Mapping the 'I'

Research on Self-Narratives in Germany and Switzerland


In Mapping the ‘I’, Research on Self Narratives in Germany and Switzerland, the contributors, working with egodocuments (autobiographies, diaries, family chronicles and related texts), discuss various approaches to early modern concepts of the person and of personhood, the place of individuality within this context, genre and practices of writing. The volume documents the cooperation between the Berlin and Basel self-narrative research groups during its first phase (2000-2007). Next to addressing crucial methodological issues, it also demonstrates the richness of egodocuments as historical sources in contributions concentrating, for example, on the body and illness, on food, as well as on the early modern economy, group cultures and autobiographical considerations of one's own suicide.

Contributors include Andreas Bähr, Fabian Brändle, Lorenz Heiligensetzer, Angela Heimen, Gabriele Jancke, Gudrun Piller, Sophie Ruppel, Thomas M. Safley, Claudia Ulbrich, Kaspar von Greyerz, and Patricia Zihlmann-Märki.

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CLAUDIA ULBRICH, Prof. Dr. phil., FU Berlin, is Professor of Early Modern History and Gender History. She is the author of Shulamit and Margarete. Power, Gender and Religion in a Rural Society in Eighteenth-Century Europe, transl. by Thomas Dunlap (Brill 2004).

KASPAR VON GREYERZ, Emeritus Professsor of Early Modern History, University of Basel. He is the author of Vorsehungsglaube und Kosmologie. Studien zu englischen Selbstzeugnissen des 17. Jahrhunderts, and of Passagen und Stationen. Lebensstufen zwischen Mittelalter und Moderne, Göttingen 1990 and 2010, respectively.

LORENZ HEILIGENSETZER, Dr. phil., deputy head, manuscript and rare books collection, University Library Basel. He is the author of Getreue Kirchendiener – gefährdete Pfarrherren. Deutschschweizer Prädikanten des 17. Jahrhunderts in ihren Lebensbeschreibungen, Cologne etc. 2006, and has edited Alexander Bösch, Liber familiarium personalium [...], Basel 2001.
Claudia Ulbrich, Kaspar von Greyerz, Lorenz Heiligensetzer:

Part I: Inroads

Gabriele Jancke/ Claudia Ulbrich:
From the Individual to the Person: Challenging Autobiography Theory

Kaspar von Greyerz:
Observations on the Historiographical Status of Research on Self Writing

Lorenz Heiligensetzer:
Swiss-German Self-Narratives: The Archival Project as a Rich Vein of Research

Gudrun Piller:
Private Body: What do Self-Narratives bring to the History of the Body?

Part II: Approaches

Angela Heimen:
„What would you like to eat? I will wake the maidens; they shall prepare soup for you“ – food as a code in the autobiography of Thomas Platter

Gabriele Jancke:
Autobiographical Texts: Acting within an Network.
Observations on Genre and Power Relations in the Germen-Language Regions from 1400 to 1620

Andreas Bähr:
Condemning Oneself to Death: The Semantics of Suicide in the German Enlightenment

Fabian Brändle:
Pitfalls in Reading Popular Self-Narratives: Biographical Reconfigurations and Self-Censure in the Autobiography of a Peddler, Small Framer and Weaver from Eastern Switzerland, Gregorius Aemisegger (1815-1913)

Part III: Cartography

Claudia Ulbrich:
Family and House Books in the German-Speaking Regions: A Research Overview

Thomas M. Safley:
Autobiography in Economic History

Sophie Ruppel:
Family Politics, Family Networks and the ‘Familial Self’: Sibling Letters in seventeenth-century German High Aristocracy

Patricia Zihlmann-Märki:
Scrabbling Mice, a Visit from Hades and Thoughts of Death: The Autobiography of Lucas Forcart-Respinger, a Merchant from Basel (1789-1869)
All interested in the history of ego-documents, autobiography theory, Swiss and German historiography

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