MA Stella Castelli


Biographical Note

Stella Castelli holds a BA in English Literature and Linguistics and Theory and History of Photography as well as an MA in English Literature and Linguistics from the University of Zurich. Currently she is the coordinator of the English Department's Doctoral Program in English and American Literary Studies. She wrote her MA thesis on Aestheticized Representations of Death in American Literature and Film exploring repressions of death and their symptomatic reappearance in contemporary American culture. She is currently affiliated with the University of Zurich where she is working on her doctoral dissertation Death is Served: American Recipes for Murder – A Serial Compulsion furthering her research within this field with a specific interest in the serial depiction of death. Among articles she has published are texts focusing on the ambiguous figure of the clown, the representation of the female body in The Stepford Wives and Her, an exploration of the metatextuality in the television series Supernatural, an examination of the horror-comedy Psycho Beach Party as well as Foucauldian reading of Ida Lupino’s film noir Hitchhiker.


PhD Project: Death is Served: American Recipes for Murder – A Serial Compulsion

Within the American cultural imaginary we find numerous different versions of death, the dying and the corpse in decay represented throughout the history of the New World. These representations are sometimes part of the supernatural realm, sometimes gruesome, sometimes subject to a deadly agency and other times utterly grotesque, but always aestheticized. This constant aestheticization may be seen as a symptom of American exceptionalism – a concept which elevates the individual to a state of the extraordinary and, by extension dismisses not only the individual’s eventual demise in the form of traumatic repression but further repudiates death in its universality. As a result, relentless renegotiations of death are assumed in the form of performative repetition bearing a spark of false hope, a delusion of a possible means of compromise, the illusion of immortality. Within the history of the American culture these manifold representations have manifested themselves in a number of different forms, which is what I wish to explore further. 

Research Interests

Her research interests include American cultural studies, seriality and the serial, film, in particular cinematic renditions of horror, terror, fear and death, literary und cultural theory in particular Benjamin, Freud, Foucault, Blanchot and Kristeva.


BA Seminars

  • FS 2017 Disturbia
  • HS 2017 - FS 2018 Textual Analysis
  • FS 2018 The Murderous Feminine
  • HS 2018 - FS 2019 Textual Analysis
  • FS 2019 Ethics of Revenge: Vengeful Desires & Tarantinian Morals
  • HS 2019 - FS 2020 Textual Analysis
  • FS 2020 Recipes for Murder: The Text's Carnal Desire for Life and Death