Neighborhood in Contemporary Berlin Literature

The neighborhood, as a concept, faces many challenges today. In particular, the scarcity of living space and the competition for affordable housing characterize the daily lives of Berliners and as a topic, proves to be a powerful determinant in what receives media coverage today. Furthermore, the harrowing experiences of flight and exile endured by refugees coming into Europe, as well as the omnipresent fear of poverty, homelessness, and the unknown further place stress on an already fragile social ecosystem. For this reason, great hopes and expectations are being set on local structures within districts and villages. Often the neighborhood thus gains utopian features.

The German term ‘Nachbarschaft’ (‘neighborship’) designates a locality existing within the minimum recognizable amount of space, whose borders, however, are not defined and are constantly in flux. According to the etymology, ‘Nachbarschaft’ means the relationship to whoever is spatially nearest. But in times of digital media, this spatial vicinity is losing importance. ‘Nachbarschaft’ is about living together peacefully but also includes tense and conflictual relationships.

The starting point of this project are the representations and negotiations of neighborly relationships and networks in contemporary literature. Contemporary literature from Berlin especially displays a wide variety of imaginations of neighborhood. Much of the Berlin literature scene being multi-lingual allows for a wider perspective including neighborhoods between countries, languages, with and in other regions. Furthermore, the focus on neighborhoods transcends common dichotomies such as city versus countryside or district versus city and thus affords a view of social networks under the conditions of global interconnectedness.

The project seeks to add a literary perspective to the predominantly sociological discussion of neighborhood. A central concern will be to find common ground in the questions asked, thereby initiating a conversation between authors and researchers of scientific and literary disciplines. The ZfL Literature Days in the Literaturhaus held in November 2019 inaugurated this literary exploration of Berlin’s neighborhoods. The digital anthology, edited by the project researchers, gathers previously unpublished texts by authors and short scholarly essays.

 

Fig. above: © Dirk Naguschewski

funded by The Governing Mayor of Berlin, Senate Chancellery – Higher Education and Research. Grant from Berlin funds 2019–2022
Head researcher(s): Hanna Hamel
Associate Researcher(s): Christina Ernst

Publications

Pola Groß, Hanna Hamel (ed./eds.)

Neue Nachbarschaften: Stil und Social Media in der Gegenwartsliteratur
Themenheft von Sprache und Literatur

Vol. 51, Issue 1
Brill | Fink, 2022, 136 pages
eISSN 2589-0859; Print-ISSN 1438-1680

Christina Ernst

  • Transclasse und transgenre. Autosoziobiographische Schreibweisen bei Paul B. Preciado und Jayrôme C. Robinet, in: Eva Blome, Philipp Lammers, Sarah Seidel (eds.): Autosoziobiographie. Poetik und Politik. Heidelberg: J.B. Metzler 2022, 257–273
  • “Arbeiterkinderliteratur” nach Eribon. Autosoziobiographie in der deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsliteratur, in: Lendemains 180 (2020) = Transfuge, transfert, traduction. La réception de Didier Eribon dans les pays germanophones, ed. by  Elisabeth Kargl and Bénédicte Terrisse, 77–91
  • Das Leben schreiben. Annie Ernaux’ Tagebücher, in: ZfL Blog, 22 Jun 2020

Hanna Hamel

Events

Workshop | ATTENTION: Short-notice program changes due to illness!
29 Jun 2022 – 30 Jun 2022

Wie postdigital schreiben? Verfahren der Gegenwartsliteratur

Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, Aufgang B, 3. Et.

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Panel discussion
27 Jun 2022 · 7.00 pm

Doppelrollen im Literaturbetrieb

Literaturhaus Berlin, Fasanenstraße 23, 10719 Berlin, Garten / livestream

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ATTENTION: Unfortunately, the event has to be cancelled!
24 Jun 2022 · 7.00 pm

Tragödienbastard: Wo spielt das Gegenwartstheater?

Vierte Welt, Adalbertstr. 4, Galerie 1.OG, 10999 Berlin

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Reading and talk
14 Jun 2022 · 7.00 pm

“Sie verlassen den heteronormativen Sektor”

Kollektivbar ES, Plügerstraße 52, 12047 Berlin

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Reading and talk
09 Jun 2022 · 7.00 pm

Paperbacks und PDFs

diffrakt | zentrum für theoretische peripherie, Crellestraße 22, 10827 Berlin

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Panel discussion
08 Jun 2022 · 7.00 pm

Spaces of Fanfiction

Literaturforum im Brecht-Haus, Chausseestraße 125, 10115 Berlin

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Reading, talk & music in the GLITCHES series
17 May 2022 · 6.00 pm

GLITCHES #3: Elisa Aseva and Hanna Hamel followed by Alexandra Cárdenas

Museum für Kommunikation, Kaffeehaus, Leipziger Straße 16, 10117 Berlin

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Reading, talk & music in the GLITCHES series
26 Apr 2022 · 6.00 pm

GLITCHES #2: Elias Hirschl and Hanna Hamel followed by Adi Gelbart

Museum für Kommunikation, Kaffeehaus, Leipziger Straße 16, 10117 Berlin

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Reading, talk & music in the GLITCHES series
05 Apr 2022 · 6.00 pm

GLITCHES #1: Hannes Bajohr and Philipp Schönthaler followed by Manu Louis

Museum für Kommunikation, Kaffeehaus, Leipziger Straße 16, 10117 Berlin

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Lecture
13 Dec 2021 · 4.15 pm

Hanna Hamel: AI and literary production

online via Zoom

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Lecture
12 Nov 2021 · 5.10 pm

Hanna Hamel: Philosophische Kurznachrichten oder: Wäre Adorno heute auf Twitter?

Centre Marc Bloch, Friedrichstraße 191, 10117 Berlin

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Reading and talk
04 Nov 2021 · 7.30 pm

In Gemeinschaft liest’s sich besser. Reading and talk with Paul Bokowski

KVOST – Kunstverein Ost, Leipziger Straße 47, 10117 Berlin

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Reading and talk
29 Oct 2021 · 7.30 pm

In Gemeinschaft liest’s sich besser. Reading and talk with Lea Streisand

KVOST – Kunstverein Ost, Leipziger Straße 47, 10117 Berlin

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Reading & talk followed by a public discussion
21 Oct 2021 · 6.00 pm

Die verführte Nachbarin

Kollektivbar ES, Plügerstraße 52, 12047 Berlin

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Lecture
06 Oct 2021 · 2.00 pm

Christina Ernst: Autorschaft in der Autosoziobiographie

Campus Center, Moritzstr. 18, 34127 Kassel, Hörsaal 3

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Lectures, walks, and talks
17 Sep 2021 – 26 Sep 2021

Festival der Kooperationen mit Alexander Kluge & friends “Der Elefant im Dunkeln”

Literaturhaus Berlin a.o.

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Lecture
09 Sep 2021

Pola Groß and Hanna Hamel: Netznachbarschaften 3.0: Autor*innen-Stile und Kollektive

Tübingen

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Project pitch
07 Sep 2021 · 4.00 pm

Pola Groß and Hanna Hamel: Neue Nachbarschaften. Stil und Social Media in der Gegenwartsliteratur

online via Zoom

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Lecture
05 Jul 2021 · 12.15 pm

Christina Ernst: Schreibformen der Autosoziobiographie

online via Webex

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ZfL Literature Days
11 Jun 2021 – 12 Jun 2021

Distance

Literaturhaus Berlin, Fasanenstr. 23, 10719 Berlin – garden / livestream

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Vortrag
26 Apr 2021 · 7.00 pm

Tim Dean: How to Have Sex in a Pandemic

ICI Berlin, Christinenstr. 18–19, Haus 8, 10119 Berlin

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Digital Workshop
23 Apr 2021 · 9.30 am

StadtLand, LandStadt. Die Stadt-Land-Differenz in Literatur und Gesellschaft der Gegenwart, with Christina Ernst and Hanna Hamel

online via Zoom

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Lecture Performance and Artist Talk
11 Apr 2021 · 8.00 pm

STÖRGERÄUSCHE. Ein performatives Zoom-Gespräch von hannsjana

online via Zoom

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Lecture
24 Mar 2021 · 7.00 pm

Jean-Luc Nancy: Touche-touche

ICI Berlin, Christinenstr. 18–19, Haus 8, 10119 Berlin

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Lecture
11 Feb 2021 · 7.00 pm

Susanna Paasonen: Infrastructures of Intimacy and the Deplatforming of Sex

ICI Berlin, Christinenstr. 18–19, Haus 8, 10119 Berlin

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Reading and Talk
28 Nov 2020 · 4.00 pm

Zwischenräume. Nachbarschaften im Berlin-Comic “Jein”

Livestream

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Readings and Workshop
19 Nov 2020 – 20 Nov 2020

Neue Nachbarschaften. Stil und Social Media in der Gegenwartsliteratur

Online

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Livestream: Reading and Talk
28 May 2020 · 6.30 pm

Partner oder Polizei? Über die Zukunft des Zusammenlebens mit Hubots

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ZfL Literature Days
22 Nov 2019 – 23 Nov 2019

Neighbourhood

Literaturhaus Berlin, Fasanenstr. 23, 10719 Berlin

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Media Response

24 Feb 2021
Wir schreiben Kiez-Geschichte

Newspaper article by Sebastian Bauer, in: B.Z. (24 Feb 2021), 14–15

Contributions

14 Feb 2022 Audio
“Das Medium ist die Botschaft – Social-Media-Literatur”
Radio feature by Jakob Stärker with Hanna Hamel i.a. in the program “Mosaik” on WDR 3.
© WDR 3

21 Oct 2021 Video
“Die verführte Nachbarin”
Reading and talk with Angela Steidele, moderated by Christina Ernst, at KollektivBar ES.
© ZfL

11 Oct 2021 Video
“Nachbarschaften: Stadt Kunst Architektur”
Video essay by Dirk Naguschewski and Nicola Chodan. A production of the project “Neighborhood in Contemporary Berlin Literature” in cooperation with KVOST – Kunstverein Ost (Berlin).
© ZfL

17–26 Sep 2021 Videos
Position beziehen
City walks and panel discussion as part of the festival of cooperations with Alexander Kluge & friends Der Elefant im Dunkeln” with Sebastian Januszewski, Patrick Eiden-Offe, Sebastian Kirsch, Sandra Bartoli, Matthias Glaubrecht, Daniela Danz and Salome Rodeck.© Literaturhaus Berlin

11–12 Jun 2021 Picture Gallery
“Distance”
Pictures of the ZfL Literature Days at the Literaturhaus Berlin, in cooperation with the project “Neighborhood in Contemporary Berlin Literature” and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. With readings and talks with Sharon Dodua Otoo, Joshua Groß, Leif Randt, Olivia Wenzel, Jackie Thomae, Juan S. Guse, Iris Hainka, and Lutz Seiler and a lecture by Johannes Franzen.
© Literaturhaus Berlin

28 May 2021 Audio
“Kochen, Blumen gießen, Schreiben. Nachbarschaft im Internet”
Interview with Hanna Hamel in the program “Studio 9: Kultur und Politik am Morgen” on Deutschlandfunk Kultur, moderated by Ute Welty
© Deutschlandfunk Kultur

26 Apr 2021 Video
“How to Have Sex in a Pandemic”
Lecture by Tim Dean (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) as part of the online lecture series “Intimacy,” with Ben Nichols and Peter Rehberg
© ICI BERLIN

24 Mar 2021 Video
“Touche-touche”
Lecture by Jean-Luc Nancy (European Graduate School) as part of the online lecture series “Intimacy,” with Eva Geulen and Apostolos Lampropoulos, with an introduction by Peter Rehberg
© ICI BERLIN

11 Feb 2021 Video
“Infrastructures of Intimacy and the Deplatforming of Sex”
Lecture by Susanna Paasonen (University of Turku) as part of the online lecture series “Intimacy,” moderated by Ben Miller and Georg Dickmann, with an introduction by Peter Rehberg
© ICI BERLIN

28 Nov 2020 Video
“Zwischenräume. Nachbarschaften im Berlin-Comic ›Jein‹ von Büke Schwarz”
Reading and talk with author Büke Schwarz, Christina Ernst, and comic researcher Marie Schröer as part of Comicinvasion 2020
© Comicinvasion

22 Nov 2020 Audio
“Literatur nach Maß? Markt, Stil und Social Media”
Radio feature on the event “Neue Nachbarschaften. Stil und Social Media in der Gegenwartsliteratur” in the program “Kultur heute” on Deutschlandfunk
© Deutschlandfunk

28 May 2020 Video
“Partner oder Polizei? Über die Zukunft des Zusammenlebens mit Hubots”
Reading and discussion with Emma Braslavsky (author) and Rainer Mühlhoff (philosopher, mathematician, programmer, TU Berlin), moderated by Hanna Hamel
© Museum für Kommunikation Berlin