Research areas

Law and Literature, Economic Humanities, Environmental Humanities, African American Literature and Culture, Relational Sociology and Sociology of Literature, Popular Culture and Film, Narratology

Research projects

The Corporation in the American Imagination

In the course of the nineteenth century, the corporation underwent a legal and cultural transformation in the United States: it developed from a tool of public utility into a vehicle of private gain. In the process, its collective foundations (i.e. the fact that a corporation is a group of people) receded behind the so-called corporate veil and allowed the corporate body to take the place of a single individual and a rights-and duty-bearing unit in law. In my research project, I study how US-American writers imagined these two transformations: how they imagined corporate agency in the marketplace and beyond, and how they made the corporation visible and tangible for their readers and audiences. Under contract with Edinburgh University Press.

Corporate Storytelling

This project takes a look at corporate philosophies and how they have developed in the digital age. Originally understood to consist of instructive narratives meant to guide and essentially to manage employees in the spirit of their company, corporate philosophies have transformed into essential components of brands and have travelled beyond the bounds of corporate cubicles. In the digital age, they have begun to inform the work of crowd workers as well as consumers and they are encoded in the algorithms that define the digital infrastructure.

Poetry and Law

With narrative as the dominant category in law and literature research in the last two decades, research into poetry and law has been relatively scarce. This project seeks to close this research gap by focusing specifically on how poetry contributes to legal discourses by going beyond some of narrative’s major constraints. It continues work begun in collaboration with Prof. Brook Thomas (UC Irvine) and Dr. Birte Christ (University of Giessen).

Scale in Environmental Literatures

Environmental scholars and authors like Lawrence Buell and Amitav Ghosh have long argued that environmental crises and climate change in particular are also crises of culture and the imagination. One of the central representational challenges that critics have repeatedly identified is scale: how to convey the „slow violence“ of environmental pollution and rising sea levels or the planetary, rather than local impact of these processes. This project looks at the aesthetics of such representational strategies in anglophone literatures and pays special attention to genre differences as well as to questions of environmental justice. Initial research has focused on the formal affordances of archipelagoes in prose and poetry.