The project “Country Houses in Times of Change” considers a period of some 200 years and looks at three German regions: Württemberg, the Rhineland and Brandenburg. Here, country houses constitute the starting point for a seminal investigation into the relations between landscape, society and material culture. Micro-oriented, interregional, and putting the agency of people and things into focus, this project combines approaches currently implemented in agrarian and micro histories with country house studies as well as agency-network-theories.
The overall project comprises of four sub-projects:
Researcher: Anne Sophie Overkamp
What practices were used in decorating country houses around the epochal year 1800 and during the “Age of Revolutions”? This project explores the many different ways in which consumption, convenience, leisure, art, gender, and ascriptions of a public/private character to spaces and materials influenced the self-conception of a house’s inhabitants.
Researcher: Christoph Schlemmer
This project focuses on conviviality and conflicts between country house, farm operations, and local community, with a particular emphasis on actors and spaces as well as conditions and aims of interaction. Its objective is to inquire into configurations of actors, spatial practices, and types of sociability between inhabitants of the ‘great house,’ employees, and local parishioners from 1880 to 1930.
Researcher: Manuela Mann
Based on a selection of case studies, this project explores why, from the 1970s onwards, different groups of actors have increasingly campaigned for the preservation of historical castles, palaces, and country houses, some of them extremely decrepit. By addressing this question, I will enquire into processes of negotiation and (re-)interpretation in a diachronic perspective as well as practices of historicization.