Institute of Modern History

Christoph Schlemmer

Research Associate


Hölderlinstraße 19, first floor
72074 Tübingen
room: 106
07071 29-72989



Education and professional appointments

since 2018
research associate

with the project "Landhäuser im Wandel – Country Houses in Times of Change"

2017 - 2018
student assistant

with the CRC 923 "Bedrohte Ordnungen – Threatened Orders" and with the research projekt "Landhäuser im Wandel – Country Houses in Times of Change"

2015 - 2018
student assistant

with Professor Ewald Frie, Institute of Modern History

Master of Arts; title of thesis:

"Katholische Kirche und italienische Arbeiter in Württemberg. Predigen und Arbeiten zwischen 1898 und 1914" (The Catholic Church and Italian Workers in Württemberg: Preaching and Working between 1898 and 1914)

2015 - 2017
MA student

of History at the University of Tübingen

Bachelor of Arts
2011 - 2015
BA student

of History and Philosophy at the University of Tübingen



  • history of rural regions
  • history of sociability
  • 19th-century history
  • history of migration

PhD as part of the research project “Landhäuser im Wandel – Country Houses in Times of Change“ (sub-project 2)

working title: Akteure und ihre Soziabilität im Raumgefüge von Landhäusern, 1880-1930 (Actors and their sociability within the space of country houses, 1880-1930)

abstract: In this project, I will study networks and spatial practices as well as conflicts and co-operations in the environment of country houses, in order to determine how actors initiated and implemented transformations in the period commonly labelled ‘classical modernity’. When characterising this era, historians have usually had recourse to key words such as ‘industrialisation’ and ‘urbanisation,’ all of which evoke the town or city; in consequence, rural regions during this period have rarely been studied in their own right, at least not in any significant depth.

Basing my research on the theory that transformations are the result of interactions between individuals and groups in a specific setting, I will enquire into types of socialising interaction – in other words, into sociability. I am interested in those actors who moved within and between the spheres of the country house, its farm operations, and the local community. Which spaces constituted their living environment (Lebenswelt)? Which practices were associated with these spaces? What types of conflict were common to country house environments, and what strategies were employed in co-operations?

Choosing a microhistorical approach in my study of country houses as hitherto under-researched spaces beyond the widely posited dichotomy of urban and rural environments, I will aim to achieve an innovative and fruitful combination of aspects of the actor network theory, theories of space (Raumforschung), and the history of sociability. In this way, while my project constitutes a contribution to the history of rural regions and to agricultural history, it is also relevant within the history of the nobility and country house research. The overarching aim is to re-examine common narratives of modernity.

In terms of sources used, my study rests chiefly on the holdings of estate archives, since these texts allow for tangible insights into relevant types of sociability. For example, a conflict between the lord of the manor and the local council about the public or private usage of the estate gardens bears testimony to the high degree to which groups that had evolved over decades were able to deal with conflict. In another instance, the records of a committee – chaired by an estate owner – debating the building of a railway to develop the local economic sphere demonstrate the complex makeup of rural regions around 1900 beyond simplistic theories of modernisation. These – and many other – examples show that the environments of country houses had their very own character which can neither be classified as ‘old’ nor as ‘new’ but as something highly idiosyncratic and ‘in-between,’ and that contemporary actors were highly used to and comfortable with transformation, both in terms of experiencing and creating it.