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Rudolf Wagner among editors of volume on leisure

Jan 21, 2020

The late Prof. Rudolf Wagner is among the editors of the volume on “Testing the Margins of Leisure. Case Studies on China, Japan, and Indonesia,” published with heiUP. By focusing on recent history, the book explores the many dimensions and historical trajectories of leisure in different cultural environments around the world.

The volume “Testing the Margins of Leisure. Case Studies on China, Japan, and Indonesia” offers eight studies on different historical and present-day aspects of leisure in Asia. It critically engages with the predominant Eurocentric focus of leisure studies, bringing into the discussion a number of crucial issues. Among these, is the role of leisure as a transcultural contact zone. The volume engages with a field that has been rapidly growing due to the heightened role of leisure activities in defining a person’s identity in the contemporary world, the fading of the work/leisure divide in the post-industrial age, and the increasing economic importance of leisure pursuits, such as tourism. Bringing Asia into the discussion contributes in resetting the study of leisure into a truly global context.

Besides the editorial, Prof. Wagner contributed two pieces. The essay on “Advocacy, Agency, and Social Change in Leisure: The Shenbao guan and Shanghai 1860–1900” focuses on the transcultural vocation of the British-owned Shenbao guan Chinese-language publisher in Shanghai as a provider of leisure products; the essay titled “Frames of Leisure: Theoretical Essay,” written together with Prof. Catherine V. Yeh, intends to delineate the transcultural frame underlying the concept of human leisure without resorting to Euro-centric bias in terms of theoretical concepts and historical sources.

The volume is part of the Heidelberg Studies on Transculturality series in Heidelberg University’s publishing branch, heiUP. The series is committed to publishing research that investigates the dynamics of transcultural relationships in any region of the globe and includes works positioned both within and across disciplines. You can access the volume "Testing the Margins of Leisure. Case Studies on China, Japan, and Indonesia" in an open format.

Rudolf G. Wagner was senior professor of Chinese Studies at Heidelberg University and founding director of the former Cluster "Asia and Europe in a Global Context." An intellectual historian, he published widely on the political implications of philosophical and literary works and on the transcultural interaction between China and the world, in premodern and modern times. In November 2019, he was posthumously awarded the Karl Jaspers Prize in honour of his "vision of transculturality" as a ruling principle for the humanities and social science.



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