Biographical Information

Torsten Caeners studied British and American Literature and Culture as well as Computational Linguistics at the University of Duisburg (1998 - 2004). He finished his studies with an M.A. thesis on the shorter poetry of the Augustan poet Dr. William King in 2004. In 2010 he finished his PhD with a thesis on Poetry Therapy, investigating the application of poetic writing for psychoanalytical treatment in the context of post-structuralist literary theory. He is the programme manager (Kustos) for the BA/MA Anglophone Studies and the BA/MA "Cultural Studies and Business Administration" ("Kulturwirt"). He has been teaching at the Department for Anglophone Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen since 2010. His seminars focus on poetry, literary and cultural theory and manifestations of popular culture. He is a member of the steering committee of "The Superhero Project", co-organizer of the Superhero Project’s annual international conference and Vice-President of the International Society for Superhero Studies.

Poetic Writing Workshop

Geisteswissenschaften/Anglistik/Amerikanistik

Room
R12 R05 A36
Office hours
Dienstags und Donnerstag, jeweils 10-12 Uhr sowie nach Vereinbarung. KEINE Sprechstunde am 11.06.24 + 13.06.24!

Functions

  • Koordinator/in, Kulturwirt

  • Wissenschaftliche/r Mitarbeiter/in, Anglistik: Britische und Anglophone Kultur- und Literaturwissenschaft - British and Anglophone Literature and Culture


    Geisteswissenschaften

    Address
    Universitätsstr.12
    45117 Essen
    Room
    R11 T04 C45
  • Studienberatung, Fachberater für Anglistik (Bachelor und Master "Anglophone Studies")

Monographs

Poetry as Therapy: Contemporary Literary Theory as a Foundation of Poetry Therapy.Trier: WVT, 2011.

 

Co-Edited Collections 

Nicolas Gaspers, Torsten Caeners, Matthias Keidel (eds.). Religiöse Helden. Glaube, Religion und Moralität in der superheroischen Popkultur. Bielefield: Transkript, 2023. (open access)

 

Essays, Book Chapters and Articles

"Patchworking the Man of Steel: Myth, Classical Heroes, Circus Strongman and the Creation of Superman." Classical Heroes in the 21st Century: New Perspectives on Contemporary Cinematic Narratives of Antiquity. Martin Lindner and Nils Steffensen (eds.). Baden-Baden: Ergon, 2023. 29-50.

“Der Mann aus Stahl ist nicht Superman – Verhandlungen christlicher Symbolik und postmoderner Identität in Man of Steel, Batman v Superman und Justice League.“ Religiöse Helden. Glaube, Religion und Moralität in der superheroischen Popkultur. Nicolas Gaspers, Torsten Caeners, Matthias Keidel (eds.), . Bielefield: Transkript, 2023. (open access)

"Imagination Reloaded: Transfiguring Urban Space into Virtual Space in the TV series Caprica." Cityscapes of the Future: Urban Spaces in Science Fiction. Yael Maurer and Meyrav Koren-Kuik (eds.). Leiden: Brill Rodopi, 2018. 186-205.

"Negotiating the Human in Ridley Scott's Prometheus." Young Adult Fiction: Finding Humanity in a Posthuman World, edited by Anita Tarr and Donna R. White. University Press of Mississippi. 2018, 199-226. 

"Tennyson's Reception in Germany." The Reception of Alfred Lord Tennyson in Europe. Leonee Ormond (ed.). London [et al.]: Bloomsbury, 2016.

"Memory and Memory Work." Introducing Criticism in the 21st Century. 2nd. Edition. Julian Wolfreys (ed.). Edinburgh Edingburgh UP, 2015. 282-307.

"Romantic Urbanity and Urban Romanticism: The Metropolis as a  Place of Romantic Imagination and the Case of Mary Robinson's 'London's Summer Morning'." Romantic Cityscapes: Selected Papers from the Essen Conference of the German Society for English Romanticism. Jens Gurr and Berit Michels (eds). Trier: WVT, 2013. 53-65.

​"'Co-opted and obliterated echo' - Formal Poetry and the Negotiation of Identities." English Studies, 93:1 (2012), 57-70.

With Stefanie Caeners. "The Locus Amoenus in Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife". In: LWU: Journal of Academic Research and Education. 4: 2011. 265-276.

"'You're broken. I can fix you' -- Negotiating US ideological concepts in Heroes." Inverstigating Heroes: Essays on Truth, Justice and Quality TV. David Simmons (ed.)Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011.130-143.

"Beyond Mourning and Melancholia - Postmodern Grief in Douglas Dunn's Elegies.LWU: Journal of Academic Research and Education 1:2010. 37-52.

​"'Imagined within the gravitational pull of the actual' - The fusion of the private and the public in Seamus Heaney's Poetic Theory." Intimate Exposure: Essays on the Public/Private Divide in British Poetry Since 1950. Emily Merriman (ed.). Jefferson, NC: McFarland. 2010.

With Stefanie Albers: "The Poetics and Aesthetics of Ian McEwan's Atonement.English Studies - A Journal of English Language and Literature. 90:6 (2009). 707-720.

"Humanity's scarred Children: The Cylons' oedipal Dilemma in Battlestar Galactica." Extrapolation 49:3 (2008). 368-384.

"'Let me tell you the story of a soldier named Dan:' Konkretisierungs- und Personalisierungstendenzen in Donovans Protestliedern der 1960er Jahre." Da habt Ihr es, das Argument der Straße. Kulturwissenschaftliche Studien zum politischen Lied. Martin Butler und Frank Erik Pointner (eds.).Trier: WVT, 2007. 133-149.

"'Neither god nor ghost:' The Resurrection of the Tollund Man in Seamus Heaney's District and Circle." LWU: Journal of Academic Research and Education 1:2006. 21-38. 

 

Reviews

Review: Michael Thurston's "The Underworld in Twentieth Century Poetry." Anglistik - International Journal of English Studies (2/2011).190-193.

Review: Herbert F. Tucker's "Epic: Britain's Heroic Muse: 1790-1910." Anglistik - International Journal of English Studies (1 /2009). 194-196.

 

In Preparation

“Patchworking the Man of Steel – Myth, Classical Heroes, Circus Strongmen and the Creation of Superman”. Classical Heroes in the 21th Century. New Perspectives on Contemporary Cinematic Narratives of Antiquity (Helden – Heroisierungen – Heroismen 20), Nils Steffensen and Martin Lindner (eds.). Würzburg. 

Torsten Caeners and Danny Graydon (eds.), SuperCultures. Bristol: Intellect.

Review: Tom Baynes’ "Tennyson and Goethe’s Faust." Tennyson Research Bulletin.

 

Interviews and Media

Interview mit dem Popkultur-Magazin Corso des Deutschlandfunks: "Superheld:innen als Vorboten des neuen Faschismus?" vom 19.10.2022.

Radio interview on “Poetry and Wellness” hosted by Joanna Beth Tweedy in May 2008 (WUIS-WIPA, Illinois Public Radio, Illinois, USA. See: www.wuis.org/Quiddity/)

 

Miscellaneous

Torsten Caeners and Lioba Schreyer (Hrsg.), Verse and Tile, Gilles & Francke, 2017.

Poems: "A Quartet of Voices" in Verse and Tile, 2017

Poem: "Unwoken" in Verse and Tile, 2017

Poem: "The White Goddess" in Verse and Tile, 2017

Poem: "Homecoming" in Verse and Tile, 2017

Poem: "The Mouse and the Crocodile" in Verse and Tile, 2017

Poem: "Tagomago" in Verse and Tile, 2017

Poem: "Black Stone" in Verse and Tile, 2017

Poem: "Weighing Anchor" in Verse and Tile, 2017

Poem: "Coda" in Verse and Tile, 2017

Poem “Nell on Campus” in Quiddity Journal, Volume 1, 2008

Poem “Jenny” in Anon Magazine, Volume 5

 

Conference Papers

"The Sovereign and the MCU – Iron Man as a Nexus of Sovereignty in the MCU" at The Superhero -- The Superhero Project: Seventh Global Meeting, Bader College, UK. 25.08.-27.08.2023.

"The Haunting of Achievement – The Tension between Unity and Fragmentation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe" at The Superhero -- The Superhero Project: Sixth Global Meeting, Van der Falk Hotel, Germany. 09.09.-11.09.2022.

"'Is this an old message?' – Ant-Man’s Ghostly Return and The Marvel Cinematic Universe as a Hauntological Space” at The Superhero -- The Superhero Project: Fifth Global Meeting, Katholische Akademie Wolfsburg, Mülheim, Germany. 10.09.-12.09.2021.

​"The ‘Man of Steel’ ain’t Superman – Negotiations of Christian Symbolism in Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Justice League" at Morals, Faith and Religion in the Superhero Discourse. An Interdisciplinary Colloquium.  13.03.-14.03.2021

"Gone But Not Forgotten: Spectrality and the Haunting of Tony Stark in Spider Man: Far From Home" at The Superhero -- The Superhero Project: Fourth Global Meeting, Katholische Akademie Wolfsburg, Mülheim, Germany. 04.09.-06.09.2020.

"Tony, Steve, Absolute Responsibility and the Uncertain Certainty of Death" at The Superhero -- The Superhero Project: Third Global Meeting, Katholische Akademie Wolfsburg, Mülheim, Germany. 20.09.-22.09.2019.

"Derridean Responsibility and/in Marvel’s Avengers". Lecture Series “Great Responsibility” Heroism in Contemporary Culture, University of Duisburg-Essen. July, 18th 2019.

"Disseminating the Heroic – Reverse-Katabasis in DC’s Wonderwoman". Lecture Series “We don’t need another hero?” Heroism in Contemporary Culture, University of Duisburg-Essen. July, 19th 2018.

"Beyond Human - The Postmodern Superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe", at The Superhero -- The Superhero Project: Second Global Meeting, University of Oxford, Mansfield College, Oxford. 09.09.-11.09.2016.

"The Making of the Hero: Katabasis and the Superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe" at The Superhero -- The Superhero Project: First Global Meeting, University of Oxford, Mansfield College, Oxford. 07.09.-09.09.2015.

"'Frak the Gods' -- (Re-)Negotiating the Classical World in Battlestar Galactica" at Swords, Sorcery, Sandals and Space: The Fantastika and the Classical World, University of Liverpool, Liverpool. 29 June - 01 July 2013.

"The Reception of Tennyson in Germany" at Colloquium for the Reception of Tennyson in Europe at King's College, London. 14-15 October 2011.

"'Ruddy Morn' and 'Ruddy Housemaids' - Urban Space as a Place of Romantic Imagination in Mary Robinson's "London's Summer Morning'" at Romantic Cityscapes. 14th International Symposium of the German Society for English Romanticism. at the University Duisburg-Essen. 6-9 October 2011.

​"Co-opted and obliterated echo' - Formal poetry and the negotiation of identities" at the Identity and Form in Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literature Conference. Sheffield Hallam University, UK. 3-4 July 2009.

"'Simple Pagan Prayers' - Poetry as Belief in Douglas Dunn's Elegies" at the Conference "Poetry and Belief" 24-25 April 2009 at the University of Central Lancashire.

"'Imagined within the gravitational pull of the actual' – The fusion of the private and public discourses in Seamus Heaney’s poetic theory" at the International Conference "British Poetry 1950-2008 and the Public/Private Divide" 27-28 June 2008 at the Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV). 

 

Born in Moers, 
October 26, 1976

 
Since 08/2011

Permanent full-time senior lecturer at the Department of Anglophone Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen

Since 08/2011

Programme Manager  BA / MA "Anglophone Studies"

06/2010

Dr. phil. (PhD) in English Literature, University of Duisburg-Essen

Since 4/2007

Programme Manager interdisciplinary BA / MA "Cultural Studies and Business Administration" ("Kulturwirt")

Since 4/2007

Part-time lecturer (wiss. Mitarbeiter, 50%) at the Department of Anglophone Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen

8/2006 - 4/2007

Research assistant at the Department of Anglophone Studies at the University of Duisburg - Essen (Prof. Dr. Michael Gassenmeier)

2004 - 2008

Adjunct lecturer at the Department of Anglophone Studies at the University of Duisburg- Essen

11/2001 - 12/2003

Student assistant in the Department of Computational Linguistics at the University of Duisburg

2001

Student tutor for English literature at the University of Duisburg

10/1998 - 10/2004

Studies of British and American Literature and Culture, and Computational Linguistics at the University of Duisburg

8/1996 - 31.08.97

Compulsory Social Service (Zivildienst), Individuelle Schwerstbehindertenbetreuung

6/1996

Abitur, Gymnasium Adolfinum, Moers

Torsten Caeners research focus, broadly speaking, is in reading (popular) culture text as cultural commentary and cultural diagnosis. Since 2018, his research has concentrated on the superhero discourse in its filmic and TV representations. Torsten Caeners is Vice-President of the international research network "The Superhero Project" and co-organiser of its annual conference, the Global Meeting. Torsten Caeners further specializes in literary and cultural theory where his focus lies on Derridean hauntology, its relation to Marc Fisher’s take on the approach and the Palimpsest as figure for postmodern intertextual relations. Further research interests are Renaissance and contemporary British and American poetry, in particular the role and function of poetry within society.
 
Key research areas are:
Literary and cultural theory (Derrida, Hauntology, Hegemony, Ideology)
Superhero Studies
Popular culture as cultural diagnosis
Poetry (esp. Renaissance, Contemporary and Seamus Heaney)
Renaissance Literature and Culture 
 
In his teaching Torsten Caeners offers courses in British and American literature from the Renaissance to the 21st century. In the past he has taught seminars on Shakespeare, Seamus Heaney, Philip Larkin, the sonnet, Restoration and Augustan literature and culture, and British Romanticism, Hegemony / Ideology in Popular Culture and, of course, the superhero.

All classes since 2001 are listed here.

Torsten Caeners supervises BA and MA theses of the following courses of studies:

  • akademischer 2-Fach Studiengang Anglophone Studies (BA / MA theses)
  • Kulturwirt (BA / MA theses)
  • Lehramt (BA only!)

If you seek supervision for your thesis, make sure it falls within Torsten Caeners' areas of research and teaching, which is, roughly, British literature from the Renaissance to today. In cases of TV or film, American-based thesis proposals are also acceptable.

Ideally, you have done a seminar with Dr. Torsten Caeners already although this is not mandatory. In any case, bring a rough idea of your thesis to a preliminary meeting in one of the office hours.

Guidelines for Research and MA theses here.

All supervised BA and MA theses by Dr. Torsten Caeners since 2010 are listed here.

 

Established in 2015 by Danny Graydon and Dr Barbara Brownie in collaboration with Inter-Disciplinary.net, The Superhero Project  was the first academic conference solely dedicated to the superhero genre, initially run at Mansfield College in Oxford. Following the demise of I-D.net, The Superhero Project became a collaboration between Graydon - an academic with University of Hertfordshire, UK - and Dr Torsten Caeners of University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, who was a delegate at the first edition of the conference. The Superhero Project was revived in late 2019 with four successive editions in Germany. Super 7 returned to the UK and was held at Bader College’s Herstmonceux Castle in 2023.The Superhero Project has quickly distinguished itself as an invigoratingly diverse showcase of critical coverage of the superhero genre, amply demonstrating the scope of potential thereby illuminating what is a truly vibrant area of pop culture scholarship.

In 2023 the Steering Group also launched the Superhero Project Podcast