Current research projects

This interdisciplinary project responds to calls for more humanities research on climate change by developing an innovative methodological approach to cultural models of climate futures. It focuses especially on the topic of intergenerational justice. The project group brings together literary studies, linguistics, science and technology studies and literature pedagogy to investigate how different text types - cultural forms such as literature, social media, and literature reception in educational contexts - move between seemingly neutral climate facts ("models of") and normative social values ("models for").

Representing the Department of Anglophone Studies in the project is Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr as co-PI.

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The Gerhard Mercator Graduate Program Open-mindedness, Tolerance and Public Engagement is an interdisciplinary research training group funded by the Stiftung Mercator foundation and based at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
In line with the foundation’s mission, we focus on Duisburg but from a transnational perspective.

Our collaboration is characterised by the diversity of our scientific perspectives (from the social and political sciences, socio-economics, philosophy, art and cultural studies, to psychology), our international backgrounds, and our divers professional experiences in culture, arts, political and social work.

Representing the Department of Anglophone Studies in the Graduate Program is Prof. Dr. Florian Freitag as co-PI and deputy speaker.

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Voices & Agencies: America and the Atlantic, 1600-1865

"Voices & Agencies: America and the Atlantic, 1600-1865" is a UDE-based Network on early American literature, conceptualized by Elena Furlanetto (UDE) and Ilka Brasch (Leibniz University Hannover). The Network, funded by the DFG, brings together a group of European and American scholars for a series of five workshops and one final conference in the course of three years (2021-2024). The projects involved are anchored around a North American focus but include a larger Atlantic space, interlocking theories of Postcolonial and American/transatlantic Studies.

Representing the Department of Anglophone Studies in the network is Dr. Elena Furlanetto as co-organizer.

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Past projects

In contrast to the dominant, science-centred literacy debates, the “Climate Change Literacy” project asks: How do novels contribute to climate change communication? How does this contribution relate to recent demands for environmental and related literacies? Rather than reducing the function of literature to a pleasurable form of information transfer or its affective dimension of evoking sympathy, the project reassesses the cognitive, affective, and pedagogic potentials of literary writing by analysing a selection of popular climate novels and demonstrating the role of fiction in fostering an adequate understanding of, and response to, climate change. A monograph resulting from the project was published by Cambridge University Press in June 2023.

Funding: Volkswagen Foundation (funding line: Originalitätsverdacht, Az.: 9A794).

Project group: Prof. Dr. Julia Hoydis (Klagenfurt), Prof. Dr. Roman Bartosch (Cologne) and Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr (Duisburg-Essen).

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The research group Scripts for Postindustrial Urban Futures: American Models, Transatlantic Interventions (short: City Scripts) explores the imaginative strategies and narrative scenarios which the centers of old industries (steel, coal and cars) in the United States and Germany are devising to forge paths into their futures. Funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung for four years with a budget of 1.7 million, City Scripts is a joint endeavor of the American Studies Departments of the University Alliance Ruhr (Duisburg-Essen, Bochum, Dortmund).

Lead: Prof. Dr. Barbara Buchenau, co-lead: Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr, PI: Prof. Dr. Josef Raab †

Recently published:

Barbara Buchenau, Jens Martin Gurr, Maria Sulimma (eds.). City Scripts: Narratives of Postindustrial Urban Futures. The Ohio State University Press, 2023. open access

Narrative energies are hard to harness in industrial legacy settings. Can scripts of postindustrial cities be flipped by storytelling?

2023 Buchenau Etal_

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