I am an Americanist who studies literature and other media to understand the forms and narratives that shape our worlds. My research is interdisciplinary: In my project on corporations in law, literature, and culture, for example, I studied how the popular imaginary mediated the corporate form’s transformation in the nineteenth century: from a public tool that is meant to serve the common good, to an instrument of private enterprise. Studying such phenomena across different media and different cultural fields means to recognize rhetorics, logics, and knowledges specific to such fields as well as to recognize how these forms and processes overlap and reinforce or cancel out each other.
In my projects, I often ask what functions aesthetic and social forms fulfil, what they allow us to think and imagine. In my project on citizenship in contemporary lyric poetry, for example, I want to know how lyric poetry can expand US-civic and legal imaginaries and thereby contribute to the decolonization of the law. Whereas my project on scale in environmental literatures and film focuses on the challenge of representing the scale(s) of the climate crisis and environmental degradation.
If you have questions about my research, feel free to contact me via e-mail: smue[at]stefaniemueller.net