The MEDIA CENTER provides visual and audio documentation of the ZfL’s research activities.

Since winter semester 2020/21 the ZfL is dedicated to its annual theme EPOCHAL TURNS.

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

The podcast BÜCHER IM GESPRÄCH features researchers talking about their new publications.

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.

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


08 Feb 2022

Lecture in the context of the exhibition “BACK TO FUTURE. Technikvisionen zwischen Fiktion und Realität”
Zaal Andronikashvili: Kunst und Freiheit im Zeitalter der künstlichen Intelligenz

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22 Feb 2022

Lecture in the context of the exhibition “BACK TO FUTURE. Technikvisionen zwischen Fiktion und Realität”
Tatjana Petzer: Kleider machen Zukunft: Smart Clothes & Wearables gestern und heute

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08 Mar 2022

Lecture in the context of the exhibition “BACK TO FUTURE. Technikvisionen zwischen Fiktion und Realität”
Alexandra Heimes: Die kybernetische Stadt. Planetarische Stadtplanung im Kalten Krieg 1950–1970

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09 Mar 2022 – 10 Mar 2022

CoHLIT-21 Berlin Seminar on German Literature and the Holocaust

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31 Mar 2022 – 01 Apr 2022

Wandlungszonen: Zeitschriften und Öffentlichkeit 1945 bis 1969

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01 Jun 2022 – 03 Jun 2022

International Conference
The Red Globe. Writing the World in Eastern European Travel Literature of the Cold War

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16 Jun 2022 – 18 Jun 2022

International Conference
Socialism’s Divergent Masculinities. Representations of Male Subjectivities in Soviet Constellations and Beyond

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06 Jul 2022

Wednesday lecture
Friedrich Balke (Ruhr-Universität Bochum): Theatralität, Urteilssucht und Hassrede bei Karl Kraus (mit Blick auf die “Letzten Tage der Menschheit”)

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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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