Casuistry and Early Modern Spanish literature

This funded project pursues the hypothesis that juridical, theological and medical debates on contested (honor) cases in the Early Modern period bring forth a veritable mindset that entails a fictional boost, hence, it is a considerable prerequisite for the success story of the modern novel.


Traps in the Fabric of Early Modern Spanish Literature,

Marriage promises, fortunes, titles, coins… early modern texts are full of traps and delusions. Not only frauds and scheming in comedies, novellas and the picaresque genre, but also many ambiguous philosophical debates testify to the dynamics of a changing society, thus seeking to and fathom its tensions and developing in the process an appropriate ethic by pointing out gaps and alternatives.
Yet, the capacities of literature are not limited to such ostensible efficacy. Experiencing another person being caught in a trap in the mode of fiction arouses suspense and imaginative engagement which helps to discharge the pressure of one’s own environment. The verbal ruses on the part of female, rural or domestic protagonists level out the patriarchal power system and by identification nourish the agency of the audience. The ludic function of literature becomes manifest in more and more refined peripeties, thus catering to the tastes of an increasingly accomplished literary audience.
Apart from the plot, there are also traps on the level of discourse. The baroque obsession with the motive of (dis)illusion (engaño, inganno) is a case in point; early modern rhetoric exploits its repertoire to the limits by inventing an art of dissimulation: figurative games of transfer like bold metaphors hiding some aspects and highlighting others; academic genres like the quodlibet and paradoxes training the perception of ambiguous phenomena; the moralists’ probabilistic arguments enabling to say only half the truth to save face … in short: the complexity of the modern self comes into being through these symbolic forms. At a collective level, fictional pitfalls refine the capacity to feign, to simulate, in other words: to anticipate future solutions.

Psychoanalytical Close Reading

My narratological and cinematic research is indebted by Psychoanalysis. To enhance my competence in the field I am preparing am annotation of a comparatively neglected text by Sigmund Freud: „Der Witz und seine Beziehung zum Unbewußten“ (1905) within the series von „Sigmund Freuds Werke. Wiener Interdisziplinäre Kommentare“.

Cinematic Dolls

In the last years I developed two research topics in 20th century’s media studies. One concerns the entanglement of politics and aesthetics, as to be shown in the volume “Der Spanische Bürgerkrieg als (Anti)Humanistisches Laboratorium”, which I edited with Birgit Wagner within the series “Broken Narrative”. The other one


Persistent Corporeality: Early Modern Natural Philosophy meets Postmodern Gender Theory

(funded by FWF Nr. V148-G15, 2010 – 2015)
This project compared body models of recent feminist and gender theory with body models in 16th century natural philosophy for they show similar holistic and materialistic approaches. It was finished in 2015.

(Un)Doing Gender als gelebtes Unterrichtsprinzip: Sprache – Politik – Performanz

(funded by Sparkling Science, Ministry of Science, Austria)
This research project was elaborated in collaboration with Stefan Krammer from the department of German Studies. It investigated the construction and representation of Gender relations and gender identities – the Doing Gender and its potential for deconstruction, the Undoing Gender, in the interactions of students and teachers within the secondary school II (age 15 to 17).

Narratives of Change

In collaboration with Wolfgang Müller-Funk and Anna Babka I participated in the development of a research focus on theories on narratives of rupture, crisis and on strategies of breaking the narrative thread.