 2013, London (forthcoming 2018).    

  • Krebs, V. and Girke, F.: Special issue “Untold Ethiopian Histories”, Journal for Eastern African Studies (in preparation).

Journal Articles and Contributions (peer reviewed):

  • Krebs, V. ‘Royal Ethiopian patronage and hybrid ‘färänğ’ styles: A new approach to art in Ethiopia, 1460-1530’, ITYOP̣IS – Northeast African Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (accepted for publication June 2016, forthcoming).

  • Krebs, V. ‘Crusading threats? Ethiopian-Egyptian relations in the 1440s’, Crusading in Africa, ed. Benjamin Weber (accepted for publication August 2017, forthcoming).

  • Krebs, V. and Kribus, B. ‘Betä Ǝsra’el (Ethiopian Jewish) Monastic Sites North of Lake Ṭana: Preliminary Results of an Exploratory Field Trip to Ethiopia in December 2015’, Entangled Religions. Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Religious Contact and Transfer (accepted for publication September 2017, forthcoming).

  • Krebs, V. ‘Prester John, interrupted: The longevity of an ‘Ethiopian’ phantom embassy to Europe in the early 14th century’ (revised and resubmitted November 2017).

  • Krebs, V. ‘The diplomat and the messenger: Disentangling two episodes of Ethiopian-Latin diplomatic relations in the late 1470s and the early 1480s’ (undergoing revisions). 

  • ‘Äthiopien und Europa: Mittelalterliche Kontakte und ihr Einfluss auf die Äthiopische Kunst’, in: Kirche und Schule in Äthiopien, 63 (2010).


Jun.-Prof. Dr. des. Verena Krebs

Juniorprofessur “Mittelalterliche Kulturräume und ihre Verflechtungen” / W1 Professorship “Medieval Cultural Realms and their Entanglements” 

Ruhr-Universität Bochum – Historisches Institut GA 4/136
Universitätsstr. 150 
D-44801 Bochum


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