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

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

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

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


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

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.


17 Sep 2021 – 26 Sep 2021

Lectures, walks, and talks
Festival der Kooperationen mit Alexander Kluge & friends “Der Elefant im Dunkeln”

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06 Oct 2021 – 08 Oct 2021

Schreibarten im Umbruch. Stildiskurse im 18. Jahrhundert

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22 Oct 2021 – 23 Oct 2021

Workshop at Warburg-Haus Hamburg
Die “Vorträge der Bibliothek Warburg.” Das intellektuelle Netzwerk der KBW, part II

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28 Oct 2021 – 29 Oct 2021

Geschwisterlichkeit. Ästhetische Gegenentwürfe zur Brüderlichkeit und zur patriarchalen Genealogie der Gemeinschaft

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04 Nov 2021 – 06 Nov 2021

International Walter Benjamin Society Conference
Hope – Rethinking with Benjamin

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11 Nov 2021 – 12 Nov 2021

International Conference
Beyond Nostalgia. New Appropriations of Late Socialism in Contemporary Eastern European Cultures

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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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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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