You find the ZfL in the legendary Mossehaus that was reconstructed by architect Erich Mendelsohn in the 1920s.

Since summer semester 2019 the ZfL has been dedicated to its annual topic HISTORICIZING TODAY.

The ZfL BLOG regularly publishes contributions on current literary and cultural research.

The ZfL associates present their research at home and abroad. ZfL EN ROUTE shows where.


At the annual ZfL LITERATURE DAYS we discuss current topics of the literary and the academic world.

The ZfL has been a member of the Leibniz Association since 01 Jan 2019.


09 Dec 2020 – 11 Dec 2020

Conference – Call for Papers
(Post-)Soviet Cosmopolis: The Soviet Project of World Literature and its Legacies

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23 Apr 2020 – 24 Apr 2020

Please note! This event unfortunately has to be postponed!
Benjamin’s Journalism in Context: The Year 1926

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06 May 2020

Please note! This event unfortunately has to be postponed!
Liliane Weissberg (University of Pennsylvania/American Academy Berlin): Schreiben von unterwegs. Postkarten von Walter Benjamin

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03 Jun 2020 – 05 Jun 2020

Please note! This event unfortunately has to be postponed!
“In Defense of Democracy.” Hermann Broch’s American Experience and the Relevance of His Political Thinking Today

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17 Jun 2020 – 18 Jun 2020

Please note! This event unfortunately has to be postponed!
Beyond Nostalgia. New Appropriations of Late Socialism in Contemporary Eastern European Cultures

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19 Nov 2020 – 20 Nov 2020

Readings and Workshop
Neue Nachbarschaften. Stil und Social Media in der Gegenwartsliteratur

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17 Jun 2021 – 19 Jun 2021

Socialism's Divergent Masculinities. Representations of Male Subjectivities in Soviet Constellations and Beyond

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The ZfL

The ZfL is a humanities institute for literary research in interdisciplinary contexts that draws from a cultural studies framework. Its methods also engage with the structural transformations within historical-hermeneutic subject areas that have taken place in recent decades. In contrast to the study of literature at universities, predominantly organized by nationality, the ZfL fosters a broad concept of literature, but also uses interdisciplinary tools to fundamentally question the etiology of various literary concepts, their potential for the future, and the relationship between literature and other arts or cultural practices. This is done in the three program area History of Theory, World Literature, Knowledge of Life, and in the Focus Projects.

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History of Theory

analyzes the genealogy of theory and develops innovative forms of historicizing it.

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World Literature

disusses the global interrelations of literature and its potential to shape the world.

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Knowledge of Life

investigates the knowlege of life in historical and interdisciplinary respects.

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Focus Projects

work on issues that run across the thematic fields of the program areas.

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