Current research activities and projects at the institute
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English Linguistics

English linguistics in Jena has a corpus-linguistic, comparative and cognitive-functional profile. Recent research projects and publications therefore deal with typological issues (including language documentation), the (historical) emergence of and changes in linguistic structures as a result of language use, the cognitive representation of linguistic knowledge and the corpus-based, multimodal investigation of communicative actions.

  • The Grammar Network
  • Multi-layer annotation for linguistic corpora
    • DFG project "A minimal infrastructure for the sustainable provision of extensible multi-layer annotation software for linguistic corpora" (Hexatomic)" (Volker Gast and Anke Lüdeling, 2018-2021)
    • Project descriptionExternal link
  • Spatial deixis in diachronic language development
    • EU Project: Marie Curie International Multidisciplinary Training Network "Deictic Communication" (Holger Diessel, 2016 - 2020)
    • Project pageExternal link
  • Cross-linguistic patterns of colexification
  • Language documentation in southern Papua New Guinea
    • Project "Documentation of Bena Bena, a community of the Eastern highlands of Papua New Guinea: In-depth linguistic and anthropological investigations" (Volker Gast, funded by VolkswagenStiftung until November 2018)
    • Project pageExternal link
  • Human impersonal pronouns
    • DFG project on the typology of human impersonal pronouns (Volker Gast, 2012-2015 and work in progress)
    • Habilitation by Florian Haas (2023)
    • Link to the database External link
  • The typology of clause combining
    • DFG project "A corpus-based typology of clause linking" (Volker Gast, 2011-2015)
    • DFG project "Principles of linearization in complex-sentence constructions" (Holger Diessel, 2007-2010 and work in progress with Karsten Schmidtke-Bode)
    • Clause Linkage in Cross-Linguistic Perspective: Data-Driven Approaches to Cross-Clausal Syntax (collective volume, ed. by Volker Gast and Holger Diessel, 2012)
  • Literary linguistics
  • Theses
    • Florian Haas ('Habilitation' 2023): A diachronic perspective on English human impersonal pronouns
    • Bastian Persohn ('Habilitation' 2022): The unfolding of evens in time and space
    • Martin Schäfer ('Habilitation' 2017): The semantic transparency of English compound nounsExternal link (Language Science Press 2018)
    • Anne Apel (PhD thesis in progress): Verb-particle constructions in first and second language acquisition
    • Olena Tykhostup (PhD thesis in progress): Multi-modal annotation and analysis of a narrative problem solving task in English, Idi and Russian
    • Olena Shcherbakova (PhD thesis in progress): The evolution of langage complexity
    • Christian Wehmeier (PhD thesis in progress): Computational approaches to fictional orality: A corpus-based analysis of speech in English and Anglo-Irish narrative texts
    • Christoph Rzymski (PhD thesis in progress): The automatic resolution of scope in natural languages
    • Lisa Deringer (PhD thesis in progress): Human impersonal pronominal elements in German, English and Italian: Translational equivalents in the Europarl corpus
    • Karoline Kaaden (PhD thesis in progress): Patterns of multifunctionality: A corpus-based approach to multifunctional adverbial relations
    • Annika Tjuka (PhD thesis 2024): Sprachliche Variation in Wortbedeutungen: Sprachübergreifende Muster und Ursachen von Kolexifikationen
    • Sergei Monakhov (PhD thesis 2024): Complex words as constructions: analysability, semantic transparency, and morphological productivity
    • Stephen Zill (PhD thesis 2021): Reanalysis and actualisation: Investigating semantic conditions on the spread of nominative experiencers with Early-English impersonal verbs
    • Barthe Bloom (PhD thesis 2021): Lateral feature transfer and multiple source constructions in language variation
    • Merlijn Breunesse (PhD thesis 2020): Demonstratives in space and discourse: A synchronic and diachronic analysis
    • Daniel Jach (PhD thesis 2019): Preposition placement in English as a second language: A usage-based approachExternal link
    • Afromeeva, Elena (PhD thesis 2019): Presidential speechmaking in comparative perspective: Empirical analysis of Obama's and Putin's inaugural adresses, New Year speeches and appeals on nationhood.
    • Olga Rudolf (PhD thesis 2016): Human impersonal strategies in English and Russian: A comparative corpus study
    • Karsten Schmidtke-Bode (PhD thesis 2014): Complement clauses and complementation systems: A cross linguistic study of grammatical organization
    • Katja Hetterle (PhD thesis 2013): Adverbial clauses in cross-linguistic perspectiveExternal link (De Gruyter 2015)
    • Johannes Brandt (PhD thesis 2013): Towards a formal theory of tense and aspect
    • Daniel Wiechmann (PhD thesis 2009): Understanding relative clauses: A usase-based view on the processing of complex constructionsExternal link (De Gruyter 2014)

English Literary and Cultural Studies

The area of English Literary and Cultural Studies at our university covers a wide range from the Renaissance to the present, from so-called high culture to popular forms, as well as from British, Irish, and Australasian literature to anglophone works from Asia and Africa. Equally diverse are the research interests, which are often interdisciplinary and thus difficult to assign to a single project or field of inquiry. Of particular importance are modern literature and the work of James Joyce, the relationship between literature and the sciences – in particular evolutionary literary studies and "Physics and Literature" – popular forms like comics and graphic novels as well as fantasy and science fiction. Furthermore, there is a cooperation with Linguistics in the field of Literary Linguistics. For further areas of research, see the publication lists of individual members of staff.

  • Science and Literature
  • Comics and Graphic Narratives
  • Modernist Literature: James Joyce

    Project of the German Research Foundation: The Representation of Speech in Fictional Texts: An Interdisciplinary Study at the Interface Between Quantitative Linguistics and Literary Studies with a Special Focus on James Joyce’s Ulysses. (Volker Gast, Dirk Vanderbeke) ( link)

  • Lyrical Populism

    James Dowthwaite (with Andrew Gross): A special issue based on two conferences (Göttingen, 2018 and Washington DC, 2019) on connections between 20th-century literature and political theories of populism (forthcoming)

  • Theses
    • James Dowthwaite ('Habilitation' in progress): Aestheticism and the Concept of Fate
    • Andrew Liston ('Habilitation' in progress): Proto-Ecology in Robert Burns
    • Oliver Bock ('Habilitation' in progress) – The Flâneur in American Literature of the Nineteenth and Early to Mid-Twentieth Centuries
    • Krzysztof Bartnicki (PhD in progress): The Hub of Finnegans Wake
    • Joon Hyuk Kim (PhD in progress): A Comparative Approach to the Representation and Understanding of Evil in Contemporary Anglophone and East-Asian Literature
    • Christian Wehmeier (PhD in progress): Computational Approaches to Fictional Orality: A Corpus-Based Analysis of Speech in English and Anglo-Irish Narrative Texts
    • Carol-Ann Martin (PhD 2021): Spoken Word: Acceptance and Use in L1 Academic Settings, Implications for L2 Oral Production
    • Franziska Hug (PhD 2019): Weibliche Quijote-Figuren in der englischen Literatur des 18. und frühen 19. Jahrhunderts
    • Doreen Triebel (PhD 2015): Closed Minds in Narrative Stories

English Medieval Studies

English Medieval Studies at the FSU Jena are characterized by two main areas of research: ‘Animals in Medieval Literature and Culture’ and ‘Medievalism’. The former investigates the role and function of animals within the medieval mindset – and their transformations and continuations in the post-medieval periods. ‘Medievalism’ focusses on exploring the afterlife and reception of medieval motifs and thought-patterns in contemporary cultures.

  • Animals in Medieval Literature and Culture
  • Medievalism
  • Dissertations and Post-Doc Projects
    • Patrick Schmitz: PhD (in progress) on “Brücken zwischen den Welten – Strategien zur Beeinflussung von familiarization und strangeness in zeitgenössischen Fantasy-Werken”.
    • Larissa Zoller: PhD (in progress) on “Fabliaux and Schwänke: A Structural Analysis of Bawdy Humour in Middle English and Middle High German Texts”.
    • Franz Klug: PhD (in progress) on “Historicising Frames as Narrative, Genre-Generative Elements”.
    • Marcel Buelles: PhD (in progress) on “Proverbiality in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien”.
    • Hamish Williams: Humboldt Fellowship (September 2019 till September 2021), Post-doc project on “Homeric Echoes in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien”.
    • Richard Z. Gallant: PhD 2021 on “The Germanic Narrative of the Eldar in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Legendarium: Northern Courage, Wyrd and Redemption”.
    • Julian Eilmann: PhD 2016 on: J.R.R. Tolkien – Romantiker und Lyriker (oldib Verlag 2016). English translation: J.R.R. Tolkien – Romanticist and Poet (Walking Tree Publishers 2017)
    • Winfried Rudolf: PhD 2005 on “Variatio delectat – Altenglische Themapredigten als unfeste Texte”; Research-fellow DFG project (2004-2006) ‘Verhandlungen mit mittelenglischer alliterierender Dichtung des ausgehenden Mittelalters: Herrschaftsstrukturen – Regionalismus – Identität’; Professor for English Medieval Studies at University Göttingen. Homepage: < link>

North American Literary and Cultural Studies 

The area of North American Literary and Cultural Studies focuses on select topics in U.S. and Canadian literature and culture from the 17th century to the present. A particular emphasis is placed on the relationship between myths and nation-building, space and identity, transatlantic romanticism, as well as gender studies and popular culture. Another focus is the Anthropocene in traditions of nature writing as well as ecocriticism. The institute is involved in the DFG-funded research training group "Modell Romantik: Variation - Reichweite - Aktualität" (Model Romanticism: Variation - Reach - Actuality) and organizes the interdisciplinary Master's program in North American Studies together with the Department of History and the Department of Political Science.

  • The Anthropocene in Literature and Culture | Ecocriticism
  • Canadian Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Space and Identity
  • Transatlantic Romanticism
  • Theses
    • Albrecht, Andrin (PhD in progress): Romantic Genius and White Male Authorships in the Wake of Moby Dick
    • Aydin, Can (PhD in progress): Survivors in the City: Constructions of Masculinity in Urban Indigenous Literature
    • Grzenia, Carolin (PhD in progress):“A New Lesson in Losing”: Climate Grief in Contemporary Life Writing
    • Hyatt, Jamie Elizabeth (PhD in progress): Tree Activism in Contemporary North American Literature: Politicizing the Environment of the Pacific Northwest
    • Amanda Halter (PhD in progress): Reading Environmental Violence: The Ecopedagogical Potential of Contemporary US-American Young Adult Fiction
    • Florian Wagner (PhD in progress): Revisiting the Environmental Imagination: Planetary Poetics in Contemporary Canadian Poetry
    • Luisa Turczyinski (PhD in progress): (Re-)Imagining Nature, Gender, and Sexuality in American Romanticism and Beyond
    • Gina Comos (PhD 2022):“To Accept Responsibility and Forgo the Control?”: Women and Nature in US-American Literature of the Anthropocene
    • Felix Haase (PhD 2021): Productive Failure: Sincerity and Irony in Eggers, Lerner and Heti
    • Juan Zhao (PhD 2020): Pearl S. Buck’s Chinese World: A New Historicist Reading of "The House of Earth Trilogy"
    • Ruth Barratt-Peacock (PhD 2018): Concrete Horizons: Romantic Irony in the Poetry of David Malouf and Samuel Wagan Watson 
    • Stefanie Schäfer ('Habilitation' 2017): Yankee Yarns: Storytelling and the Invention of the National Body in 19th-Century American Culture 
    • Rico Hollmach (PhD 2015): The Great American Game: Philanthropy in American Literature and Culture
    • Doreen Bauschke (PhD 2013): Quilt(ed) Texts: The Patchwork Quilt in Contemporary North American Novels 


Die Forschung im Bereich der Englischen Fachdidaktik fokussiert vor allem Aspekte des Einsatzes von Literatur im Englischunterricht, des inter- und transkulturellen Lernens, des bilingualen Unterrichts sowie des mediengestützten Unterrichts. Hier liegt gegenwärtig ein Schwerpunkt auf der Verbindung von Musik und Fremdsprachenunterricht.