Section "Aesthetics of the social and political Imaginary"

After literary and cultural studies had turned away from the social-historical and ideology-critical approaches of the 1960s and 70s for some time, the political and social dimensions of texts and other cultural artefacts have quickly and vehemently returned to the focus of very different research traditions and methodological discussions in recent decades: Be it New Historicism, discourse analysis, postcolonial studies or studies on the political unconscious, be it gender and queer studies, network theories, postcritique, ecocriticism, literary economics or research on the political imaginary - the analysis of literature, culture and film must, in one way or another, deal with questions about the connection between aesthetic and social practices, between literary and political forms, between media and social factors.

The section 'Aesthetics of the social and political Imaginary' aims to initiate a discussion context with regard to the always controversial 'mediation' between human imagination and cultural production in their various contexts, which are subject to change. The focus is on the one hand on the staging strategies by which factual and fictional cultural artefacts help to shape or transform the discourse on communality and sociality; on the other hand on the special expressive potential that literary texts, films and other forms of human poiesis can possess in order to accentuate the significance of the imaginary in the constitution process of communities and societies. Various methodological and theoretical paradigms will be discussed and tested and perhaps even new approaches developed.


Among other things, the following thematic focuses will be analysed: 

  • Stagings of interpersonal interactions and bonds
  • Interaction, change or migration of political and literary or media forms
  • Representation of queer and feminist identities and forms of relationships
  • Mediality and body politics
  • Imaginations of assembly and protest cultures
  • (De)constructions and imaginations of society
  • Ideas and performances of social cohesion, social unity and diversity
  • Ideas of ideal communities and utopias
  • Negotiations of state forms and their metaphors
  • Genre poetics and genre politics
  • Discussion of literary, cultural and media studies methods

Head of Section

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Judith Frömmer, Head

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Teresa Hiergeist, Deputy Head


Mag. Dr. Wolfram Aichinger, Privatdoz.

Mag. Dr. Marlen Bidwell-Steiner, Privatdoz.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Judith Frömmer

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Alexandra Ganser

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sarah Heinz

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Teresa Hiergeist

Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Miranda Jakiša

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sylvia Mieszkowski

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Kathrin Sartingen

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Günther Stocker

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jörg Türschmann

Ass.-Prof. Dr. Katharina Wiedlack

Univ.-Prof. Dr. paed. Antje Wischmann

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Norbert Christian Wolf