UPDATE: Leisure and the Making of Knowledge in 18th-century Europe (Germany) (3/16/07; 10/31/07-11/2/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Felix Sprang

Call for Papers (extended deadline):
"Leisure and the making of knowledge in 18th-century Europe"
31 October – 2 November 2007, University of Hamburg, Germany

"Leisure and curiosity might soon make great advances in useful knowledge, were
they not diverted by minute emulation and laborious trifles."
Samuel Johnson "Rambler" 177 (November 26, 1751)

The interdisciplinary and interdepartmental "Arbeitsstelle fuer Geschichte des
Wissens und der Literatur" (Research Group for the History of Knowledge and
Literature) at the University of Hamburg invites papers that examine aspects of
leisure in the 18th century. We are particularly interested in proposals that
appraise the role of leisure in generating knowledge across Europe.

Leisure in the 18th century has predominantly been investigated from a
socio-economic perspective (as a feature of early consumer societies and/or as a
means to explore and explain social stratification). We seek papers that
investigate questions of knowledge in relation to leisure: in what ways has
leisure participated in shaping knowledge? What exactly is the ontological
status of leisure in the 18th century? Is it a host of recreational activities
or does it genuinely create new matters of inquiry? In this context, and along
the lines of Dr Johnson's observation, the relation between 'prodesse' and
'delectare' should be negotiated: are the concepts 'prodesse' and 'delectare'
relevant in the way that leisure activities present themselves or are presented?
How does the opposition of 'otium' and 'negotium' inform and configure leisure
activities? To address these questions, interdisciplinary approaches are sought.
Presenters should ideally address particular manifestations of leisure
activities that promote, shape or reprove knowledge, but papers treating the
more general connections of leisure and knowledge are also welcome. We
particularly encourage contributions that focus on 'popular recreations' such as
sports and pastimes and private forms such as 'serious leisure' or 'amateurism'
that are usually overshadowed by literary circles and learned societies.

We invite abstracts for 20-minute papers for the following six panels (broadly
conceived to include the topics suggested below):

- discipline formation (keynote speaker: Holger Zaunstoeck; Halle):
institutions, libraries, societies and clubs; activities at the crossroads of
amateurism and professional disciplines
- domestic activities (keynote speaker: Christoph Heyl, Berlin): paedagogics to
household management; the differentiation of knowledge through the management of
the private sphere
- otium-negotium (keynote speaker: N.N.): meditation, exegesis, pastoral care
and congregation activities, the epistemological function of devotion and
- the outside world (keynote speaker: Emma Sparry, Cambridge): man and nature;
epistemic conceptions of the natural world with respect to leisure
- public sphere (keynote speaker: Emma Griffin, Norwich): village greens, inns,
theatres and courts; the didactic and epistemic functions of pastimes and sports
- reading (keynote speaker: Alexander Kosenina, Bristol): new genres, habits of
reading, the use of books for instruction as well as bibliomania

All papers will be followed by a 10-minute discussion period.
Please submit proposals (300 words) and a short CV via email to:
The deadline for abstracts is March 16, 2007. Decisions will be announced by
March 26, 2007.

Anja Hill-Zenk, Felix Sprang

Felix C.H. Sprang
Institut fuer Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Universitaet Hamburg
Von Melle Park 6
20146 Hamburg

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Received on Mon Mar 05 2007 - 14:09:02 EST