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How to find us dr. K. (Konstantin) Mierau

dr. K. Mierau

Senior Lecturer
dr. K. Mierau

My research focuses on the relationship between marginal groups and literary representations. Key questions are: what is the influence of literary representations of marginal groups on the historiography on marginal groups? What role do literary representations play in the public perception(s) of marginal groups? What role do literary representations play in the self-identification of marginal groups, prisoners in particular? 

This research effort is supported by various forms of external funding, both for my own research and research by PhD candidates under my supervision. I am currently involved in the following projects:

1)  Converging Horizons: Production, Mediation, Reception and Effects of Cultural Representations of Marginality. (funding by Conicyt 2019-2021, ca. 400.000 Euro). 

This project constitutes collaboration between senior and junior researchers from Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Spain and the Netherlands is centred on the study of representations of marginal groups, such as prisoners, ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA communities and immigrants, with the intention of identifying the role of cultural representation underlying structures of marginalisation as well as the potential for reconnection and reintegration of marginalised groups. In this project I will act as academic director of the international research team. As part of this project, I will be carrying out fieldwork, organising expert meetings, co-supervising post-docs and  and co-editing a scientific volume.

2) PhD supervision

- Gonzálo Albornoz, MA (2018 – ongoing) “Fictional representations of Law, Legality, and Justice in popular mass media and the construction of legal knowledge by key communities in the prison environment.” 4-year funding of scholarship and supervision awarded by CONICYT, Chilean Government Research Council.

- Elizabeth Pinilla, MA (2018 - ongoing) "Twittering for Peace? The construction of meaning and Otherness in digital media representations of the Colombian Peace Process". 4-year funding of scholarship and supervision awarded by Colciencias, Colombian Government Research council.

- Juan del Valle, MA  (2017 - ongoing) “Imagining the Unpredictable: Communication, Power and Technology in José Ricardo Morales’ Transnational Theatre”. 4-year funding of scholarship and supervision awarded by CONICYT, Chilean Government Research Council. 

3) Research area Prison Reading: Empathy behind bars

This project aims to develop and apply a methodology for the empirical study of the effect of creative fiction on prisoners, with particular attention to prisoner's capacity for empathy. This methodology combines interviews and questionnaires, in order to gain both qualitative and quantitative perspectives on the phenomenon of prison reading. In doing so, the project, which studies imprisoned readers in various countries, will generate data and analyses in order to inform the societal debate on the purpose and design of prison reading programmes. Imprisonment is a very concrete form of social marginalization. Therefore, the following project studies role and effect of literature in a context with substantial societal relevance.

At present, the methodology has been presented at several international expert meetings and pilot studies have been undertaken at the Penitentiaries of Nueva Imperial and Temuco, Chile. First results were presented at universities in Peru and Chile, as well as the 16th conference of the International Society of the Empirical Study of Literature, Stavanger.

4) Research area Marginality and the literary Early Modern City: Madrid and the picaresque Novel

This part of my research focuses on processes of exclusion and inclusion in the literary representations of early modern European Cities, with special emphasis on Madrid. Using Madrid as a case study, this research line applies a microhistorical approach to the contextualization of literary representation, focusing on such topics as the representation of marginal places, practices and people, as well as the effect of the selectivity of these representations on subsequent historiography, i.e. what is the effect of not including many facets of the urban experience at the level of the market square in literary representations on subsequent historiography on every day life in early modern cities?

This research line has yielded a monograph Capturing the Picaro in Words. Institutional and Literary Representations of Marginal Communities in Early Modern Madrid (Routledge, 2018), the edited volume Microhistory and the Picaresque Novel (2014), as well as several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters (view research output). It has been funded by an Ubbo-Emmius 4-year PhD Scholarship as well as several smaller grants for the attendance and organisation of conferences, summer schools and publications.

Last modified:10 April 2020 4.00 p.m.

Contact information

Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat 26
9712 EK Groningen
The Netherlands