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English Literature and Culture

The team at the chair of “English Literature and Culture” seek to combine literary studies and cultural studies in such a manner as to give each its due. We do not consider cultural studies as a mere adjunct to literary studies, or vice versa: each complements the other.

Since its inception, cultural studies has understood itself as an interdisciplinary area of research which makes use of a broad range of approaches: history, sociology, anthropology, gender studies and postcolonial studies, to name but a few. Owing to our position within English Studies, however, it is important to stress that our variant of cultural studies is clearly oriented towards literary studies in that it considers the world, semiotically speaking, in terms of a text or, rather, an assemblage of various and differently constituted texts: a fashionable piece of clothing, a dance, a sports event, a film, all of them can be analysed and interpreted in analogy to literary texts. In short, the theories and methodologies of literary studies are indispensable when it comes to understanding the meaning of all kinds of cultural phenomena. 
By the same token, a cultural-studies-oriented literary studies equally positions itself within a decidedly interdisciplinary framework: it is interested in con-texts; in the relation between literature, society and the world; in the historical and political implications of literature. Close reading and context orientation do not exclude each other; in fact, they mutually imply each other. 
Both a literary-studies-oriented cultural studies and a cultural-studies-oriented literary studies do not favour a single theoretical perspective. Rather, they draw from the reciprocal influence of paradigms as diverse as semiotics, structuralism, post-structuralism/deconstruction, cultural materialism, and, more recently, actor-network theory, queer studies, posthumanism, and others.

In contrast to literary studies, cultural studies is a fairly recent academic discipline, at least in its Anglo-American variant. It began to take shape from the late 1950s, motivated not least by the necessity to extend the scope of English in the British university system. New technologies (radio, cinema, television, the record player), the rise of consumer culture, and massive tectonic shifts in the social and political order of British, Irish and other English-speaking societies after the Second World War, not least those in the declining Empire, had rapidly changed the cultural landscape. Not only was literature – as the main locus of (high) culture in the West besides the fine arts and (classical) music – complemented and rivalled by other forms of cultural expression in an unprecedented manner (film, popular music, TV shows), but access to culture was also quickly broadened, if not democratised. Accordingly, three areas were considered to be of particular significance for the pioneers of cultural studies: the relation between culture and society, contemporary culture in all its guises and variations (Raymond Williams, for instance, defined culture very broadly and influentially as a “whole way of life”), as well as the relationship between popular culture and the media. Neither the fall of the Berlin Wall nor the digital revolution, neither 9/11 nor the banking crisis of 2008/9, neither the so-called refugee crisis of 2015/16 nor the Corona pandemic nor the Russian war on Ukraine, have made these areas of interest insignificant. On the contrary, if anything, they have gained in relevance, also and because they have changed: in the Anthropocene, it is not enough anymore to ‘merely’ consider the relation between culture and society; non-human players, ‘things’ such as a virus or carbon dioxide, are also agents – ‘actants’ in the words of the late Bruno Latour – that have to be and are factored in, in literature as well as in other cultural fields. Both cultural and literary studies, of course, are not only geared towards grasping recent phenomena. On the contrary, a historically-oriented perspective is absolutely necessary in order to even be able to locate culture(s) today. One of the major research fields the team engages with is the literature and culture of the Romantic Era, i.e. the time span between (roughly) the 1780s and the 1830s.
Current research projects at the chair of English Literature and Culture deal with

  • the meaning and significance of ‘value’ during the Romantic era, as well as today (Sedlmayr);
  • “Black Bodies in the Romantic Imagination” (Dr. Marie Hologa; habilitation project);
  • “Lost Futures: An Archaeology of Counter-Hegemonic Futures in Britain” (Dr. Mark Schmitt; habilitation project);
  • “Inheritance and Indebtedness in the Godwinian Novel” (Sophia Lange, PhD project; finished in 2022);
  • “Violence in the Works of John Thelwall” (Nadja Rottmann, PhD project);
  • “New Ethnicities in Ireland” (Carolin Schmitz, PhD project)

During the course of their studies, students of English Literary and Cultural Studies are acquainted with the diversity of British, Irish and other English-speaking literatures, cultures and societies and equipped with a broad range of theoretical and methodological tools of analysis. They are introduced to a wide variety of methodologies and paradigms, such as semiotics, structuralism, post-structuralism/deconstruction, cultural materialism, actor-network theory, queer studies, and posthumanism.
For students of English, the combination of Literary Studies and Cultural Studies is of immense significance because it enables them to comprehend and analyse cultures not their own, ways of being in the world which are ‘same’ and ‘other’ in complex ways. This, in turn, contributes to an understanding of meaning-making processes in general and trains the capability to critically reflect their own cultural position. In this regard, the professors and lecturers in English Literature and Culture at Dortmund teach students to contextualise the past, present and future of British literatures and cultures. A study of English Literature and Culture further sharpens students’ perception of countries across the globe which have been influenced by Britain as a former colonial power and which, in turn, have also influenced contemporary Britain.



Affiliated teaching staff

Student assistants and tutors


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Anfahrt & Lageplan

Der Campus der Technischen Universität Dortmund liegt in der Nähe des Autobahnkreuzes Dortmund West, wo die Sauerlandlinie A45 den Ruhrschnellweg B1/A40 kreuzt. Die Abfahrt Dortmund-Eichlinghofen auf der A45 führt zum Campus Süd, die Abfahrt Dortmund-Dorstfeld auf der A40 zum Campus-Nord. An beiden Ausfahrten ist die Universität ausgeschildert.

Direkt auf dem Campus Nord befindet sich die S-Bahn-Station „Dortmund Universität“. Von dort fährt die S-Bahn-Linie S1 im 15- oder 30-Minuten-Takt zum Hauptbahnhof Dortmund und in der Gegenrichtung zum Hauptbahnhof Düsseldorf über Bochum, Essen und Duisburg. Außerdem ist die Universität mit den Buslinien 445, 447 und 462 zu erreichen. Eine Fahrplanauskunft findet sich auf der Homepage des Verkehrsverbundes Rhein-Ruhr, außerdem bieten die DSW21 einen interaktiven Liniennetzplan an.

Zu den Wahrzeichen der TU Dortmund gehört die H-Bahn. Linie 1 verkehrt im 10-Minuten-Takt zwischen Dortmund Eichlinghofen und dem Technologiezentrum über Campus Süd und Dortmund Universität S, Linie 2 pendelt im 5-Minuten-Takt zwischen Campus Nord und Campus Süd. Diese Strecke legt sie in zwei Minuten zurück.

Vom Flughafen Dortmund aus gelangt man mit dem AirportExpress innerhalb von gut 20 Minuten zum Dortmunder Hauptbahnhof und von dort mit der S-Bahn zur Universität. Ein größeres Angebot an internationalen Flugverbindungen bietet der etwa 60 Kilometer entfernte Flughafen Düsseldorf, der direkt mit der S-Bahn vom Bahnhof der Universität zu erreichen ist.

Interaktive Karte

Die Einrichtungen der Technischen Universität Dortmund verteilen sich auf den größeren Campus Nord und den kleineren Campus Süd. Zudem befinden sich einige Bereiche der Hochschule im angrenzenden Technologiepark.

Campus Lageplan Zum Lageplan