Research Program

The interdisciplinary research training group analyzes contemporary literatures since 1945 in different public and cultural contexts. It adopts a broad conception of literature, including socio-cultural, political, and economic contexts, (inter-)mediality, institutional conditions, as well as literary life as subjects for enquiry.

The research training group focuses on literatures in various languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Russian), including ‘small literatures’ and minority cultures on different continents. On the basis of comparative and transnational perspectives, the research training group takes praxeological, social, media related, material, ethical, and economic aspects into account.

The research training group explores the cultural specificities, potentials, and functions of these literatures and investigates their conditions of emergence and public resonance. It conceives of literatures (1) as seismographs of often contradictory cultural, media related, and social developments, (2) as generators of a vocabulary to articulate the multilayered experiences of the contemporary moment, (3) as forums for the discussion of concerns relevant to the public.

Drawing on five closely interrelated fields of interest, the research training group examines how fragmenting publics constitute a relevant context for and a prominent concern of these literatures:

  1. Literatures‘ strategies to activate attention
  2. Public contexts of literatures
  3. Material appearances/materiality of literatures
  4. Literary knowledge production
  5. Literary ethics and politics