College of Charleston history professor Jason Coy has been awarded a Herzog Ernst Fellowship for Postdoctoral Studies to continue his research for a book on divination and demonology in early modern Germany. Coy will spend summer 2012 at the University of Erfurt’s Research Center for Social and Cultural Studies in Gotha, Germany. The Research Center focuses on early modern intellectual history. Taking its cue from the interdisciplinary history of scholarship, the Center aims to throw a spotlight on often-neglected areas of early modern learning. The Herzog Ernst Fellowship, funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, aims to both promote and intensify the academic profession through the use of the resources of the research library.

“This is an incredible opportunity for a scholar in my field,” Coy says. “This major research library holds over 680,000 rare printed works and 800 running meters of archival materials, making it one of the most significant collections of early modern sources in Germany. The research library is housed in Schloss Friedenstein, a Baroque palace built in the 1640s by Duke Ernst I the Pious of Saxe-Gotha, the namesake of the fellowship.

Coy is the author of Strangers and Misfits: Banishment, Social Control, and Authority in Early Modern Germany (2008), an examination of criminality and authority in Reformation-era Germany. His most recent publication is a survey of German history from the Paleolithic era to the present, entitled A Brief History of Germany (2011). Coy also wrote the introduction and co-edited (with Benjamin J. Marschke, and David W. Sabean) an edited volume entitled The Holy Roman Empire, Reconsidered (2010). This work, which presents the most recent scholarly approaches to studying the Holy Roman Empire, is the inaugural volume in a new book series sponsored by the German Studies Association, the leading international conference group in the field.

Jason Coy earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001. His research and teaching interests include the history of early modern Europe, the European Reformation, and European magic and witchcraft. He is currently working on a book manuscript on divination and fortune-telling in Reformation-era Germany. The study will examine learned astrological beliefs, popular divinatory practices, and theological condemnations of divination, condemnations rooted in biblical and classical proscriptions, notions of the demonic, and belief in divine providence.

Jason Coy can be reached at or 843.953.8273.