Prof.in Dr.in Edith Saurer (1942–2011)

Curriculum vitae

Edith Saurer was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1942.

She completed her studies at the University of Vienna with a doctoral thesis on the relationship between church and state in the Habsburg Monarchy “Die politischen Aspekte der österreichischen Bischofsernennungen 1867-1903”(1968) and continued to work on problems of church history during her two year stay in Rome at the Österreichisches Kulturinstitut from 1966 onwards.

Returning to the University of Vienna as assistant professor, she became interested in the history of material culture, borders, taxation and criminality in a comparative perspective, focussing on Italy and Austria. Within these fields of research she paid particular attention to anthropological approaches to history, discussing the relationship between social, cultural and institutional history. She developed this focus in her Habilitationsschrift (completed in 1983 and published 1989) “Straße, Schmuggel, Lottospiel. Materielle Kultur und Staat in Niederösterreich, Böhmen und Lombardo-Venetien im frühen 19.Jahrhundert”. Currently she edited with Waltraud Heindl on the topic of borders and citizenship “Grenze und Staat. Passwesen, Staatsbürgerschaft, Heimatrecht, und Fremdengesetzgebung in der österreichischen Monarchie (1750-1867)” (2000). Her study on the borders of the Mediterranean “Auf der Suche nach Ehre und Scham. Europa, sein mediterraner Raum und die Mittelmeeranthropologie”, in: Historische Anthropologie 10 (2002) also discusses part of this research field, bringing it together with gender history.

In the 1970s and 1980s she began to study women’s history concentrating for on the aspect of religion, e.g.: “Frauen und Priester. Beichtgespräche im frühen 19.Jahrhundert, in : Richard van Dülmen (ed.), Arbeit, Frömmigkeit und Eigensinn. Studien zur historischen Kulturforschung (1990); “‘Bewahrerinnen der Zucht und Sittlichkeit’. Gebetbücher für Frauen – Frauen in Gebetbüchern”, in: L`Homme Z.F.G.1 (1990) and ed. “Die Religion der Geschlechter. Historische Aspekte religiöser Mentalitäten” 1995. Currently she is working the history of love and gender relations in an European context as well as forms of endogamy in a comparative view. These studies focus on the working of gender, policy, culture and religion.

The field of religion has remained of special interest to her. She is currently researching the history of conversions –“Romantische KonvertitInnen. Religion und Identität in der Wiener Romantik” as part of an interdisciplinary project on the “Spuren der Romantik in Wien” (the publication is forthcoming) This is a topic she plans to work further on, focussing on subjectivity, identity and the impact of religion.

Edith Saurer is a historian of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. In the context of an edition of letters from an Austrian Socialist and Jew who emigrated to Paris in 1938, written for but never read by his wife (together with Heinz Berger and Gerhard Botz), “Briefe ohne Antwort. Aufzeichnungen aus dem Pariser Exil 1938-1939” (2003), she analysed this text asking for the working of memory. “‘Ach wie weit ist deine Stimme’: Nähe und Erinnerung in Otto Leichters Brieftagebuch, geschrieben in der Pariser Emigration 1938/39” published in the book “Briefkulturen und ihr Geschlecht” edited together with Christa Hämmerle (2003). This article underlines her interest in the production and construction of Ego-Documents.

In 1990 she founded the journal “L’Homme. Zeitschrift für Feministische Geschichtswissenschaft” and in 1995 the book series “L’Homme Schriften. Reihe zur Feministischen Geschichtswissenschaft”. She is a member of the editorial board of “Historische Anthropologie. Kultur, Gesellschaft, Alltag” (since 1993).

Edith Saurer is professor for modern and contemporary history at the University of Vienna (since 1992) and has been visiting professor at the Universities of Bielefeld, Naples, Leipzig and at the European University Institute, Florence.


Auszeichnungen und Preise:
Käthe-Leichter-Staatspreis (1991)
Gabriele-Possanner-Staatspreises (1997)
Goldenes Ehrenzeichen der Stadt Wien (2010)

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