Doctoral Candidates


Eyk Akansu, M.A.


Eyk studied communication, media and cultural studies in Leipzig and Dublin. After teaching book studies and cultural sociology and also occupations in media, cultural, knowledge and educational management for the Medienforen Leipzig, the international poetry festival berlin, the University of Erfurt, the University of Applied Studies in Augsburg and the German Youth Institute he has been working on the literary field GDR. Moreover he publishes the ed[ition]. cetera.

Publicity of poetry in the GDR. The series Poesiealbum (1967 to 1989/90)

The Poesiealbum can be considered a phenomenon of the so-called poetry wave, which began with the famous poetry evening initiated by Stephan Hermlin at the Akademie der Künste on December 11, 1962. In addition to recitation or performance, publicity of poetry presupposes its publication and distribution by publishers and booksellers. This, in turn, depended on the approval of the Head Office of Publishers and Book Trade (Hauptverwaltung Verlage und Buchhandel) in the Ministry of Culture. The expert opinions written for this purpose establish opportune readings. With them, the discourse on what is poetically expressible can be traced and the history of the Poesiealbum supplemented by a source genre whose systematic analysis has so far been lacking. Synchronous and diachronic comparisons, for example according to the origin or generation of the poets, are intended to differentiate the analysis. The approach is inspired by discourse analysis and combines close with distant reading of various sources.


Annette Becker


Annette studied social pedagogy at the Evangelische Hochschule Nürnberg and sociology at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. She has worked in care and youth work, as well as early childhood education and was a tutor for statistics in social research. She lived with her family in Madagascar for several years. Her research interests include transcultural understanding and knowledge transfer, visual sociology, image hermeneutics as well as literature and art sociology.

Malagasy Present in the Focus of Photo-Literary Works

Using qualitative research design, Annette examines contemporary publications by Malagasy photographers and writers. These cultural artifacts of literary production produce, archive and transport explicit and implicit forms of social knowledge, creating a specific discursive space that connects local and global public spheres in the context of Madagascar’s socio-economic, cultural and media conditions. Thus, the methodological analysis and interpretation of this form of literary expression offers the opportunity to understand current discourses of the Malagasy public sphere itself and its global interconnections as well as reconstruct the concrete conditions of creation, production, and distribution of literature in Madagascar in an exemplary manner. The research methodology therefore combines ethnographic and interpretative methods of empirical, reconstructive social research in an iterative approach based on sociology of knowledge, practice theory and postcolonial theory.


Henrique Bordini, M.A.


Henrique studied Romanistics and Germanistics in Brazil and obtained a degree in Legal and Social sciences at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, with a final Assignment on Sociology of Law. At the same University he obtained a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature with a dissertation on the aesthetic thought of the young Herder. While developing a musical career, he taught German language and translated German literature into Portuguese.

Censorship systems in comparison: Brazil and GDR

Henrique’s project aims to assert a link between Brazil and Germany through a comparative analysis of the bureaucratic structure of censorship in the Brazilian civil-military dictatorship and the GDR. By reading the books Zero, by Ignácio de Loyola Brandão, and Rummelplatz, by Werner Bräunig, in the light of the censorship reports/justifications by the bureaucratic offices responsible for repression, the aim is to identify points in common of the censorship structure in the respective countries. The accompanying reading of uncensored works that are equally critical of the regimes, such as Sargento Getúlio, by João Ubaldo Ribeiro, and Der geteilte Himmel, by Christa Wolf, serves as a support for understanding the relationship between censorship and the public sphere.


Patrick Graur, M.A.


Patrick completed a teaching degree (Gymnasium) in German and History as well as a Master’s degree in ‘Ethics of Text Cultures’ (Elitenetzwerk Bayern) at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg. His research focusses on the Romanian-German literature since 1945, intercultural literary studies, contemporary German literature, gender perspectives on children’s and youth media as well as literature from the 19th to 21st century.

The Aktionsgruppe Banat in the Field of Tension between Literature and the Public (1965-1984)

This project aims to analyze, from a literary-sociological and intercultural perspective, the conditions under which a literary grouping emerged in socialist Romania (1), the production and reception of a specific form of Romanian-German literature in the 1960s to 1980s (2), as well as the cultural-historical relevance of the concepts of authorship, identity construction, and the relationship between literature and the public sphere (3). Although the Aktionsgruppe Banat only existed in a short period of time (1972–1975) before being dissolved from the Securitate, authors like Richard Wagner (*1952), Johann Lippet (*1951) and Anton Sterbling (*1953) played an important role in the public sphere negotiating Romanian-German subjects.

This work focuses both, a close reading of the literature produced – primarily in the form of poems and short prose – and a perspective on performative practices, intermedial experiments and publicity campaigns. In this way, the project broadens the view of this politically controversial phase of German-speaking literature of Romania in the period after 1945.


Danijel Katic, M.A.


Danijel studied Theater and Media Sciences (Visuality and Image Cultures) at the FriedrichAlexander University in Erlangen. After various practical experiences in the culture and publishing sector as well as activities as a lecturer for film and media culture (e.g. at the Volkshochschule
Würzburg), he
has been employed as a PhD student at the Research Training Group “Literature and the Public Sphere” since July 2023.

The Transformation of the Yugoslav Partisan after 1945 Portrayal in Literature and Film

My research
project aims to follow the transformation of the Yugoslav partisan cult after 1945 and show how the iconic motif around Tito and his partisans has changed in literature, film and the public perception after the Second World War. The focus on the partisan results from a national myth that is still being referred to decades after Tito’s death. The partisan is to be seen as an essential motif of a national discourse regarding Yugoslav and postYugoslav identity and is constantly being negotiated in the context of a national question. This transformation is thus to be examined on the base of various historical, political and social changes that Yugoslavia and the postYugoslav states were subject to. The postwar years (after 1945), the death of Tito (1981) and the Yugoslavian war (1991) are only a few examples of formative turning points. The work thus
strives for a concrete interweaving of national, culturalpolitical and public discourses. Furthermore, the analysis wants to show how cultural products can make a significant contribution to the political and public reflection and ultimately to the formation of discourse.


Arunima Kundu, M.A.


Arunima holds a master’s degree in Global History from the Free University and the Humboldt University in Berlin, after which she studied for her second master’s degree in Intercultural Anglophone Studies at the University of Bayreuth. She holds a bachelor’s degree with honours in History from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. In 2022, she joined the Research Training Group as a PhD candidate. Her research interests include American literary and cultural studies, postcolonial studies and intellectual history.

Mediating Otherness in Cultural Discourse: the Planetary Posthuman Subject in Afrofuturist Science Fiction

Her project explores how afrofuturist science fiction participates in the cultural discourses on the human condition by creating examples of planetary posthuman subjects who dismantle binary oppositions based on discourses of race and otherness. It engages with the scholarship on posthumanist theory and the concept of planetarity to come to an understanding of a “planetary posthuman”. The concept of the cyborg lends a concrete form and an embodiment to a posthuman subjectivity with a planetary consciousness, creating an embodied planetary posthuman subject. The aim is to examine how an afrofuturist planetary posthuman could contribute to public discourse and to the cultural formation in the United States and North America. This project takes an intermedial methodological approach to a close engagement and analysis of Hollywood science fiction films, and contemporary science fiction literature including novels and comics.


Wesley Moore, M.A.


Wesley is from Charleston, South Carolina and received a BA in German Studies and an MA in Linguistics from the University of South Carolina. In 2021, he earned an MA in North American Studies from FAU, where he was a research assistant in North American studies and Islamic-Religious studies.

Blurred Boundaries: Internet, Authenticity, and the Individual in 21st Century US Literature

In my PhD, I explore how twenty-first century US literature concerns itself with new media technologies and their effects on the individual and the novel. Foregrounding the fiction of Jennifer Egan, Ben Lerner, and Lauren Oyler, I aim to investigate how these works redefine traditional notions of boundaries in relation to conceptualizations of “authenticity” and genre: boundaries between history and fiction, physical and virtual spaces, as well as public and private notions of the self. Despite evidence of blurred boundaries, I hypothesize authors privilege physical space and personal collaboration over virtual spaces and online discourses. Finally, I aim to explore the public function of these works, proposing they operate as democratic counterpoints to rising illiberalism visible on the internet.


Noran Omran, M.A.


Studied German Language and Literature (B.A.) until 2019 and German Literature (M.A.) until 2021 at the University of Marburg; Master’s thesis on the topic ‘Werkpolitik: Christian Kracht Ich werde hier sein im Sonnenschein und im Schatten, Imperium und Die Toten’. Until September 2022 PhD student and lecturer at the Institute for Modern German Literature at the University of Marburg. Since October 2022, research assistant and doctoral candidate in the DFG Research Training Group ‘Literature and the Public Sphere in Different Contemporary Cultures’ with a doctoral project on the German-language alternative press from 1968 onwards.

The Media of German-Language Underground Literature – Networks of Transnational Counterpublics in the 20th Century

The point of departure for the PhD project is the observation formulated by the German-language alternative scene itself that the journals that began circulating in 1968 obeyed a staged chaos. Visually, deliberately disordered page contents of political, literary and religious upheavals of this time of upheaval are presented to the audience in a page design characterised by thematic pluralism and typographic heterogeneity. Colourful, visually and content-wise overloaded booklets deliver what at first glance appears to be a confusing chaos compiled in bricolage style. On closer inspection, however, the apparent arbitrariness turns out to be discursively justified, as an element of strategic distinction in the contemporary culture industry. The staged heterogeneity of the journals, the amateurish impression of their design, production and distribution, but also their ostinato tendency to network through mutual citation reveal a logic of their own, the functioning, effect and cultural-historical location of which my project aims to uncover. Particular attention is paid to the formation of networks between supposedly unrelated/incongruent U-journals. Synchronously published journals such as Ulcus Molle Info (1969-1990), Gasolin 23 (1973-1986) and Boa Vista (1974-1983), each in their own right, but especially in their perennial interaction with each other, as well as in their exchange with novels and poetry anthologies, contour the transnational underground scene, in the interplay with the cultural artefacts of the English-speaking beatniks of the 1950s and 60s, in the recourse to the surrealists and dadaists of modernism, in the sharp demarcation from high- and mid-culture, their specific understanding of a literature of/in the underground. This rhizome-like network of references, how it establishes itself, how it makes itself known, how it communicates and delimits itself, which readings it opens up, what cultural-poetic relevance it has, is what the planned study wants to make visible with the means of a media and material philology oriented towards cultural history, on the surface as well as in the form of close readings.


Lisa Seuberth, First State Exam


During her teacher training in English and French, Lisa worked as research assistant in American Studies and at the French department of the FAU Language Center. After receiving her state exam in 2020, she continued her work as research associate at the Chair of American Literary Studies and at the Chair of Modern German Literature at FAU. Her research interests focus on the US-American literary system, African American Studies, Critical Whiteness Studies, and the Digital Humanities.

Whiteness as Usual? American Africanism in the 21st-Century Novel

The dissertation project investigates the reverberations of the cultural practice Toni Morrison called “American Africanism” in the contemporary US-American public sphere and how its award-winning literatures contribute to the value system in which respective White supremacist and anti-Black discourses circulate. I argue that texts which encounter the dichotomous separation of Black and White with a racially literate and transcultural program increasingly receive cultural capital in the form of literary awards in the 21st century. The aim of this project therefore is to disclose not only White supremacist and anti-Black patterns in the US-American award industry and its prize-winning novels but also the various strategies used for their deconstruction.


Laura Sturtz, M.A. & M.St.


Laura holds a Master’s degree in European Literatures and Cultures from the Albert-Ludwig-University Freiburg and a Master of Studies in German from the University of Oxford. During her studies she worked as a research assistant at the Department for German/Comparative Literature in Freiburg. She has held scholarships from the German Scholarship Foundation and the Max-Weber-Program. Her research focuses on contemporary literature, postmigrant, interventionist and political writing as well feminist and intersectional approaches.

Literary Interventions and Re-Imagined Communities in Contemporary Postmigrant Writing.

The dissertation project engages with substantial shifts in the representation and visibility of minoritized authors in the contemporary German cultural sphere and the increasing number of literary interventions that foreground the complexity and radical diversity of German identities and question the uniformity of identity itself. Literary texts such as Sasha Marianna Salzmann’s Außer Sich (2017), Olivia Wenzel’s 1000 Serpentinen Angst (2020), Shida Bazyar’s Drei Kameradinnen (2021) and Fatma Aydemir’s Dschinns (2022) re-conceive, re-define and re-write understandings of foreclosing notions of ’Germanness‘ by centering previously marginalized perspectives and challenging fixed frames of nationality, ethnicity, language, sexuality and family. Through an intersectional approach the project explores the critical endeavor of these novels to aesthetically subvert and intervene in contemporary discourses between the literary and the public sphere.


Ruxandra Teodorescu, M.A.


Ruxandra studied Literature, Media and Culture in the Modern Era, M.A at the University of Mannheim, King’s College London and the University of Exeter. During her studies, Ruxandra worked as a student research assistant for the American and English Studies departments and as a tutor/teaching assistant in International Cultural Studies. After receiving her M.A. degree, she continued to work as a research assistant at the Department of American Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Mannheim. Her research interests are in the areas of Posthumanism, Philosophy of Mind, and morality and ethics in relation to American literature.

The Moral Posthuman: An Examination of Human and Artificial Co-Existence in North American SF Discourse

The dissertation project is located at the intersection of literary and cultural studies, critical posthumanism, artificial intelligence ethics, the philosophy of mind, and media studies and examines how literary, public, and scientific discourses map differentiated understandings of AI. She investigates how human and artificial co-existence in depicted in literature and film and how these depictions challenge moral standards, thus pursuing a more posthumanist approach to morality. This research looks at SF narratives about different forms of AI that interrogate terminologies such as sentience, consciousness, intelligence, and communication in order to show how literature can be a medium of debate and a form of exploration when it comes to different posthuman approaches to defining life.


Maximilian Würz, M.A.


Maximilian studied Media Management in Munich, Communication Management at CSUCI and Literature and Media at the University of Bayreuth. After completing his master’s degree, Maximilian initially worked for two years in the IT industry as a data analyst before applying for a position in the Research Training Group “Literature and the Public Sphere in Differentiated Contemporary Cultures” at FAU due to his strong interest in computer-based text analysis methods and short forms of literature.

New Perspectives on the Short Story – Studies in the Sociology of Literature and Media Studies on the Genre in the Present Day

The scholarly perspective on short prose has been predominantly poetological, examining the effects of brevity on texts. However, little attention has been paid to an upstream question in the creation process of short prose: Why do authors decide to write prose texts in short form? Or, taking into account economic, media, and sociocultural conditions: What are the driving factors behind the genesis of short prose? With the planned work, I would like to pursue this question in temporally and socio-culturally different contemporaries from 1945 on. In addition to an investigation of the functions and relations of the actors involved, the influences of processes of social change as well as materiality and mediality on short narrative texts will be addressed. In addition, the work will interpret the conscious decisions of authors to write texts in short form as strategic social acts to acquire capital in the Bourdieuian sense, and the potential of short prose to react promptly to socially relevant debates will be empirically analyzed by means of computer-assisted methods.



Chiona Hufnagel, M.A.


Chiona holds a master’s degree in “Ethics of Text Cultures” and in “North American Studies: Literature and Culture”. She has been receiving a fellowship for outstanding students by the Foundation of German Business since her Bachelor’s degree program. In 2018 she did community work and research on the Yankton Sioux reservation at the “Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center” in South Dakota. The internship has prompted her to focus on questions of gender and Indigeneity in her master thesis and doctoral research.

Decolonial Constructions of Masculinities in North American Indigenous Writing Since the Late 1960’s

Chiona’s project looks literary texts by North American Indigenous authors published since the 1960’s. She analyzes how these texts problematize North America’s hetero cis-patriarchy, its colonial constructions of settler masculinities and how they re-imagine normative, hegemonic notions of masculinities. Since issues of national Indigenous identity and issues of sexuality/gender identity haven often been conceived of as separate issues in the public sphere, the texts emphasize the necessity of merging issues of Indigenous identity and a diverse understanding of genders. As masculinities becomes especially legible when not performed by a white, male, cis, hetero, able-bodied middle-class person, the project does also look at constructions of queer and female masculinities. Reading the selected texts reparatively allows to focus on reparative practices that decolonize dominant colonial understandings of gender. Thus, the project frames joy, hope, humor, decolonial love and intimacy as “radical embodied reparative practices of resurgence”.


Jonas Meurer, M.A.


Jonas Meurer is a research associate at the Chair of Modern German Literary Studies at Otto Friedrich University Bamberg since 2019 and a member of the Bamberg Graduate School for Literature, Culture and Media since 2021. He has a general interest in German-language literature around 1800, between 1918 and 1968, and the present, the literary politics of the ‚New Right‘, and theories of literature and interpretation.

Friedrich Georg Jünger after 1945: Publicity – Networks – Reception

The dissertation explores the position and positionings of the poet, novelist, essayist, technology and cultural critic Friedrich Georg Jünger (1898-1977) in the literary and cultural field after 1945. On the one hand, the aim is to carefully reconstruct the processes and practices that gave the former ‚conservative revolutionary‘ (Armin Mohler) public visibility since the immediate postwar period. On the other hand, the resulting effects – how Jünger’s publicity was contextualized, negotiated, or evaluated by various actors – are analyzed. Special attention is paid to right-wing conservative intellectual milieus and counter-publics, which represent a constitutive factor of influence for the history of Jünger’s reception. Methodologically, the project refers to theories of authorship, discourse, field and network.