Dr. Vera Faßhauer


TMWWDG Fellow (Gotha Research Centre)

Visiting address

Forschungszentrum Gotha der Universität Erfurt (FZG)
Schloßberg 2
99867 Gotha

Mailing address

Forschungszentrum Gotha der Universität Erfurt (FZG)
Schloßberg 2
99867 Gotha

Dr. Vera Faßhauer

Curriculum Vitae

Since 12/2021 TMWWDG fellow at the Gotha Research Centre

4/2020-11/2021 Research associate at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Institute for German Literature and its Didactics

3-4/2020 Duke Ernst Fellow at the Gotha Research Library Erfurt/Gotha

WiSe 2019/20 adjunct lecturer at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Institute for German Literature and its Didactics

9/2019-2/2020 Research Fellow at the Duke August Library Wolfenbüttel

SoSe 2019 adjunct lecturer at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Institute for German Literature and its Didactics

2/2019-5/2019 Liselotte Kirchner Fellow at the Francke Foundations in Halle

SoSe 2018 adjunct lecturer at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Institute for German Literature and its Didactics

2/2017-2/2019 Research assistant in the project "Digital selection edition of the diaries of Johann Christian Senckenberg" at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Institute for German Literature and its Didactics, project manager: Prof. Dr. Robert C. Seidel

8/2013-9/2016 Research assistant in the project "Transcription of the diaries of Johann Christian Senckenberg" at the University Library of the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main.

11/2014 Doctorate (Dr. phil.) with a dissertation Zur Poetik des Hässlichen im 18. Jahrhundert (On the Poetics of Ugliness in the 18th Century).

3/13-7/13 Research assistant in the project "German Word Field Metymology in a European Context" at the Saxon Academy of Sciences in Leipzig, project leader: Prof. Dr. Rosemarie Lühr

1/2010-12/2012, research assistant in the DFG project "Early Modern Correspondences of Princesses in Central Germany" at FSU Jena, 4/2013-6/2013 Chair of Indo-Germanic Studies, project leader: Prof. Dr. Rosemarie Lühr

7/2006-3/2008 Research Assistant at FSU Jena, Institute of German Literary Studies, Chair of General and Comparative Literary Studies (Prof. Dr. Gerhard R. Kaiser)

7/2006-5/2008 Doctoral Scholarship of the Foundation for Education and Science

4/2005-6/2006, 10/2008-12/2009 Research assistant in SFB 482 "Ereignis Weimar-Jena. Culture around 1800", subproject B6: Friedrich Justin Bertuch" at FSU Jena/Klassik-Stiftung Weimar, project managers: Prof. Dr. Werner Greiling and Dr. Siegfried Seifert

12/04 Graduation as Magistra Artium with a thesis on the subject of Heine and the caricature

01/2005-12/2009 Freelance work as translator, editor, proofreader and transcriber for scientific institutes, publishing houses, museums and radio stations

8/1999-12/2004 Student assistant in the DFG Collaborative Research Center 482 "Ereignis Weimar-Jena. Culture around 1800", subproject C4/B6 (project managers: Prof. Dr. Gerhard R. Kaiser, Prof. Dr. Werner Greiling, Dr. Siegfried Seifert)

1996 to 2004 Studies of German Literary Studies, English Literary Studies and Art History at the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena

Research foci

Diaries and Letters of the Early Modern Period

Epistemic vs. Literary Genres

Ugliness and Caricature in the 18th and 19th Centuries

Digital Edition

Image-Text Relationships


Johann Christian Senckenberg's Observationes: Form, Functions, Foundations, Contexts

The Frankfurt physician and philanthropist Johann Christian Senckenberg (1707-1772) has been portrayed in previous research as a religious zealot, anxious hypochondriac, and systemless collector of details. The main reason for this assessment is the fact that Senckenberg's extensive and difficult-to-decipher diaries were either not included or only included under one-sided positivist criteria. Based on full-text transcriptions now available as well as on new research results on epistemic recording practices and on the relationship between religion and the Enlightenment, the project pursues the question of whether the supposedly fanatical and detail-oriented diarist cannot in fact be considered an exemplary representative of his century, who even held decidedly progressive views with regard to religion and medicine. For this purpose, the self-positioning of the author between the bourgeoisie of the rich city, the radical pietist conventicle and the learned medical profession will first be examined, and thus the social, religious and professional environment in which the diaries were written will be delineated. Furthermore, the specificity of the records will be determined in comparison with other diary projects of the period. Since they show characteristics of both the religious diary and the epistemic genre observatio, their functions and knowledge potentials are then analyzed in the double context of the radical pietist practice of faith and the empiricist practice of science. In this context, the question also arises as to the sources that might have provided Senckenberg with seminal impulses for his multifunctional recording practice. Finally, Senckenberg's radical pietistic medico-theology will be related to the medical, theological, and epistemological debates of the Enlightenment period.

In accordance with its inherently multilayered object of investigation, the project makes contributions to several research disciplines. Pietism research, for example, can expect new insights into the hitherto hardly studied Frankfurt Separates and thus a sharper grasp of radical pietism. Senckenberg's positions on the epoch-specific discourses on illness and personal responsibility, heterodoxy and tolerance, and rationalism and empiricism also open up a new perspective on the relationship between religion and the Enlightenment. This field of tension can also be demonstrated in the field of medical history by highlighting the influence of radical pietistic concepts of body and soul on the development of psychomedicine in the 18th century. By understanding Senckenberg's records equally as a medium of self-knowledge, knowledge of nature, and knowledge of God, the work also opens up new interdisciplinary perspectives for diaristic research, both thematically and in terms of genre.



Edited volumes

  • (With Rosemarie Lühr, Daniela Prutscher and Henry Seidel): Genderspezifik in mitteldeutschen Fürstinnenkorrespondenzen der Frühen Neuzeit. Korpusphilologische Studien, Hamburg 2018.


  • Johann Christian Senckenberg: Observationes in me ipso factae, Bd. 2 (1732). In: Digitale Auswahledition der Tagebücher Johann Christian Senckenbergs, bearbeitet von Vera Faßhauer und Veronika Marschall, Frankfurt am Main: Universitätbibliothek, vorläufige Version.
  • mit Volker Wahl, Ute Leonhardt und Ernst Werner (eds.): Herbert Kühnert: Forschungen zur Geschichte des Jenaer Glaswerks Schott & Genossen (Veröffentlichungen der Historischen Kommission für Thüringen, Große Reihe, Bd. 20), Wien/Köln/Weimar 2012.

Data publication

  • mit Daniela Prutscher und Henry Seidel (eds.): Annotiertes Textkorpus Frühneuzeitliche Fürstinnenkorrespondenzen im mitteldeutschen Raum, zugänglich über ANNIS.

Articles in journals (peer-reviewed)

  • Sacra à Deo in corde discenda, natura ex natura. Die Observationes Johann Christian Senckenbergs als medico-theologische Aufzeichnungspraktik. In: Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 40 (2017), pp. 225–246, https://doi.org/10.1002/bewi.201701824.
  • „Streiterin ‚wieder allen willen‘? Aktionsspielräume und Argumentationsstrategien der Herzoginwitwe Dorothea Maria von Sachsen-Weimar im Altenburger Präzedenzstreit.“ In: Zeitschrift für Thüringische Geschichte 70 (2016), pp. 101–115.

Articles in edited volumes

  • „Thersites Moralized: 18th Century Corrective, Apologetic and Exegetic Readings of the Second Book of Homer’s Iliad“. In: The Long Quarrel: Past and Present in the Eighteenth Century, ed. by Jacques Bos and Jan Rotmans, Leiden/Boston 2021 (Brill's Studies in Intellectual History 332), pp. 99–117.

  • „Men and/or Manners: Poetiken des Charakteristischen zwischen Individualisierung und Abstraktion“. In:Lothar van Laak und Kristin Eichhorn (eds.): Kulturen der Moral. Beiträge zur DGEJ-Jahrestagung 2018 in Paderborn, Hamburg 2021 (Studien zum achtzehnten Jahrhundert 42), pp. 325–343.

  • „Erfahrung und Erkenntnis in gottgegebener Freiheit: Subjektives Empfinden und individuelle Normsetzung bei Johann Christian Senckenberg“. In: hg. von Daniel Cyranka, Thomas Ruhland, Christian Soboth and Friedemann Stengel (eds.): Gefühl und Norm. Religion und Gefühlskulturen im 18. Jahrhundert. Beiträge zum V. Internationalen Kongress für Pietismusforschung 2018, Halle 2021 (Hallesche Forschungen 61/1+2), vol. 1, pp. 77–100.

  • „Beobachtungen zur Erkenntnis meiner selbst und anderer: Körper- und Seelenerfahrung als Basis medizinischer Praxis bei Johann Christian Senckenberg“. In: Kat. Heilen an Leib und Seele. Medizin und Hygiene im 18. Jahrhundert, ed. for Franckesche Stiftungen by Holger Zaunstöck and Thomas Grunewald, Halle 2021, pp. 268–279.

  • „A Pure Abode for an Unblemished Soul: Medical, Spiritual and Political Significances of Bodily Characteristics in Johann Christian Senckenberg’s Journals“. In: Bodies in Early Modern Religious Dissent. Naked, Veiled, Vilified, Worshipped, ed. by Elisabeth Fischer and Xenia von Tippelskirch, London/ New York 2021 (Routledge Studies in Early Modern Religious Dissents and Radicalism), pp. 64–83.

  • „Faulty, Clumsy, Negligible? Revaluating Early Modern Princesses’ Letters as a Source for Cultural History and Corpus Linguistics“. In: Intersectionality in Digital Humanities, ed. by Barbara Bordalejo and Roopika Risam, Kalamazoo/Bradford 2019 (Collection Development, Cultural Heritage, and Digital Humanities), pp. 109–126. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781641890519

  • „Selbsterkenntnis – Naturerfahrung – Gottesoffenbarung: Religiöses und ärztliches Virtuosentum bei Johann Christian Senckenberg und Johann Konrad Dippel.“ In: Prediger, Charismatiker, Berufene – Rolle und Einfluss religiöser Virtuosen, hg. von Dagmar Hänel und Christine Aka, Münster 2018, pp. 49–74.
  • „Einleitung“. In: Rosemarie Lühr, Vera Faßhauer, Daniela Prutscher and Henry Seidel (eds.): Genderspezifik in mitteldeutschen Fürstinnenkorrespondenzen der Frühen Neuzeit. Korpusphilologische Studien, Hamburg 2018, pp. 7–23.
  • “Ernestinische Fürstinnenkorrespondenzen der Frühen Neuzeit: Protagonistinnen, Anlässe, Themen, Stil“. In: Rosemarie Lühr, Vera Faßhauer, Daniela Prutscher and Henry Seidel (eds.): Genderspezifik in mitteldeutschen Fürstinnenkorrespondenzen der Frühen Neuzeit. Korpusphilologische Studien, Hamburg 2018, pp. 25–86.
  • O, Hogarth, had I thy pencil!Henry Fieldings literarische Karikaturen im Verhältnis zu den grafischen Satiren William Hogarths”. In:  Joanna Godlewicz-Adamiec, Paweł Piszczatowski and Tomasz Szybisty (eds.): Literatur und Malerei (Literatura – Konteksty 3), Kraków / Warszawa 2018, pp. 201–215.
  • Franco furtum, Furtum franco. Zur Bedingtheit von J. Chr. Senckenbergs Wahrnehmung der reichsstädtischen Eliten“. In: Julia A. Schmidt-Funke and Matthias Schnettger (eds.): Neue Stadtgeschichte(n). Die Reichsstadt Frankfurt im Vergleich (Mainzer Historische Kulturwissenschaften 11), Bielefeld 2018, pp. 223–251; https://doi.org/10.14361/9783839434826-008.
  • „,Ô stultam sapientiam!‘ Zum Verhältnis von pietistischer Selbsterkenntnis und weltlicher Gelehrsamkeit in den Tagebüchern des jungen Johann Christian Senckenberg“. In: Irmtraut Sahmland, Hans-Jürgen Schrader (eds.): Medizin- und kulturgeschichtliche Konnexe des Pietismus. Heilkunst und Ethik, arkane Traditionen, Musik, Literatur und Sprache (Arbeiten zur Geschichte des Pietismus 61), Göttingen 2016, pp. 45–68.

Articles in Conference Proceedings (peer-reviewed)

  • „Der Datenpool eines frühneuzeitlichen Self-Trackers, oder: Johann Christian Senckenbergs Observationes. Ein Distant Reading-Zugang“. Presented at the DHd 2020 – Spielräume: Digital Humanities zwischen Modellierung und Interpretation. 7. Tagung des Verbands "Digital Humanities im deutschsprachigen Raum" (DHd 2020), Paderborn: Zenodo, 2020. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4621942.
  • „Nachhaltige Erschließung umfangreicher handschriftlicher Überlieferungen. Ein Fallbeispiel“. Presented at the DHd 2017 – Digitale Nachhaltigkeit. 4. Tagung des Verbands "Digital Humanities im deutschsprachigen Raum" (DHd 2017), Bern: Zenodo, 2017. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4646127.

Articles in handbooks

  • „Frühneuhochdeutsche Korrespondenzen sächsisch-ernestinischer Fürstinnen“. In: Handbuch Brief. Von der Frühen Neuzeit bis zur Gegenwart, hg. von Marie Isabel Matthews-Schlinzig, Jörg Schuster, Gesa Steinbrink und Jochen Strobel, Berlin / München / Boston 2020, S. 727–739, https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110376531-054.

Conference reports and catalogue contributions 

  • „Die Tagebücher Johann Christian Senckenbergs“. In: Kat. Ich sehe wunderbare Dinge. 100 Jahre Sammlungen der Goethe-Universität, hg. von Charlotte Trümpler, Judith Blume, Vera Hierholzer und Lisa Regazzoni, Ostfildern 2014, S. 342–343.