Hanne Osthus
Dr. Hanne Østhus

Dr. Hanne Østhus

Researcher and Coordinator of Research Group
"Dependency, Gender and Labor in the Household"

University of Bonn
Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
Niebuhrstraße 5
D-53113 Bonn



In my research, I have examined labor relations, gender and authority in early modern households. I have particularly looked at servants and service in early modern Denmark-Norway, and investigated servants' relations with their employers, compulsory service and consumption patterns. My ongoing project Servants and Slaves examines the lives of non-European servants and slaves who were transported to seventeenth and eighteenth century Scandinavia to work in households there.

I am also interested in the use(s) of history, particularly in heritage studies and the implications of digitization on historical writing and research.

Current Position

  • 2018–present            Research Group Leader "Dependency, Gender, and Labor in the Household",
                                         Research Area E, Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies, University of Bonn, Germany


  • 2008–2013                 Ph.D. in History, European University Institute, Florence, Italy
  • 2008–2009                 Master of Research, European University Institute, Florence, Italy
  • 2004–2007                 M.A. in History, University of Oslo, Norway
  • 1999–2003                 Candidata magisterii in History, University of Oslo, Norway

Academic Positions

  • 2017                              Lecturer, Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales, INALCO, Paris, France
  • 2017                              Researcher, Department of Archeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo, Norway
  • 2017                              Supervision of Undergraduate Students, Teachers Education, Volda University College, Norway
  • 2017                              Supervision of Undergraduate Students in History and Social Science, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway
  • 2013–2016                  Associate Professor, History, Sogn og Fjordane University College, Norway
  • 2008                              Teacher, Department of Archeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo, Norway
  • 2006–2007                  Research Associate, Department of Archeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo, Norway
  • 2006                              Seminar Teacher, Department of Archeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo, Norway 

Participation in Collaborative Projects

  • 2018–present             Asia Slavery Database project member
  • 2017–present             Slavery in the Indian Ocean World and beyond network member
  • 2015–2016                 Free/Unfree Labor France-Stanford program member
  • 2014–2016                 Scientific committee member of the Travail Libre/travail forcé. Contraintes locales et dynamiques globales research program
  • 2012–2014                 Indian Ocean World: Forms of bondage in the Indian Ocean. Origins, Structure and transformations research program member
  • 2011–2015                 Legalizing Space in China research program member

Third-Party Funding

  • The Research Council of Norway
  • The Norwegian Historical Association travel grant
  • grants from Letterstedtska föreningen
  • Osloforskning research grant

Membership in Projects of Other Institutions

Worlds of Related Coercions in Work

The COST Action "Worlds of Related Coercions in Work" (WORCK) calls for a radical change of perspective in labour history. It links the stories of work and production with those of violence, expropriation and marginalisation.

By studying the persistence and transformations of coercion and bondage across gender orders, geographic regions and historical eras, WORCK shifts the focus of labour history: Neither the male-breadwinner model nor the free wage labourer or the capitalist mode of production can form the blueprint for this new history of WORCK. Instead, a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of coercion in all work relations throughout history is the pivot of this endeavour.

Members: Dr. Claude Chevaleyre; Dr. Christian de Vito; Dr. Hanne Østhus

More information2222

Selected Publications

  • Slaver og ikke-europeiske tjenestefolk i Danmark og Norge på 1700- og begynnelsen av 1800-tallet. In: Arbeiderhistorie 22 (2018), 33–47.
  • Were All Servants Women? Reflections on the Use of Gender in Research on Domestic Service. In: D. Nyström, J. Overud (eds.): Gender, History, Futures, Report from the XI Nordic Women's and Gender History Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, August 19–21, 2015. SKOGH. Umeå 2018, 103–111.
  • Servants in Rural Norway, ca. 1650–1800. In: J. Whittle (ed.): Servants in Rural Europe, ca. 1400–1900. Suffolk 2017, 113–130.
  • Tvunget til tjeneste? Tjenesteplikten i Danmark-Norge på 1700-tallet og begynnelsen av 1800-tallet. In: Arbetarhistoria 3–4 (2017), 26–31.
  • It's the Economy, Stupid! Undervisningsspill om trelasthandelen. In: Historikeren 2 (2017), 11–13.
  • with Ulrike Spring (eds.): Digging Into Downstairs: Exhibiting Domestic Service. In: Museum and Society 14/3 (2016), 431–445.
  • with Maria Ågren: Domestic Secrets. Women and Property in Sweden, 1600–1857. In: European Review of History/Revue europeenne d'histoire 18/5-6 (2011), 869–871.
  • Hun formente sig lige goed, med dem hun tiente.’ Arbeidsrettssaker på 1700-tallet. In: Fortid 2 (2008), 34–38.
  • Arbeid, underordning og selvstendighet. Livet som tjener i 1700-tallets Christiania. In: Byminner 4 (2008), 16–24.
  • Konflikt i husholdet. Arbeidsrettssaker på 1700-tallet. In: Arkivmagasinet 2 (2008), 28–31.
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