Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Department of English and American Studies | About us | Staff / Faculty | Professors | Senior Researcher Eveline Kilian | Project: Queer Theory and Literary Studies (funded by HU International Office and CENTRAL Network)

Project: Queer Theory and Literary Studies (funded by HU International Office and CENTRAL Network)


Cooperation with the University of Vienna and the University of Warsaw


HU Berlin project leader: Prof. Dr. Eveline Kilian (English Studies)

U of Vienna project leader: Dr. Susanne Hochreiter (German Studies)

U of Warsaw project leader: dr hab. Tomasz Basiuk, prof. ucz. (American Studies)

Further participants HU Berlin: Dr. Katrin Tordasi, Tijana Ristic Kern, M.A., Dr. Maria Olive Alexopoulos (now: University of British Columbia, CA)


Project description:

Queer theory has had a strong impact on the study of gender and sexuality since the 1990s. Its main focus is the deconstruction of the binary gender system and heteronormativity as well as a trenchant critique of all kinds of identity politics and identitarian logics. Queer has emerged as a critical force that undermines normative structures and explores and foregrounds those aspects which are excluded by such structures. In the past decades, queer itself has undergone a number of modifications and repositionings, boundary-crossings and redrawings of boundaries. One notable de­velopment has been, for example, a more sustained rethinking of queer in terms of intersectionality.

Queer has also left its traces in literary studies, as can be seen in the numerous analyses of texts through the lens of queer theory. The resulting array of rather diverse investigations are loosely classed as ‘queer readings’, a term predominantly but not exclusively connected with the literary and queer scholar Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, who has presented both incisive readings of individual texts and groundbreaking reflections on the epistemological potential of such readings. The aim of our series of workshops is to explore the different facets of queer theory that can be made productive for the study of literature.

Furthermore, in our project the various disciplinary affiliations of the participants as well as their different national and local contexts enter into the discussion as a major force of questioning and putting into perspective the quasi-natural and almost exclusive referencing of US-American sources in queer studies. This continues to trigger critical reflections on the implications of various local engagements with queer theory.



Workshop 1: Queer Theory and Literary Studies I (HU Berlin, 24-25 July 2017)

Workshop 2: Queer Theory and Literary Studies II (U of Vienna, 12-14 April 2018)

Workshop 3: European Receptions of Queer Theory (U of Warsaw, 25-27 September 2018)

Workshop 4: Queer Pedagogy (HU Berlin, 10-12 July 2019)

Workshop 5: Queer Temporalities (U of Vienna, 30 November – 1 December 2019)

Workshop 6: Queer Theory in Transit (Online Workshop, 8 September and 12 October 2020)