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C - Figures


C1 - Paradoxes of Leisure in the Middle Ages. Paradigms of Active Inactivity in Courtly and Mystical Literature

Prof. Dr. Burkhard Hasebrink, Prof. Dr. Henrike Manuwald

Courtly literature around 1200 and mystical literature of the fourteenth century are linked by a specific structural logic of leisure (Muße). This was demonstrated for the first time by the medieval subproject: both groups of texts focus on individuals with a claim to perfection (perfectio), whose realization requires leisure. At the same time, leisure is also regarded as a great threat to each of the existing cultural orders. By analysing this ambivalent function of leisure in the Middle Ages, the project provided a theoretical framework for discussing the explosive force of leisure in societal terms across periods.

Dr. Rebekka Becker
Dr. Anna Keiling


C2 - Suspended Time and Narrational Spaces of Seclusion. Leisure and Authorship in Autobiographically Structured Narrative

Prof. Dr. Thomas Klinkert, Prof. Dr. Dieter Martin

This subproject focused on the exploration of the relationship between leisure-time and authorship in French and German narrative texts that present themselves as either factual or fictional autobiographies. Supported by individual studies that were conducted by the project-directors, this project analysed the correlations between autobiographically structured narrative writing and leisure time. It did so by drawing upon texts from two periods, namely (a) selected works from Romanticism to the classical modern period and (b) autobiographies as well as autobiographical novels since 1945..

Dr. Georg Feitscher
Dr. Anna Karina Sennefelder


C3 - Figures of Idleness in 18th-Century British Colonial Discourse: Nabob, Nawaab, and ‘lazy native’

Prof. Dr. Miriam Nandi

This project analysed the role and representation of idleness in eighteenth-century British colonial discourses. Specifically, we focused on three figures that are typically associated with conspicuous idleness. The first of these is the Indian prince or nawaab, whose luxurious lifestyle is pictured as an instance of courtly leisure. Secondly, we revisited the stereotype of the „lazy native“, the orientalist cliché of native idleness propounded by the colonial power. The third figure that we investigated is that of the nabob, i.e. the British colonial administrator who has gone native and has adopted excesses of the Indian rulers’ luxury and leisured idleness.

Pia Florence Masurczak


C4 - Forced Leisure? Russia in the Nineteenth Century: Leisure and Gender

Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Cheauré

This project used the paradoxical concept of ‘forced leisure‘ to examine the meaning and importance of ‘leisure‘ in the specific context of Russian society in the nineteenth century. Constructions of female gender and femininity were central to the study. The project placed special emphasis on the closely interwoven fictional and social discourses in Russia and explored a wide range of literary texts, books on decorum, pedagogical texts, autobiographical documents, as well as material cultural artefacts.

Dr. Bianca Edith Schlawin (née Blum)


C5 - The Performativity of Leisure: Practices of Free time in Two Peasant Societies

Prof. Dr. Gregor Dobler

Using ethnographic methods, this subproject analysed practices of and discourses on leisure in the context of labour routines in two different peasant societies. The study analysed the experiences of peasants and craftsmen in Western France as well as those of peasants and unemployed workers in Northern Namibia before going on to compare the four groups across both countries. The project was grounded in the assumption that free time needs to be separated performatively from work time. It approached practices of leisure (Muße) from the angle of workaday life and examined the physical routines and behaviour of the subjects in the study as preconditions for the emergence of their leisure practices.

Dr. Martin Büdel