Summer Academy: Labour and Leisure in Global History, 9 – 16 September 2018, Mombasa, Kenya

Felicitas Hentschke's picture
Call for Papers
September 9, 2018 to September 16, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Humanities, Labor History / Studies, Area Studies, Anthropology, Contemporary History


Call for Applications
International Summer Academy
Labour and Leisure in Global History

9 September – 16 September 2018, Mombasa, Kenya

The international research centre Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History (re:work) and the IAAW at Humboldt University Berlin as well as the Faculty of Arts, University of Nairobi, Kenya will hold a transdisciplinary Summer Academy exploring the historical and/ or contemporary connections between labour and leisure in a global perspective. The Summer Academy is open for doctoral students working in the field of work/ labour and leisure from historical and socio-cultural perspectives and will take place in Mombasa and Nairobi, 9 September to 16 September 2018.

The Summer Academy aims to explore the relation and associations between work, leisure and non-work in different historical periods, cultures and social milieus, both in discourses and in social practices. At a general level, we would like to reflect on the ways of integrating leisure and non-work into the global history of work; on perceptions of labour and leisure, their representation across media in time and space; and variations of labour and leisure that may occur across gender and demographic categories. For a better understanding of the relation between work, leisure and non-work we would like to discuss questions such as the following:

Which activities constitute leisure in the narrow sense of free time or freely disposable time, e.g. recreation, cultural activities, pleasure activities such as play, tourism etc.? What are the confluences between work, leisure, and non-work, or between particular leisure activities and activities widely regarded as “non-work” such as care, housework, and subsistence work, etc.? What are the moral economies that are reinforced or disrupted by the changing perspectives and practices of labour and leisure, work and non-work? What role do representation play in the perception of leisure work and non-work? Are particular forms of work or workplaces related to specific leisure practices or preferences?  Which actors participate in the definition of borders? What is the relation between “work ethic“ and “leisure preference“?

The Summer Academy attempts to facilitate a broader discussion on the connections of labour and leisure and the formation of identities, avoiding existing Eurocentric approaches. It also encourages studies that shed light on the impact of the development of leisure time facilities and the emergence of a leisure industry. Finally, the Summer Academy will also consider the ways in which gender, race, ethnicity and other intersectional social markers shaped notions of work and labour in relation to leisure.

The following aspects, among others, could be central to the projects and discussions:

-       Work, leisure and identities

-       Institutionalisation of leisure (sports, competitive activities)

-       Voluntary and honorary work

-       Daily routine and leisure

-       Work and leisure of rich and independent people (aristocrats, bourgeois moguls)

-       Leisure and state / economic intervention

-       Labour rights and fight for leisure-time

-       Work-life balance

-       Child work, domestic work

-       Deviant forms of work and labour

-       Subsistence work between work and leisure

-       Gardening and related activities between work and leisure

-       Gender related division of work and leisure

-       Joy of work

-       Work of artists, actors, writers, musicians

-       Tourism, sports, and leisure-industries

-       Forced to leisure: Unemployment, non-work and free time

-       Representation of labour and leisure, work and non-work in the creative industries

-       Geographies of labour and leisure

-       Urban cartographies of labour and leisure, work and non-work


The Summer Academy shall focus methodologically on historical and transdisciplinary perspectives that investigate global interconnections and entanglements. The critical reflection of general comparative notions should be part of the individual projects presented at the Summer Academy. Moreover, the Summer Academy will also provide the venue for an in-depth discussion of methodological issues and the question of sources with renowned historians and social scientists from around the world. The language of the Summer Academy will be English. Within its framework, selected participants will present their research (40 minutes) and comment on a project of a peer (20 minutes). Moreover, it is obligatory that all participants hand in an essay on specific topics related to the Summer Academy’s theme as well as answers to a set of pre-circulated key texts prior to the event.


To participate in the Summer Academy research scholars at the doctoral level need to apply with a brief outline of their current project describing how their work relates to the themes of the Summer Academy as well as how they can contribute to it (max. 7.800 characters). Proposed projects should assume a historical perspective and will be particularly pertinent if they take account of connections beyond the nation state and attempt to reflect upon the possibilities of integrating regional and systematic approaches. This does not exclude carefully contextualized case studies. Travel and accommodation costs of the selected participants will be covered by the organisers of the Summer Academy.

We welcome relevant applications from all parts of the globe.

Application procedure

For more information and the electronic application form please see our website:

You will be asked to provide information regarding your biography, your academic background as well as details on your current research. Applicants should provide the names of two referees in addition to that.


Please note that we can only accept electronically submitted applications!

Application deadline: 15 April 2018


Contact Info: 


For further information, please contact:
Dr. Felicitas Hentschke

T: +49 (0)30 / 2093-70206; F: -70210

Email: or visit the center’s website