Centre for Privacy Studies

Project: Research

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Humanities



PRIVACY is dedicated to interdisciplinary and collaborative research into notions of privacy in Early Modern Europe. It focuses on eleven cases from Denmark, England, France, Germany and the Netherlands in the period 1500–1800. The collaborative programme is driven by an interdisciplinary vision of an integrated approach in which a team of scholars collaborate, challenge and inspire each other in a joint pursuit of the legislative, religious, social, cultural and architectural aspects of a common set of cases. Shared responsibil- ity across academic hierarchies is a token of PRIVACY’s vision for interactive research education.
The aim of PRIVACY is to develop 1) systematized historical knowledge of dynamics that shape, induce or curb privacy in society; 2) an interdisciplinary method equipped to grasp such dynamics; and 3) a strong and vibrant international research environment dedicated to high-profile historical research and equipped to incite a much broader investigation of privacy.
PRIVACY’s scholarly potency stems from its site-based interdisciplinary analysis. Across eleven cases the research team will trawl Early Modern material: letters, laws, political manuals, newspapers, sermons, visual representations, architectural drawings, buildings, diaries, contracts, community records etc. for notions of privacy, analysing the deployment of words with the root ‘priv-ʼ: in privato, privy, Privat-(person/andacht etc.), privauté etc. as well as boundaries drawn in relation to, e.g., confidentiality, security, family, body, self. The research programme is based on a joint interdisciplinary focus on, e.g., legislative thresholds between home and community; decrees regarding individuals’ bodies, e.g., during epidemics, or the idea of the household’s (oeconomia) impact on civic well-being (politia); ecclesiastical and political power over ‘heretical’ mindsets; and architectural demarcation of individuals’ place in a household.
PRIVACY is established with a grant of 50 mio DKK (ca. 6.7 mio Euro) from the Danish National Research Foundation and based at the University of Copenhagen.
Short titlePRIVACY
Effective start/end date2017/11/012023/11/01

Collaborative partners

  • Lund University
  • Copenhagen University, Faculty of Theology (lead)
  • University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law
  • The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture
  • Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel
  • University of Cambridge
  • University Panthéon-Assas
  • ETH Zürich


  • Charlotte Christensen-Nugues - Division of History of Ideas and Sciences (CoI)
  • Birkedal Bruun, Mette - Copenhagen University, Faculty of Theology (PI)
  • Vogt, Helle - University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law (CoI)
  • Thule Kristensen, Peter - The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture (CoI)
  • Bepler, Jill - Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel (CoI)
  • Brett, Annabel - University of Cambridge (CoI)
  • Colcatre-Zilgien, Philippe - University Panthéon-Assas (CoI)
  • Delbeke, Maarten - ETH Zürich (CoI)

Related research output

Charlotte Christensen-Nugues, 2018, Vetenskapssocieteten i Lund. Årsbok 2018. Rahm, H. (ed.). Lund: Vetenskapssocieteten i Lund, p. 15-28 (Årsbok).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

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Related activities

Christensen-Nugues, C. (Invited speaker)
2017 Oct 27

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

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