Annika Raapke

Annika Raapke

Ammerländer Heerstraße 114-118 
D-26129 Oldenburg
Building A3, Room A3 1-107
Tel.: +49 441 798-2369


Caribbean Realms of the Body: A praxeological Approach towards a History of the Moved Body in the late 18th Century


The 18 century's steady stream of Europeans moving to the  Caribbean colonies is primarily attracted by promises of wealth through the slave-based sugar- and tobacco-business. But it is also the prospect of an increased social mobility which enticed many people from poorest backgrounds to travel to French, English or Dutch settlements in the Caribbean. Those men and women who dared to resettle, kept close contact to friends, family and business partners by means of correspondence. In these letters, which have been preserved in an astonishing spectrum (see below), one highly-visible phenomenon comes to the fore: the world-perceiving, world-experiencing body of the letters' authors. Ubiquitously, they describe the body as the medium of perception and experience. Corporeal perception is the origin of emotional and mental states as well as the situational perception of the world – a “realm of the body”. The body, firstly, experiences the physical Caribbean: heat, tropical storms, bites of unknown insects, unfamiliar food. It also experiences the specific make-up of colonial societies, perceives the enslaved counterpart's black skin or the commingling of the white population regardless of European distinctions of rank, e.g. when a highly cultured theatre manager works next to a perennially hired servant. The authors' bodies experience the colonial resettlement as crisis and unfitting: their everyday practices of dressing, working, eating, sleeping or health care fail at the Caribbean's physical conditions; they fall ill, feel queasy, feeble, irritated. Social practices of in- and exclusion, distinction and usage of shared spaces have to be modified, too. A French merchant's wife, for example, is outraged about the “mulatto-women's impertinence”, who “parade” the streets in voguish clothes. In addition to that, there is slavery, which entails the execution of very particular practices on a daily basis. The letters preserved contain an astonishing spectrum of intelligible bodies, which contributed to shaping the 18th century's colonial everyday life through their practices – this allows for a new approach to a colonial history of the body from the perspectives of Praxeology and History of the Everyday. more...

Brief Vita

2005-2010Study of History, German and French at the Universities of Muenster and Oldenburg. Bachelor Thesis: “'Fördärfwade Smak' or 'Yppighets Nytta'. Consuming Luxury as an Issue of Public Debate in the Swedish “Frihetstid”, 1719-1722”. Best-Thesis Award at the Department of History 2010.
2010-2012Study of History and German at the University of Oldenburg. Master Thesis: “Practices of Recognition and Networking in 18th Century Physicians' Correspondence”. Awarded as an Outstanding Work at the Department of History 2012.
07/2012-10/2013   Coordinator of the Cooperative Project “Liberty Space Reformation”
since October 2013  Member of the DFG Research Training Group: “Self-Making. Practices of Subjectivation in Historical and Interdisciplinary Perspective”


SoSe 2013Haschisch für die Liebe, Spinnen gegen den Schmerz. Körperalltag in der Frühen Neuzeit
WiSe 2013/ 2014   gemeinsam mit Lucas Haasis: „Wir richten eine Botschaft an einen bestimmten Menschen, aber er, der Brief, richtet sich zuerst an uns“ – Eine Einführung in die Briefforschung
SoSe 2014Mars Should Lay the World in Blood- early modern bodies in conflict


Februar 2012Vortrag „Unter Kollegen. Praktiken der Anerkennung und Vernetzung in Ärztekorrespondenzen des 18. Jahrhunderts“, auf der Internationalen Tagung „Praktiken der Selbst-Bildung im Spannungsfeld von ständischer Ordnung und gesellschaftlicher Dynamik“  des DFG-Graduiertenkollegs 1608/1“Praktiken der Subjektivierung“
Dezember 2012   Vortrag „Der seltsame Fall des gestohlenen Skalpells“ auf dem 1. Historikerworkshop „Doings-Sayings-Writings“ des DFG-Graduiertenkollegs 1608/1 „Praktiken der Subjektivierung“
Januar 2014Vortrag „Im Auge des Sturms. Europäische Körper auf Guadeloupe im "Großen Hurrikan" von 1780“, auf dem 3. Historikerworkshop „Doings-Sayings-Writings“ des DFG- Graduiertenkollegs 1608/1 „Praktiken der Subjektivierung“
Oktober 2014Vortrag „A Serious Man. An ‘enlightened’ male body’s fight against yellow fever in 1802 Martinique, auf der Internationalen Tagung “I am all at Sea”; The National Archives, London.


Annika Raapke und Lucas Haasis: Ihr ergebenster und sehr gehorsamer Diener und Sohn. Frühneuzeitliche Jugendbriefe an Mütter, in: Geschichte Lernen Nr. 156, Themenheft „Selbstzeugnisse“, 2013, S.16 – 23.

Annika Raapke: In Gelb! Selbstentwürfe eines Mannes im Fieber, in: Freist, Dagmar (Hrsg.): Diskurse-Körper-Artefakte. Historische Praxeologie in der Frühneuzeitforschung, Bielefeld 2014.

(Changed: 19 Dec 2022)