ONLINE PRIVACY SEMINAR: Historical Notions of Privacy in Latin America with Assistant Professor Natalie Koerner


This series of seminars aims to address historical issues of privacy in Latin America, in Europe, and transregionally. Each month, one of the participants will present a work-in-progress, which will be circulated in advance and discussed online via zoom.

This event is open, and scholars of all countries are welcome to join. Meetings will be held on the  last Thursday of the month at

 17:00 CEST/CET. Exceptions will be informed in advance. The language of the seminar is English. If necessary, questions in Portuguese or Spanish can be posted on the chat and will be translated.

In our next meeting, Assistant Professor Natalie Koerner will introduce her work on privacy in the case-team of Helmstedt to exemplify the approach of the Centre for Privacy Studies. This meeting will take place on February 25, at 17:00 CET (13:00 BRT).

Natalie Koerner’s work-in-progress is:

The Professors’ Houses of Helmstedt: Gendering Privacy

The so-called professors’ houses of Helmstedt serve as a unique architectural case study of the budding sense of privacy in early modern northern Europe. They emerged as a typology in Helmstedt during its time as an eminent university town (1576-1810). The professors’

 houses are built manifestations of a changing definition of civic versus private life with specific implications for the role of women—the professors’ wives. The civic posed a particularly interesting duality as Helmstedt encompassed two parallel juridical and economical systems: that affiliated with the university and that of the town. Non-university-affiliated persons were prohibited by law from entering the professors’ houses. While exerting exclusion on that level, the houses established a realm of empowerment for the professors’ wives, who were paramount in the economics and organisation of the household. As the houses formed part of the semi-public university realm, the women also, by extension, directly influenced the professors’ academic reputation (Heide Wunder, 2010). This paper discusses the architecture of the professors’ houses as gendering space, exclusion and emancipation in relation to privacy.

To join the discussion, please send an email to: