Anna Katharina Schaffner is a Professor of Cultural History at the University of Kent, a literary critic and an author (The Truth about Julia, Allen & Unwin, 2016).
In her monograph Exhaustion: A History (Columbia University Press, 2016), she argues that human beings have always both struggled with exhaustion and have been afraid of its social as well as of its personal impact. The explanatory models of exhaustion have repeatedly been associated with criticism on culture and technology, as can be witnessed in the current debate on burnout. Through its historical contextualization, the representation of exhaustion in the media as well as the way in which human beings reflect upon present-day experiences of burnout, stress and chronic fatigue has changed.
During her stay at HIAS, Anna Katharina Schaffner plans to complete her monograph Self-Improvement: A Global History, in which she states that self-improvement is a basic human need. Her tandem partner is Sighard Neckel, Professor at the Department of Society and Social Change Studies of the University of Hamburg, where he also serves as co-director of the Humanities Center for Advanced Studies “Futures of Sustainability”.
Anna Katharina Schaffner’s HIAS Fellowship is funded by the ZEIT STIFTUNG BUCERIUS.
ZEIT STIFTUNG BUCERIUS
Prof. Dr. Sighard Neckel, Professor at the Department of Society and Social Change Studies of the University of Hamburg, co-director of the Humanities Center for Advanced Studies “Futures of Sustainability”.
Marsilio Ficino. Extract from “L’Homme et la Terre”