Natalia Nowakowska

Fellow & Tutor in History; Professor in Early Modern History

Natalia Nowakowska is a historian of late medieval and early modern Europe, with a focus on the history of Poland in its European context.

She is a University Lecturer in History, and a Tutor & Fellow in History at Somerville College.

Brought up in the Polish post-WW2 diaspora community in London, Natalia read History at Lincoln College, Oxford (1995-8). After a spell working in social policy research, she returned to Oxford to complete a doctorate on a Polish Renaissance cardinal, and subsequently held postdoctoral research positions at King’s College London and at University College, Oxford. She joined the Oxford History Faculty in 2007.

Natalia has published on religious change in Renaissance Europe, and on the role which the Polish monarchy and its Jagiellonian dynasty played in those processes. Her first book Church, State and Dynasty in Renaissance Poland (co-winner of the Kulczycki Prize in the USA, 2008) explored the career of the allegedly syphilitic Polish cardinal-prince Fryderyk Jagiellon (d.1503). Her current book, Elusive Church: Luther, Poland and the Early Reformation, is the first major research project in over a century on the early Reformation in this sizeable sixteenth-century monarchy, and asks how the Polish story can inform our understanding of the European Reformations as a whole. Natalia has been awarded a British Academy Mid Career Fellowship for 2012-13 for this project.

Natalia teaches a range of late medieval and early modern papers at Oxford, encompassing European, British and South American history. She gives a lecture course on Jagiellonian Central Europe in the Renaissance period.

Natalia has a regular blog, Somerville Historian, about teaching and writing History at Oxford. While on British Academy leave in 2012-13, she has a new blog about the ups and downs of writing a historical monograph, History Monograph.


Zielinska, Agata. (2019). Nowakowska (ed.), Remembering the Jagiellonians (Routledge, 2019). Royal Studies Journal. 6. 126.

Nowakowska, N.. (2018). King Sigismund of Poland and Martin Luther: The reformation before confessionalization.

Maryks, Robert. (2008). Church, State and Dynasty in Renaissance Poland: The Career of Cardinal Fryderyk Jagiellon (1468–1503) (review). Renaissance Quarterly. 61. 583-584.

Tracz, Szymon. (2012). Natalia Nowakowska, Królewski kardynał. Studium kariery Fryderyka Jagiellończyka (1468–1503). Tłum. Tomasz Gromelski. Towarzystwo Naukowe SOCIETAS VISTULANA. Kraków 2011, 251 ss.. Folia Historica Cracoviensia.

Nowakowska, N. ‘What’s in a word? The etymology and historiography of dynasty – Renaissance Europe and beyond’.
Journal of Global Intellectual History, 2020

Nowakowska, N. “Rioting Blacksmiths & Jewish Women: Pillarized Reformation Memory in Early Modern Poland” In ‘Remembering the Reformation’, ed. B. Cummings, C. Law, K. Riley and A. Walsham, 2020

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