The 11 cases represent chief dimensions of privacy and key historical conditions. Cases 1–2 privi­lege long-term development, and pursue notions of privacy through the fate of specific laws, build­ings, religious and political ideas and institutions across 3 centuries. Cases 3–11 are narrower scrutinies of notions of privacy and their societal conditions.

Eight cases currently being analyzed:

1: Copenhagen (1500–1800): negotiations of privacy in the nexus be­tween ruler and citizens

Copenhagen is not only the physical seat of the Centre for Privacy Studies, it is also the case study with a research period spanning the entire early modern period.


2: Amsterdam (1500–1800): notions of privacy inherent in civic distinctions and their architectural bearings

Early modern Amsterdam was a place of rapid transformation: starting in the 16th century, there was a population boom, transforming Amsterdam into an important European city, known for its religious tolerance, expansion of trade, and accommodation of migrants from various parts of Europe.


3: The City of Versailles under Louis XIV (1682–1715): Zones of privacy under­pinning social, political, and devotional aspects of power

By focusing on the history of privacy in the town of Versailles from 1682 to 1715, our case team investigates concrete, localized mechanisms that allowed Louis XIV to publicly perform the idea of centralized power so successfully that he came to be known as the Sun-King.


4: City of Westminster under Eliza­beth I (1558­–1603): rela­tions between direct and indirect definitions of privacy




The case focuses on the period 1558 to 1603, and the team investigates notions privacy in royal, religious, commercial, and daily life in the realm of Elizabeth I. The team consists of architectural historians, legal historians, church historians and historians of political thought.


5: Dresden 1541-86: Consequences of Private Networks and Private Discourse in Early Modern Dresden: Interface of Court, Household and Society

Early modern Dresden provides an ideal location to explore the notions of privacy and the private and how these concepts transformed the city and pushed the boundaries by redefining culture (i.e. the dominating presence of Lutheranism, architectural innovation, and civic identities).


6: Helmstedt (1620–81): potential interplays between theoretical and everyday notions of privacy

Research on privacy will add decisive new insights to research into, e.g., Helmstedt’s social history, knowledge cul­ture and Early Modern fusion of politics and theology.


7: Altona (1750–1800): notions of privacy at the interface between civic ideals and practices

Notions of privacy in urban, religious and philosophical ideals and their materi­alization.


8: Glasgow (1728–89): no­tions of pri­vacy at the inter­face of civic theory and practice as well as commercial enterprises

Notions of privacy shaped in the pursuit of civic prosperity, reli­gious stability and Enlightenment ideals.


Three cases still await examination:

9: La Rochelle (1568–1603): no­tions of privacy defined in the control of individuals’ religious conviction

10: Chatsworth House under the 1st–4th Earls of Devonshire (1610–c. 1700): notions of privacy in a specific household, its material space and intellectual climate

11: Arc-et-Senans: La saline royale (1771–1806): notions of privacy in an industrial ideal community