Since summer semester 2019 the ZfL has been dedicated to its annual topic HISTORICIZING TODAY.

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

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.

The ZfL has been a member of the Leibniz Association since 01 Jan 2019.

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


10 Dec 2019 – 12 Dec 2019

History goes Pop? On the Popularization of the Past in Eastern European Cultures

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12 Dec 2019

Panel discussion and Book presentation
Kultur und Alltag im Ukraine-Konflikt

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22 Dec 2019

Book presentation
Ernst Jünger – Joseph Wulf: Der Briefwechsel 1962–1974

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15 Jan 2020

Wednesday lecture
Susanne Lüdemann (LMU München): Die Perlentaucherin. Geschichte schreiben nach dem Traditionsbruch

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16 Jan 2020 – 18 Jan 2020

International Conference
›Firsthand Time‹. Documentary Aesthetics in the Long 1960s

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24 Jan 2020

"My life in Germany before and after January 30, 1933". Exploring an Archive of Exile

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11 Jun 2020 – 13 Jun 2020

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 research areas History of Theory, World Literature, and Knowledge of Life.

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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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