Esther Souman

Phd Candidate

MA, Simon Fraser University, 2019 

History BA (Honours with Distinction), Simon Fraser University, 2017 Certificate in German Studies, Simon Fraser University, 2017 Goethe-Zertifikat B1, Goethe Institut, December 2015

Supervisor: Luke Clossey

Research Interests

Early Modern Europe, History of Education, History of Media & Technology, History of Science, Global History

Research Description

I am interested in print, education, and the history of geography in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Europe. In particular, I’m looking at German and Italian contexts. My MA research explored the epistolary networks of a group of sixteenth-century German and Dutch scholars called cosmographers. Cosmographies were books—often large tomes—in which authors set out to describe the world and the universe. These works can tell us a great deal about the worldviews of the authors and their contemporaries, as well as what information was accessible to whom and when.  I build on my MA research by looking at how these (and other) works of geography were received by students in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. I am also interested in tracing the role that the printing press played in the dissemination of works of geography, and how students accessed these works outside of the university. My primary source base includes notebooks left by students of geography in that period.

I am also interested in media and education today, and my historical research helps to inform how I approach pedagogy myself. I’ve been exploring alternative ways to teach history – such as through digital games and Dungeons and Dragons campaigns.

Working Dissertation Title

“Geography, Print, and Informal Education in Early-Modern Germany and Italy”


I am a Dutch-Canadian and token Australian, with additional close connections to Indonesia and Germany. Ever since I was a child growing up short distances from medieval castles and city walls, I have loved the visual and interactive aspects of history learning. Since then, a background in travelling, language-learning, experiencing various cultures, and random interactions with strangers has helped to contribute to a jumble of historical interests. For the most part, anything before and leading up to the modern period holds my fascination, particularly where culture, religion, and/or scholarship are concerned. Though my primary focus so far has been on German, Swiss, Dutch, and Italian subjects, I could hardly be a student of Luke Clossey and not be enthusiastic about studying broader global contexts as well.



  • (September 2020), “Czech Mates and Other Games: Teaching & Learning History Through Play.” Colloquium talk given remotely at the History Department at SFU, Vancouver, Canada.
  • (March 2019), “?: Some Reflections on Implications of the ISAZ Approach.” Paper given at Institut für die Späte Altzeit Conference (SFU), Vancouver, Canada.
  • (March 2018), “When We had no Voices: Writing our Little Selves into the Historiography.” Paper given at Institut für die Späte Altzeit Conference (SFU), Vancouver, Canada.
  • (February 2018), “Religion and Abstraction: Spiritual Sentiments Lost in Translation.” Paper given at Polyglot/ Polyglotte Graduate Student Conference (UBC), Vancouver, Canada.
  • (January 2018), “German Cosmographers: Sixteenth-Century Paradigms.” Paper given at Qualicum Graduate Conference, Parksville, Canada.
  • With A. Mirjat (January 2018), “Decolonizing the Classroom: Uncovering a Diversity of Voices.” At TA/ TM Day at SFU, Burnaby, Canada.


  • 2019-2020 BC Graduate Scholarship
  • 2019-2020 Dean’s Graduate Fellowship
  • 2019 Cook Conference Scholarship
  • 2018 William and Jane Saywell Graduate Scholarship
  • 2017 SSHRC CGSM
  • 2017 University Summer Courses offered in Germany for Foreign Students and Graduates (DAAD)
  • 2017 European History Essay Prize (SFU)
  • 2013 Ken McGlinchey English Scholarship (Douglas College)
  • 2011 Medal for Academic Achievement (Credo Christian High School)

Teaching Assistantships

  • History 130: Fundamentals of World History, Fall 2017, Fall 2020
  • History 101: Canada Before Confederation, Summer 2018, Fall 2019

Research Assistantships

  • December 2020- present: transitioning online assistance (SFU, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences)
  • March 2020 - present: transitioning online assistance (SFU, History)
  • August 2018 - March 2020: “Building a Reflective Reader” (HIST 130), Dr. Luke Clossey (SFU, History)
  • June 2018 - August 2019: “Exploring Approaches to the Development and Delivery of English-taught Courses on Franco-Italian Culture” (FREN/ITAL 150 and 350), Dr. Vlad Vintila (SFU, French)
  • June 2017 - present: History of Thai Buddhism in the West & History of Birken Forest Monastery, Dr. Karen Ferguson and Dr. Luke Clossey (SFU, Urban Studies)
  • November 2016 - May 2017: digitization project “Jesus images,” Dr. Luke Clossey (SFU)
  • July 2016: "Integrating Language into the History Classroom," Dr. Luke Clossey (SFU, ISTLD)