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Practical matters How to find us prof. dr. L.C. (Laura) Bieger

prof. dr. L.C. (Laura) Bieger

Chair of American Studies
Profielfoto van prof. dr. L.C. (Laura) Bieger
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Dr. Phil., Freie Universität Berlin, 2006

Habilitation, Freie Universität Berlin, 2013 (Venia Legendi: Amerikanistik)

At Groningen Since: 2017


My scholarly work revolves around the multiple and ever-changing social uses and functions of cultural practices and artifacts. I have a long-standing interest in critical theory, reception aesthetics, visual and media studies. My research and teaching are thoroughly intertwined. My perhaps most popular seminar was a theory course called "Why we read novels and go to the movies." 

My first book, Ästhetik der Immersion, examines Washington’s government district, Chicago’s White City, and the Las Vegas Strip as sites that turn world-image-relations into immersive spectacles. My second book, Belonging and Narrative, considers the human need to belong as a driving force of literary production and the American novel as a primary place and home-making agent. 

My current work on 'Reading Publics' and 'Engaged Literature' is concerned with the political functions and uses of literature. It addresses the old question of literature's social responsibility from a praxeological view: literature is, among other things, a social practice—a collective doing and making that involves a multiplicity of human and non-human actors and institutions. In this framework, literary works are not stable objects; they are actors in their own right. As nodal points in a complex web of relations, they catalyze a range of activities (reading, writing, publishing, reviewing, citing, reciting, recommending, republishing). Engagement emerges from this web of relations. Rather than being intrinsic to certain aesthetics or politics, it defines literary practice from within this web in accordance with historically specific ideas about social responsibility. That is the point of departure for my project of writing a literary history of social enagement. 

I have been a reseach fellow at Deutsches Haus at New York University, at IFK Internationales Zentrum für Kulturwissenschaft Wien and at the University of California at Berkeley. My current work is funded by the Humboldt Foundation and partly conducted at Harvard University. 

I received my Magister degree (in American Studies, History and Philosophy) from Freie Universität Berlin. While writing my dissertation I was also a professional long-distance triathlete (with regular top-placements in international races including the World Championship in Hawaii).

Go here for a Complete List of Publications, Lectures and Conference Papers


Belonging and Narrative. A Theory of the American Novel (2018). Bielefeld: transcript

Ästhetik der Immersion. Raumerleben zwischen Welt und Bild. Las Vegas, Washington und die White City (2007). Bielefeld: transcript

Recent and Forthcoming Articles

“Committed Writing as Common Ground: Jesmyn Ward’s Poetics of Breathing While Black.” Special Issue “Common Grounds? Transatlantic Perspectives on the State of American Democracy.” Amerikastudien / American Studies (2021)

“Introduction: Toward a History (and Future) of the Human Being in American Art.” With Joshua Shannon and Jason Weems. In: “Humans.” Terra Foundation Essays in American Art, Vol. 6. Ed. Laura Bieger, Joshua Shannon and Jason Weems. Chicago: Chicago University Press (forthcoming 2021)

“The 1619 Project as Aesthetic and Social Practice; or, the Art of the Essay in the Digital Age.” In: The Politics and Publics of U.S. American Post-Millennial Fiction. Ed. Jolene Mathieson, Marius Henderson and Julia Lange. London: Bloomsbury (forthcoming 2021)

“Reading and Writing (at) the Site of the Social; or David Alworth’s Site Reading (2015) as Pandemic-Proof Model of Cultural Critique.” In: Culture2: Key Works for the 21st Century. Ed. Frank Kelleter and Alexander Starre. Santa Barbara: Punctum Books (forthcoming 2021)

“Public Intellectuals, Cultural Fields, and the Predicament of Popularity; or, Richard Wright Meets Pierre Bourdieu.” In: American Cultures as Popular Culture. Ed. Astrid Böger and Florian Sedlmeier. Heidelberg: Winter, (forthcoming 2021)

"What Dewey Knew: The Public as Problem, Practice, and Art.“ In: European Journal of American Studies 15.1 (2020)

““Jean-Paul Sartre, Richard Wright, and the Relational Aesthetics of Literary Engagement.” In: The Return of the Aesthetic in American Studies. Ed. Johannes Voelz, Winfried Fluck, Rieke Jordan, and Stefan Kuhl. REAL Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature Vol. 35 (2019)

“Learning from Hannah Arendt; or, The Public Sphere as a Space of Appearance and the Fundamental Opacity of the Face-to-Face.” American Counter/Publics. Ed. Ulla Haselstein, Frank Kelleter, Alexander Starre, and Birte Wege. Heidelberg: Winter (2019)

“Reading for Democracy.” Democratic Cultures and Populist Imaginaries. Ed. Donald E. Pease. REAL Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature. Vol. 34 (2018)

“Say the Words. Reading for Cohesion in Don DeLillo’s Point Omega.” Narrative Vol. 6 (January 2018)

The Wire, Big Data, and the Specter of Naturalism.” Studies in American Naturalism Vol. 2 (Fall 2017)

"Belonging as Critical Method—13 Propositions.” Looking Forward, 2014. Current Projects in American Studies (2017). Ed. Frank Kelleter and Alexander Starre. Heidelberg: Winter

“Cowboys in Candyland. Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and the Southern Frontier.” Violence and Open Spaces. The Subversion of Boundaries and the Transformation of the Western Genre (2017). Ed. Stefanie Müller, Christa Buschendorf and Katja Sarkowsky, Heidelberg: Winter

“Some Thoughts on the Spatial Forms and Practices of Storytelling.” Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Vol. 1 (2016)

“No Place Like Home; or, Dwelling in Narrative.” New Literary History Vol. 1 (2015)


“Humans.” Terra Foundation Essays in American Art, Vol. 6. With Joshua Shannon and Jason Weems. With Contributions by Jean-Philippe Antoine, Caroline Arscott, Alan Braddock, Larne Gogarty, Jessica Horten, Michael Leja and Cherise Smith. Chicago: Chicago University Press (forthcoming 2021).       

 "Space, Place and Narrative.“ Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik 1 (2016). With Nicole Maruo-Schröder. Contributions by Klaus Benesch, Laura Bieger, Kai Horstmannshoff, Georgiana Lolea, Nicole Maruo-Schröder and David Nye

Revisiting the Sixties. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on America’s Longest Decade (2013). With Christian Lammert. Conbributions by Andreas Etges, Winfried Fluck, Nancy Fraser, Vivien Green Fryd, Andrew Gross, Sulgi Lie, Martin Lüthe, Elisabeth Paefgen, Simon Schleusener, Florian Sedlmeier, Casey Shoop, Blair Taylor, Lora Ann Viola, Hayden White and Eli Zaretsky. Frankfurt: Campus

The Imaginary and Its Worlds. American Literature after the Transnational Turn (2013). With Ramón Saldívar and Johannes Voelz. Contributions by Lawrence Buell, Christa Buschendorf, Winfried Fluck, Herwig Friedl, Heinz Ickstadt, Lene Johannessen, Walter Benn Michaels, Christopher Newfield, Donald Pease, Ramón Saldívar and Mark Seltzer. Dartmouth, NH: The University of New England Press

Mode. Ein kulturwissenschaftlicher Grundriss (2012). With Annika Reich and Susanne Rohr. Conbributions by Annette Geiger, Ulrich Lehmann, Hanne Loreck, Susanne Rohr, Kaja Silverman and Barbara Vinken. München: Fink

Winfried Fluck. Romance with America? Selected Essays on Culture, Literature and American Studies (2009). With Johannes Voelz. Heidelberg: Winter

Last modified:08 September 2022 07.52 a.m.