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Fakultät Kulturwissenschaften

Dr. Mark Schmitt

  • Contemporary British culture and literature 

  • Irish culture and literature

  • film studies (with a focus on horror films)

  • cultural theory

  • Future studies

  • Pessimism

  • Critical Whiteness Studies

  • Representations of class

  • figures of (social) abjection 

Current projects

  • My current research focusses on future studies, counter-hegemonic futures and pessimism in the context of cultural studies. My book titled Spectres of Pessimism: A Cultural Logic of the Worst (Palgrave) was published in March 2023.

  • I am further engaged in a wider project titled "Lost Futures? An Archaeology of Counter-Hegemonic Futures in Britain. A recording of a presentation of the research project held at KWI Essen can be found here.

  • Interview about my research: "KWI-Blog – Fünf Fragen" (15 June 2020).




  • 2016-2019 Postdoctoral Stuart Hall Fellow am IAA der TU Dortmund

  • since 2015 assistant prof at TU Dortmund

  • 2011-2014 doctoral assistant at Universität Mannheim; sessional teacher Ruhr-Universität Bochum

  • 2005-2011 B.A. and M.A. in Anglophone Studies and Comparative Literature at Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Link to ORCiD profile for full overview



Edited Volumes and Special Issues:



Handbook Articles, Short-Form Articles and Miscellanea:



  • "Review: Caroline Edwards: Utopia and the Contemporary British Novel." In: Utopian Studies 34:3 (2023): 595-600.

  • "The Gift of the Mediator: Stuart Hall's Selected Writings on Marxism." In: Soundings: A Journal of Politics and Culture 83 (2023): 136-141.

  • "Review: Stuart Hall: Selected Writings on Race and Difference; Selected Writings on Marxism; Writings on Media." In: Journal for the Study of British Cultures 29:2 (2022): 261-265.

  • "Review: Henriette Gunkel, kara lynch (eds.): We Travel the Space Ways: Black Imagination, Fragments, and Diffractions." In: Medienwissenschaft 4 (2020): 376-377.

  • "Review: Joel Burges, Amy Elias (eds.): Time: A Vocabulary of the Present." In: Journal for the Study of British Cultures 24:2 (2018): 205-208.

  • "Review: Cecile Sandten, Claudia Gualtieri, Roberto Pedretti, and Eike Kronshage (eds.): Crisis, Risks and New Regionalisms in Europe: Emergency Diasporas and Borderlands." In: Anglistik: International Journal of English Studies 29:2 (2018): 170-171.

  • „Review: Joel Gwynne (ed.): Transgression in Anglo-American Cinema: Gender, Sex and the Deviant Body.“ In: Medienwissenschaft 2 (2017): 265-266.

  • „Review: Aaron Michael Kerner, Jonathan L. Knapp: Extreme Cinema. Affective Strategies in Transnational Media.“ In: Medienwissenschaft 2 (2017): 263-265.

  • „Review: Paul Elliott: Studying the British Crime Film.“ In: Medienwissenschaft 2 (2016). 229-230.

  • „Review: Scott Loren, Jörg Metelmann: Irritation of LifeThe Subversive Melodrama of Michael Haneke, David Lynch and Lars von Trier.“ In: Medienwissenschaft 2/3 (2014): 262-265.

  • „Review: Julia Meier: Die Tiefe der Oberfläche. David Lynch – Gilles Deleuze – Francis Bacon.“ In: Medienwissenschaft 2/3 (2014): 265-267.

  • „Review: Beate Schappach: AIDS in Literatur, Theater und FilmZur kulturellen Dramaturgie eines Störfalls.“ In: Medienwissenschaft 4 (2013): 442-445.

  • „Review. Sebastian Nestler: Performative Kritik. Eine philosophische Intervention in den Begriffsapparat der Cultural Studies.“ In: Medienwissenschaft 4 (2012):  428-430.

  • „Rezension: Miriam Havemann: The Subject Rising Against Its Author. A Poetics of Rebellion in Bryan Stanley Johnson’s Œuvre.“ In: Achim Hölter (Hg.): Komparatistik. Jahrbuch der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft 2011. Heidelberg: Synchron, 2012. 144-147.


Invited Talks

  • "Social Housing and Class in Britain: History and Cultural Imaginaries." Invited guest lecture, lecture series "The Politics of Home." University of Vienna, 09 Nov 2023.

  • "Utopia or Apocalypse? Futures Studies and Their Uses for Cultural Theory." Invited guest lecture, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, 01 Nov 2023.

  • "Towards a Pessimist Epistemology." Invited talk. Leeds Beckett University 3 May 2023.

  • "The English Riots 2011 and Stuart Hall's "New Ethnicities."" Invited talk. Universität Bielefeld 28 April 2022. 

  • "Understanding Hegemonic Whiteness: Cultural and Historical Figurations." Invited lecture. Building Bridges, Dismantling Racism: International Conference, Chickasha, OK, USA, 9-10 June 2021.

  • "The Shape of Things to Come: Gegenhegemoniale Zukünfte und die Möglichkeiten der Cultural Studies." Invited lecture. KWI Essen (online) 16 June 2020.

  • "Could Bond Be Black? Whiteness and the Racial Politics of James Bond." Invited guest lecture. Bochum 27 June 2018.

  • ""Nobody Fucks with the Block!" The Housing Estate in the British Cultural Imagination." Invited guest lecture. Vienna 29 May 2018.

  • "Lynchian Road Movies: An American Film Genre and Its Deconstruction in David Lynch's Wild at Heart and The Straight Story." Invited guest lecture Ruhr-University Bochum, 13 December 2017.

  • "'Slow-Motion Moral Collapse, Defective Consumers and Whites Becoming Black': Re-Reading Responses to the English Riots 2011." Invited guest lecture Universität Regensburg, 27 June 2016.

  • “Post-British Communities and Notions of Home in the Novels of Niall Griffiths.” Lecture series “Home and Homeland. Interdisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives.” Mannheim 27 October 2014.

Conference Papers

  • "Moral Economies Revisited: Public Protest, Machine-Breaking and the Future." Symposium "People, Power, Politics: What Can Cultural Studies Learn from British Marxism Today?" Bochum, 21 Mar 2024.

  • "A Pessimist Conjuncture: Conjunctural Analysis and the Cultural Logic of the Worst." Workshop "Cultural Studies Now: Thinking Conjuncturally." Dresden, 26-27 Oct 2023.

  • ""A Lyrical Failure of Philosophical Thinking": Towards a Pessimist Epistemology." The Faiulure of Knowledge – Knowledges of Failure. International Conference. Mannheim, 4-6 May 2023.

  • "Spectres of Pessimism: A Cultural Logic of the Worst." Annual Scholars and Fellows Workshop, Stuart Hall Foundation London, 10 February 2023.

  • "Auslöschung. Kosmischer Pessimismus und Präfigurationen des Ahumanen in Apokalypsenarrativen." Krisen und Katastrophen in der Populärkultur. Conference, Kiel 17-19 November 2022.

  • ""Being for Being Against": Precarious Futurity and the Dialectic of Utopianism and Pessimism." Anglistentag, Panel "The Return of Utopian Aesthetics", Mainz 3 September 2022. 

  • "Pessimism and/as Future Ethics of Care." Global Law & Society Association Meeting, Lisbon 15 July 2022.

  • "The World without Us: Pessimism, the Ethics of Care and the Ahuman." Cultural Studies and the Nonhuman Turn. Workshop, Dresden 1-2 July 2022.

  • "Pessimism and a Future Ethics of Care." Fail Again, Fail Better? Utopia, Memory, Radical Politics, and Radical Research. International Workshop, Edinburgh 17-18 March 2022.

  • "Raging Against the Machine: The Luddites, Bullshit Jobs and the Future of Work." Romantic Interventions: From Idealism to Activism. International Conference, Dortmund 3-5 February 2022.

  • "Unheimliche Natur, utopische Gemeinschaften: Folk Horror als ökologisch-politische Allegorie."  Folk Horror als Gegenstand und Herausforderung der Kulturwissenschaften: Workshop, Zurich 5 November 2021.

  • "Embracing Extinction: Cosmic Pessimism, Crumbling Modernity and Ahuman Futures." Dark Economies: Anxious Futures, Fearful Pasts. International Conference, Falmouth, UK 21-23 July 2021.

  • ""A Place Fill ay Dispossessed White Trash": Intersections of Race and Class in Contemporary British Novels." British Fictions of Class since 1945: Revitalising Class in the 21st Century. International Workshop, Siegen 18-19 June 2021.

  • "No Happiness without (B)Order: Brexit, Collective Ecstasy and Transgression in Niall Griffiths's Broken Ghost." Border Narratives: Brexit, Europe, and the UK. International Conference, Göttingen 4-6 May 2021.

  • "On Folk Horror as a Political Mode." Imagining Alternatives – GFF Annual Conference. Augsburg (online) 1 October 2020.

  • "Lost Futures? An Archaeology of Counter-Hegemonic Futures in Britain - Project Presentation." Stuart Hall Foundation Fellows and Scholars Event. London 2 February 2018. 

  • "A 'Crisis of Possibility': Re-Reading Raymond Williams's The Volunteers for a Contemporary Theory of Riots." Beyond Crisis: Reassessing Raymond Williams' Cultural Materialism. International Conference, Potsdam 19-21 January 2018.

  • "After the Future? Cancelled Futures and the Precarious Temporality of Global Neoliberalism." Where Are We Now? Times of Globalisation. 3rd Annual Conference of the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies, Amsterdam 15-16 December 2016.

  • "Welcome to the Afterfuture? Precarious Temporality, Cancelled Futures and Neoliberalism in the Current Discourse of Post-Capitalism." British Temporalities: Annual Conference of the German Association for the Study of British Cultures, Bielefeld 17-19. November 2016. 

  • "'The whites have become black': Responses to the English Riots 2011, Critical Whiteness Studies and the Trouble with 'New Ethnicities.'" International Conference "Wrestling with the Angels: Exploring Stuart Hall's Theoretical Legacy." Dortmund 25.-27. February 2016.

  • "Tainted Whiteness: White Trash and the Racialisation of the British Working Class in the Novels of Irvine Welsh, Niall Griffiths and John King." International Conference "Whatever Happened to the Working Class? Rediscovering Class Consciousness in Contemporary Literature." London 17 September 2015.

  • (with Johannes Fehrle) Panel-Organisation und Chair: "Adaptation as Translation: Transferring Cultural Narratives of Belonging." ENCLS/REELC 6th Biennial Congress: "Longing and Belonging." Dublin und Galway, Republic of Ireland 24-28 August 2015.

  • "Dysfunctional Capitalism. Mark Fisher's Capitalist Realism, Mental Illness and Deleuze-Guattarian Schizoanalysis." International Conference "Psychoanalysis in Cultural Studies. Readings and Proposals." Bochum 19-20 June 2015.

  • "'Not such a dreadful job after all'? Virginie Despentes' King Kong Théorie und filmische Repräsentationen von Prostitution im Spannungsfeld von Affirmation und sozialer Abjektion in Baise-moi und Irina Palm." "Körper kaufen? Prostitution in Literatur und Medien." Interdisciplinary workshop. Bochum 4 April 2014.

  • "The Other Dublin: Homelessness and Challenges to the Normative Urban Order in Lenny Abrahamson’s Adam & Paul." International Conference "Resistance and the City: Challenging Urban Space." Paderborn 5-6 July 2013.

  • with Sarah Heinz) Panel-Organisation. „Old and New Marginalities in Contemporary Irish Literature and Television: The Materialities of Nationalities and Ethnicities.“ The Ninth Conference of EFACIS: „Towards 2016: Old and New Irelands.“ Galway, Republic of Ireland 5-7 June 2013.

  • (with Sarah Heinz) „‚My whole life is betwixt and between‘: The White Trash Body and Problems of Intersectionality in Sebastian Barry’s The Pride of Parnell Street and Irvine Welsh’s Skagboys.“ „Between Bodies / Bodies Between.“ International Conference. Maynooth, Republic of Ireland 5-6 April 2013.

  • (with Sarah Heinz) Projektpräsentation. “The Colour of Power. Functions of Whiteness in Transcultural Encounters in Ireland since 1990.” White Spaces Network Meeting, Konferenz “Challenging Institutional Whiteness in Postcolonial Times.” Leeds, UK 10-12 September 2012

  • „British and Irish White Trash. Literary and Filmic Representations of Whiteness.“ PhD Seminar in Irish Studies „Irish Time.“ Leuven, Belgium 3-7 September 2012.

  • "'Misfit Language': A Tertium comparationis in an Age of Cultural Transitions? Reassessing Deleuze and Guattari’s Minor Literature as a Theoretical Tool."  1st Annual CLAI Conference Transitions in Comparative Studies. Cork, Republic of Ireland 28-30 June 2012.

  • (with Solvejg Nitzke und Kai Fischer) Organisation. „Katastrophen – Konfrontationen mit dem Realen.“ Komparatistisches Nachwuschskolloquium. Bochum 16.-17.09.2011.

  • "Terrorising the Nation. Denaturalising National Identity in Contemporary British and American Horror Films." Akademische Abschlussfeier der Fakultät für Philologie, Ruhr-Universität Bochum 12 July 2011.

  • „Wassermotive in der Lyrik Susan Howes.“ Philosophisch-literarisches Kolloquium 2011. Bochum, 1-2 July 2011.

  • „Eden. Apokalyptisches Chaos und paradiesische Ordnung in Alex Garlands The Beach und Cormac McCarthys The Road.“  Philosophisch-literarisches Kolloquium 2010. Bochum, 2-3 July 2010.

  • (with Solvejg Nitzke) „Monströse Blicke. Zur visuellen Struktur der Subjekt/Objekt-Beziehung von Mensch und Monster in Literatur und Film.“  Philosophisch-literarisches Kolloquium 2009. Bochum, 3-4 July 2009.

Conference organisation

  • (with Marie Hologa, Cyprian Piskurek and Gerold Sedlmayr) Political Bodies: Annual Conference of the German Association for the Study of British Cultures. TU Dortmund, 23.-25. November 2017. Website.

  • (with Evangelia Kindinger) The Intersections of Whiteness. International Conference. Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund, 11-13 January 2017. Website.

  • (with Julia Becker, Marie Hologa, Christian Lenz and Cyprian Piskurek) Spectacular Now: The Politics of the Contemporary Spectacle. International Conference. TU Dortmund, 11-12 November 2016. Website.

Courses winter 2023/24

Past courses:

  • Summer 2023: 19th-Century Radicalism; Social Realism in Transnational Cinema (International Summer School modules)

  • Winter 2022/23: Representations of Class; Ahuman Futures

  • Summer 2022: Precarious Temporalities; Teaching Film (Kulturdidaktik)

  • Winter 2021/22: Hauntology; Crowds and Masses
  • Summer 2021: Pessimism; Irvine Welsh

  • Winter 2020/21: Folk Horror; Whiteness in British Culture

  • Summer 2020: Britain's Futures; Niall Griffiths

  • Winter 2019/20: The Uses of Literacy

  • SoSe 2019: British Crime Films

  • WS 2018/19: The British Horror Film

  • SoSe 2018: A History of British Riots 

  • WS 2017/18: Theories of Hegemony

  • SoSe 2017: Translating Niall Griffiths

  • WS 2016/17: Psychoanalysis and British Culture

  • SoSe 2016: Contemporary Representations of Class (TU Dortmund and Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

  • SoSe 2016: From Hammer to Hoodie Horror: An Introduction to the British Horror Film

Proseminare Undergraduate Seminars

  • WS 2016/17 and SoSe 2017 as advisor: A-Projekt "Mythos Raum" at the Faculty for Urban Planning, TU Dortmund.

  • Introduction to Cultural Studies (winter 2015/16 - summer 2019)

  • SoSe 2015 No Black in the Union Jack? Critical Whiteness Studies and Contemporary British Culture

Seminars at other universities

  • FSS 2014 „Introduction to the Short Story: Contemporary Scottish Writers“, Universität Mannheim.

  • HWS 2013 „Sub-British Identities: Marginal Subjects in Contemporary Literature and Film“ Universität Mannheim.

  • FSS 2013 „The Fiction of Irvine Welsh“, Universität Mannheim.

  • FSS 2013 „Irish Culture and Critical Whiteness Studies“ (Workshop with Prof. Dr. Sarah Heinz and Dr. John Brannigan (Dublin)), Section „Boundaries of Whiteness? Figurations of British and Irish White Trash in Film and Literature“, Universität Mannheim.

  • FSS 2012 „White Spaces Workshop“ (Workshop with Prof. Dr. Sarah Heinz and Dr. Shona Hunter (Leeds)), Section „Whiteness in Contemporary British Literature“, Universität Mannheim.

  • WS 2011/12 „Nations and their Monsters: Contemporary British and American Horror Films“, Ruhr-Universität Bochum.

  • WS 2011/12 „Krankheit und Verfall in der Literatur“, Ruhr-Universität Bochum.

  • SoSe 2011  „Bret Easton Ellis und seine Romane“, Ruhr-Universität Bochum.

  • German Association for the Study of British Cultures (BritCult)

  • Deutscher Anglistenverband (German Association for the Study of English)

  • Comparative Literature Association of Ireland (CLAI)