The director of the ZfL is Eva Geulen, Professor for European Culture and the History of Knowledge at the Humboldt University of Berlin. The deputies alternate every two years. Current deputy directors are the Slavist and Historian Matthias Schwartz and the Historian Henning Trüper.
Currently around 40 researchers work on the numerous interdisciplinary projects of the ZfL. Here literary scholars working in various traditions collaborate with cultural theorists, art historians, and media theorists, as well as scholars from religious studies, Jewish studies, philosophy, history, and biology.
The members of the staff and the library as well as around 20 student assistants provide technical and administrative support for the research at the ZfL.
The ZfL regularly hosts fellows from renowned funding institutions as guests. Furthermore, researchers from all over the world are regularly invited for research stays.
As a result of regular interaction, an intensive cooperation has developed between the ZfL and multiple internationally renowned researchers. Many of these researchers have been appointed honorary members.