Lars-Dieter Leisner

born 1985, studied History and Gender Studies at the Universities of Bremen and Oldenburg (BA) and History at the Universities of Bremen and Berkeley (MA), while receiving a scholarship from the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. He currently works on a dissertation-project at the University of Vienna (History Department) and receives a doctoral-scholarship from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

PhD Project:

The Married Couple as a Working Couple in Early Modern Diplomacy.
Gender Roles between Court Society and State Affairs


Das Ehepaar als Arbeitspaar in der frühneuzeitlichen Diplomatie. Geschlechterrollen zwischen Hofgesellschaft und Staatsgeschäften

My dissertation-project connects the fields of early modern diplomatic history and gender history through the focus on ‘diplomatic couples’ who formed not just a married but also a working alliance. Based on the concept of the ‘working couple’ by Heide Wunder that ascribes both parts of the married couple a relevant share in private as well as in work related issues this concept will be implemented in the early modern diplomatic history systematically for the first time. Looking at the diplomats of the Holy Roman Emperor during the 17th and 18th centuries my thesis aims to reevaluate the current perception regarding the functioning and structures of early modern diplomacy and its inherent gender roles. By implementing an actor-centered approach that is based in the concept of network analyses, the personal networks of the working couples will be reconstructed unveiling the informal connections between the actors. In doing so the – seemingly natural – factor ‘gender’ is understood as a question of social performance and will be put in relation to other categories of difference as a ‘multi-relational category’. Until today gender history of early modern diplomacy is focused solely on the female agents. Therefore the examination of the diplomatic couple as a working couple generates a combining approach that includes both parts of the couple in an equal way, thus resolving an essential desideratum and at the same time providing an important input to the understanding of early modern society as a whole.

Contact: lars.leisner@web.de