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

From winter semester 2023 on, the ZfL dedicates its research to its annual theme ACTIVISM AND ACADEMIA.

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

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

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


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

The ZfL has moved!

NEW ADDRESS as of July 1, 2023:
Pariser Straße 1, 10719 Berlin


18 Mar 2024

Book club
Deniz Ohde: Streulicht

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21 Mar 2024

Presentation of the dictionary
“Leipzig liest”: Das 20. Jahrhundert in Grundbegriffen

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05 Apr 2024

Freundschaftsbriefe im 20. Jahrhundert

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08 Apr 2024

Book club
Kathrin Röggla: Laufendes Verfahren

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13 May 2024

Book club
Anna Burns: Milchmann

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16 May 2024 – 17 May 2024

International conference
Images of the Ideal. Evald Ilyenkov at 100

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29 May 2024 – 31 May 2024

Semiotic Machines: Artificial Text and the Praxis of Reading

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06 Jun 2024 – 07 Jun 2024

European Centers and Peripheries in the Political Novel

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10 Jun 2024

Book club
Wladimir Sorokin: Der Tag des Opritschniks

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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 key 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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Key Projects

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

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