Lecture Series

Poster of the Lecture Series 2022
© Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

Activism & Academia

Lecture Series | Summer Term 2022 | Monday | 6-8PM

Researching inequalities or discriminatory structures, using critical approaches as a research lens, or investigating activist practices and aesthetics are common themes and approaches in academia, especially in the social sciences and humanities. In other words: Thinking critically is the lifeblood of academic work. But if "the personal is political" – what is an academic’s relationship to (political) activism? Does something like "activist scholarship" exist, and if it does, which opportunities, risks, and challenges does it create? Taking these observations and questions as a point of departure, this lecture will investigate specific forms of academic-activist knowledge production and practices and their relationship to grassroots social movements. Turning to institutional contexts, we will also discuss how higher education institutions translate critical thinking into organizational structures and routines (e.g., diversity management or hiring practices) and how they relate to society in general, e.g., through public engagement.

Venue: Most talks will be presented in lecture hall JO 1 (Johannisstr. 4). Access details for the online lectures on May 16, June 27 and July 4 is available below.

Program [PDF]

Poster of 2019's lecture series

Travelling Concepts - Literary Theory beyond the Scope of Literary Studies

Winter Term 2019/20

The study of literature as part of the humanities is often considered to be a hardly ‘useful’ area of research. As researchers in literary studies, we tend to be pressured to justify our work, which became clear in last winter semester’s lecture series, “Why Literary Studies Matter Now: Academic Practices in an Anti-Intellectual Climate.” A few years ago, at a conference in Heidelberg that focussed on the supposed end of literary theory, the renowned literary scholar Jochen Hörisch claimed – with a bit of self-mockery – that literary studies was the most important type of research of all. We would like to take his words seriously and scrutinize various ways and methods of incorporating literary studies into other disciplines. In the lecture series “Travelling Concepts,” we will discuss how literary theory may potentially contribute to and essentially influence other fields, such as philosophy and epistomology, political science, sociology, law, and cultural studies.

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Poster of 2018 lecture series
© B. Fritsch

Why Literary Studies Matter Now: Academic Practices in an Anti-Intellectual Climate

Winter Term 2018/19

This year's lecture series, titled Why Literary Studies Matter Now: Academic Practices in an Anti-Intellectual Climate, opens up an interdisciplinary and international dialogue on the cultural and political role of literature in today's world, addressing issues such as "Realitie(s) in Literary Studies," "Factual Fictions," and "Political Correctness in Academic Discourse." 

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Poster of lecture series "literary concepts post 2000
© Fritsch

Literary Concepts Post 2000

Winter Term 2017/18

This year's lecture series aims to shed light on new concepts and methods of contemporary literature as well as to compare and systematize them with regard to past influential literary positions and how they fit in contemporary popular culture. In addition, current popular theories and perspectives will be critically assessed and examined for their analytical potential.

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Links and programmes (pdf documents) to past lecture series

Europe. Literary Figurations. (Lecture series of Europa-Kolleg, Summer term 2014)

LiteraturMachtGesellschaft (in cooperation with the Promotionskolleg "Literaturtheorie als Theorie der Gesellschaft" of Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, Winter term 2013/14)

The following programmes are available in German only:

Praktiken der Literaturwissenschaft. Kompetenzen - Institutionen - Anwendungsfelder
(Winter term 2010/11)

Begründungen der Literaturwissenschaft. Positionen - Geschichte - Theorie (Summer term 2010)

In(ter)ventionen. Literatur - Gesellschaft - Politik
(Winter term 2009/10)

Praktiken der Literatur/Wissenschaft. Kompetenzen - Institutionen - Anwendungsfelder (Summer term 2009)

Begründungen der Literaturwissenschaft. Positionen - Geschichte - Theorie (Winter term 2008/09)

In(ter)ventionen. Literatur - Gesellschaft - Politik (Summer term 2008)