Past Events


Workshop: Formal Affects, Violence & Horror, 21 - 22 March


Lecture: 21.03. 6:00pm-8:00pm 

"Object-Oriented Horror: On Rubber, the Chorus and the Torus"

Workshop: 22.03. 10:15am-1:00pm

"Formal Affects, Violence & Horror"

This workshop and guest lecture with Dr. Eugenie Brinkema (MIT) revisits the argument of her 2014 «The Forms of the Affects» in relation to the negative affective mode of horror to claim that horror tarries with violence on the way to expressing nearly nothing about the ethical. Reading the toroidal form of the killer tire in Quentin Dupieux’s 2010 film «Rubber», she argues that the film stages a meta-formal thinking of two competing theories of affect: one bound to the anthropomorphic view of a diegetic chorus and the other attached to the vibrant life of non-correlated objects—only to disqualify both as providing the ground of an ethical critique of violence. She concludes that «Rubber» arrives at a point at which it has nothing to express, but nor is it without ground: that ground is not causal but morphic. Violence is redescribed as being not catastrophic but catamorphic: a generalization of the folds of changing forms. «Rubber» thus attests to the positive limit of the ethical and redefines horror as the terrain on which a critique of violence is rendered good for nothing.

Workshop: Democracy in America, March 28



Prof. Heike Paul will be at the English Department of the University of Zurich for a workshop which discusses the manifold aspects of democrac(ies) in America which Alexis de Tocqueville's seminal Text Democracy in America observes and brings into play.

PhD students have the opportunity to present individual chapters which will be brought into discussion with one another, against the backdrop of the American democratic project.

Workshop: Visual Essays & Digital Storytelling, June 28-29



This doctoral workshop which focuses on visual essays and digital storytelling features a guest lecture by renowned German artist Björn Melhus who will share his work on and as "Dorothy" as well as a hands-on audio-visual sources session designed by Prof. Richard Dienst (Rutgers).


Participants have the opportunity to send in their current audio-visual projects in advance in order to get individual feedback from our two renowned guest lecturers.

Fall 2019: Advanced Research Colloquium for Master and PhD Students

This newly devised colloquium is open to both MA students and PhD candidates about to embark on, or already working on, a thesis. Its aim is to assist you in the writing process. To achieve this goal, participants will be given the opportunity to share not only project descriptions or parts of chapters, but also some of the primary material (literature, film, or other) that they are currently working on. Discussing this material as a group will allow us to exchange ideas and to reflect on (and find ways of tackling) the challenges of writing an academic text. The colloquium will also feature hands-on sessions on submissions for conferences, the writing of abstracts, and matters of style and composition.

Lecturers: Prof. Elisabeth Bronfen, Prof. Ana Sobral

Wednesdays, 6:15pm-8:00pm, PLH-1-102




Workshop: Failure. 23-24 March 2018


Friday, 23rd March, 2018, PLH-E-5
16:15-18:00 (followed by an apéro): “Failure: Academic Pressures and Challenges” Input and Discussion. Ana Sobral

Saturday, 24th March, 2018, PLH-E-5
10:00-16:00 (incl. lunch break): “Failure, Improvisation and Creativity” Input and Activities. Daniela Landert

Evening (optional): Improv-Theater “Die Enthüllung”, Langkult (Langstr. 113a) 20:00

This writing workshop will address the everyday challenges and difficulties of academic research and writing. The topic of 'failure' will be approached from a constructive perspective, foregrounding the opportunities and alternative avenues opened up precisely by moments of writer's block, 'mistakes' or 'wrong ideas' we all face in the long process of writing a dissertation, book or article. Using the framework and techniques borrowed from improvisation theatre, we will explore practical solutions to the fear and the experience of 'failure'. This will therefore be a workshop that fosters openness, creativity and play.

Please sign up for/book this workshop by March 15 as places are limited (

Book Launch: Ida Lupino - die zwei Seiten der Kamera, March 26, 19:00


Buchvernissage: Ida Lupino - die zwei Seiten der Kamera

Ida Lupino, Jahrgang 1918, ist einer der großen Stars des klassischen Hollywood. Nach ihren Anfängen im britischen Kino der 1930er Jahre ist ihr der Sprung nach Amerika gelungen, und dort war sie bis in die 1970er Jahre als Schauspielerin erfolgreich. Doch bis heute ist nur wenigen bekannt, dass sie auch hinter der Kamera ein eigenständiges Werk geschaffen hat. Als unabhängige Regisseurin und Produzentin widmete sie sich furchtlos brisanten Stoffen und begab sich in einen kritischen Dialog mit dem klassischen Hollywood und dem Amerika der 1950er Jahre. Als eine von ganz wenigen Frauen wechselte sie gekonnt zwischen den beiden Seiten der Kamera – stets mit einer großen Sensibilität für die vielschichtigen Möglichkeiten des Mediums und immer mit einem so eigenen wie auch eigenwilligen Blick. Gleichzeitig vollzog Ida Lupino früh und erfolgreich den Schritt vom big screen der Kinos zum small screen des Fernsehens und war in diesem neuen Medium über Dekaden sowohl als Regisseurin wie auch als Schauspielerin äußerst produktiv. Anlässlich ihres 100. Geburtstags ist es nun an der Zeit, Ida Lupinos künstlerisches Schaffen mit neuem Blick zu betrachten, gerade auch weil ihre subtile Gesellschaftskritik überraschend aktuell ist.
Mit Beiträgen von Johannes Binotto, Elisabeth Bronfen, Stella Castelli, Lukas Foerster, Morgane Ghilardi, Fabienne Liptay, Ivo Ritzer, Hannah Schoch, Barbara Straumann und Murièle Weber.

Ab 19:00 im Cabaret Voltaire.

Roundtable mit Elisabeth Bronfen, Johannes Binotto, Fabienne Liptay, Hannah Schoch.

Screening NO 5 CHECKED OUT (1956, 30min) mit EInführung von Ivo Ritzer. Anschliessender Apero & Buchverkauf.

Workshop: Persona Studies, 11 May 2018


Prof Mandy Merck as well as Prof David P Marshall will be in Zurich for a workshop focusing on different notions of persona studies, celebrity cultures and “The Celebrity Persona Pandemic”. This workshop includes further talks by Prof Elisabeth Bronfen and Dr Sandra Mayer.

PhD students are encouraged to make use of this unique opportunity.

Workshop: Hermoine Lee, 31 May - 1 June 2018


British Biographer and master of Life Writing, Dame Hermoine Lee, whose work includes among others biographies of Virginia Woolf, Edith Wharton as well as Willa Cather, will be present for a doctoral workshop on Life Writing. Discussing Life Writing and the art of crafting a biography from the particular standpoint of authorship, this workshop is designed to offer unique insights, in conversation with Dame Hermoine Lee who will respond to questions raised in the ensuing discussions.

Workshop: Genres und medienübergreifende Perspektiven, 14-15 June 2018


Dieser Workshop ist Teil des DFG-Netzwerks “Genres und Media: Perspektiven auf Strukturen, Diskurse und Kulturen medialer Genre-Konzepte” und widmet sich folgenden Forschungsfragen: Wie werden Genres über mediale Plattformen hinaus prozessiert? Welche Performanzen greifen bei transmedialen Adaptionen von Genres? Welche Rolle spielen medienspezifische Differenzen in der Frage nach Genre-Markierungen? Inwiefern kann von der Existenz intermedialer Konstellationen ausgegangen werden, durch die Genres sich invariant positionieren? Mit Vorträgen von Elisabeth Bronfen und Fabienne Liptay und Diskussionsbeiträgen der Netzwerkmitglieder.  

Workshop: Cultural Memory, (P)Remediation and the 'Afterlives' of Literature, 12-13 October 2018


► Evening lecture on “The Afterlives of Odysseus,” Friday, October 12th, 2018: 16:15–18:15 (PLH-1-102)


In her evening lecture, Prof. Erll will give us a glimpse of her ongoing research into Odyssean Travels: A Literary History of Cultural Memory (a project for which she was awarded an opus magnum grant by the Volkswagenstiftung). The lecture will address the multifarious ways in which Homer’s Odyssey has travelled through time and space, and how it reverberates in today’s memory cultures, not least in the current “refugee crisis.” Discussing instances of “Odyssean memory” from the Middle Ages to the present day, Prof. Erll will demonstrate what memory studies can bring to the study of literary history – and vice versa.


► Workshop on “Cultural Memory, (P)Remediation and the ‘Afterlives’ of Literature,” Saturday, October 13th, 2018: 9:30–13:00 (PLH-1-102)


On the morning after the lecture, students and staff from the English Department will have the chance to join an informal round table discussion of three key concepts in the field of cultural memory studies. Originally introduced for the purposes of new media scholarship, the twin concepts of “remediation” and “premediation” have been made more widely applicable by Astrid Erll in her seminal work on the relation between media and cultural memory. Using a recent essay by the author as our starting point, we will explore the potential of these concepts for both Astrid Erll’s and our own current research. Participants are cordially invited to raise questions or comment on theoretical issues or to make statements drawing on their own case studies. In the second half of the workshop, we will move the discussion on to the notion of the “cultural afterlife,” as it has been theorized by Ann Rigney. Again, we will base our discussion on a short theoretical essay.

(organized by Michael C. Frank and Stella Castelli)

Workshop: Feminist Economics and the Study of Literature, 31 October -1 November 2018



Prof Joanna Rostek (Universität Giessen) will be in Zurich and give a guest lecture as well as a workshop addressing & discussing Feminist Economics and the Study of Literature.


  • Guest Lecture, Wednesday October 31st 2018, 14:00 - 15:45, PLH-1-105:

Women’s Right to Paid Work: Priscilla Wakefield’s Reflections on the Present Condition of the Female Sex (1798)


  • Workshop, Thursday November 1st 2018:, 18:15 - 20:00, PLH-1-105:

Feminist Economics and the Study of Literature

Workshop: Female Figures of Finance - Women, Money, Markets, Wednesday 21 November


Prof Joyce Goggin (Amsterdam) will be in Zurich and give a guest lecture as well as a workshop addressing & discussing Female Figures of Finance.


  • Guest Lecture, Wednesday November 21st 2018, 14:00 - 15:45, PLH-1-105:

For the Love of Money: Desire and Economy in The House of Mirth


  • Workshop, Wednesday November 21st 2018:, 18:15 - 20:00, PLH-1-105:

Female Figures of Finance - Women, Money, Markets




An overview of all events scheduled can be found here (PDF, 126 KB).

Workshop: Christopher Ricks, 18 February 2017


Sir Christopher Ricks (University Professor, Boston University; formerly Professor of Poetry at Oxford and King Edward VII Professor of English at Cambridge) will be speaking and leading a discussion/workshop on "Bob Dylan, Milton, and parts of speech." As one of the world's authorities on both Dylan and Milton, Ricks will juxtapose the two, as he has already done in publications.

The workshop will take place at the English Seminar, PLH-1-105, 2pm-4pm.

Workshop: Literature and Violence, 10-11 March 2017


Friday, March 10th 2017, 4-6 pm, PLH-1-102

The workshop will open with the guest lecture “Towards Post-Terrorism: From Orientalism to Divine Violence” by Dr. Pavan Malreddy, dealing with the paradoxical affiliation between ‘terrorism’, counter-terrorism and national liberation struggles both in the pre- and post-9/11 context. This will be followed by a group discussion.

Saturday, March 11th 2017, 10-12 am & 2-4 pm, PLH-1-102

The morning session will consist of a discussion of select theoretical texts on violence (by Slavoj Zizek, Signe Larsen and Achille Mbembe). In the afternoon there will be a session in which students and members of staff can present their work in progress and relate their research to the ideas discussed in the workshop.

Workshop: Texts and Contexts, 5-6 May 2017


This workshop is intended for PhD students interested in exploring the best strategies for writing about their primary texts in relation to the period, culture and nation system they stem from; how this influences the nature of the texts and the formal techniques and literary devices selected by the author(s); and the importance of reading the texts both against their original context as well as against the backdrop of our own culture and time.

Students are welcome to present their work and profit from feedback from Prof. Paulo de Medeiros, who has ample experience supervising PhD theses in the areas of European modernism, postcolonial studies and world literatures at the University of Warwick and the University of Utrecht.

Workshop: Literature, Cinema and Geopolitics, 14-16 May 2017


This workshop with Prof. Anna Stenport (Georgia Institute of Technology), Prof. Scott MacKenzie (Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada), Prof. Philip Steinberg (Durham) and Prof. Klaus Dodds (Royal Holloway University) will explore the intersection of literature, cinema and geopolitics by examining two test cases: the contested spaces of the Arctic, and the political geographies of James Bond.

Workshop: Siri Hustvedt, 21 June 2017


Author Siri Hustvedt will be present for a doctoral workshop on Life Writing. Discussing Life Writing from the particular standpoint of authorship, this workshop is designed to offer unique insights, in conversation with Siri Hustvedt who, in addition to discussing her latest work, The Blazing World, will respond to questions raised in the ensuing discussions. Students are encouraged to profit from this unique opportunity.

This event is limited to 30 participants, please RSVP.

International Symposium: Over Her Dead Body Redux, 20-21 October 2017


25 years after the publication of Elisabeth Bronfen’s influential book Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity and the Aesthetic, we want to revisit the theoretical creativity and potential of 1990s feminism and gender studies. A quarter of a century later, and in the face of 21st-century turmoil, backlashes and protests, how can we reevaluate our feminist positions, what aspects need to be upheld, what concepts need to be reassessed? For this timely conversation, we have invited an illustrious, international group of intellectuals: Judith Butler, Mandy Merck, Barbara Vinken, Elisabeth Bronfen and others will discuss questions concerning the relationship between feminism, aesthetics, representation, and language; the shifts and changes – for better or for worse – that have occurred between the 1990s and today; as well as potential visions for the future.

Workshop: Visual Essays, 3-4 November 2017


What do we mean when we speak of visual essays? How can we develop academic arguments by using multi-medial material? This autumn Professor Richard Dienst (Rutgers) will return to the English Seminar to explore a wide spectrum of possibilities. The aim of this workshop, which will also include hands-on exercises, is to discuss the visual essay as a form of creative research and examine its pedagogical potential. One of the claims is that the visual essay can be seen as a promising – and, in fact, necessary – new direction in English Literature as a discipline which teaches students how to read and how to see.

Workshop: American Domesticity, 24-25 November 2017


Prof. Heike Paul (FAU), Prof. Katja Kanzler (Dresden) and Dr. Katharina Gerund (FAU) will be present for a workshop focusing on domesticity in the American context. The workshop will explore different notions of the domestic in the American cultural framework. Doctoral students are encouraged to profit from this unique opportunity.

Workshop: Celebrity Culture, December 1-2 2017


Prof Mary Luckhurst (Melbourne) as well as Prof Patricia Duncker (Manchester) will be in Zurich for a workshop focusing on different notions of celebrity culture. This workshop includes further talks by Prof Elisabeth Bronfen and Dr Sandra Mayer.

PhD students are encouraged to make use of this opportunity.


An overview of all events held in 2016 can be found here (PDF, 727 KB).

Shakespeare Lecture Series


This year marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death (1564-1616). With this series of lectures we want to explore the bard’s lasting significance and his relevance today. The individual lectures will be delivered by members of the English Department and specially invited guests (Ulrich Busse, Andreas Höfele, Catherine Belsey, Beatrix Busse, Richard Wilson). They will all provide an insight into their own and very specific research angle into the work of William Shakespeare, covering a broad range of approaches both from literary and linguistic perspectives.

Flyer_Shakespeare_Lecture_Series (PDF, 354 KB)

Workshop: Franco Moretti - The Bourgeois, 8 March 2016


In this workshop, Franco Moretti (Stanford) will discuss his new book The Bourgeois. Participants are asked to have read The Bourgeois and are encouraged to ask pending questions. Organized in collaboration with Zentrum Geschichte des Wissens.

Flyer_Moretti_Bourgeois (PDF, 115 KB)

Lecture & Workshop: Catherine Belsey, 17-19 March 2016


Catherine Belsey (Swansea University) will give a lecture on “Hamlet’s Beard: Shakespeare and the History of Gender” within the framework of the Shakespeare lecture series as well as hold a workshop focusing on "Ghost Stories".

Flyer_Catherine_Belsey (PDF, 452 KB)

Lecture & Workshop: Elizabeth DeLoughrey, 10 - 12 March


Taking the oceanic imaginary as a starting point, this workshop with Elizabeth DeLoughrey (UCLA) will explore the links between literature, the physical environment and pressing global concerns like migration and transnational exchange.

Flyer_Elizabeth_DeLoughrey (PDF, 962 KB)

Guest Professor Laura Marcus, 3-24 April


Laura Marcus (Oxford) will teach Professor Heusser’s class during his sabbatical. In addition to this, doctoral students will have the unique opportunity to sign up for office hours with her.

We will have a welcoming Apero on April 4th, which you are cordially invited to attend.

Lecture & Workshop: Mary Poovey, 27-28 May


Mary Poovey (NYU) will hold a lecture - Some Lessons of History: Why Economists Failed to Anticipate the Great Recession - as well as a workshop - Application of Economic Models of Reading of Literature. Doctoral students are encouraged to participate.

Flyer_Mary_Poovey (PDF, 186 KB)

Workshop: Ida Lupino, 3-5 June


In this workshop, participants will do a close reading of the films directed Ida Lupino. Prominent scholars Ivo Ritzer (Bayreuth) and Norbert Grob (Mainz) and Elisabeth Bronfen (Zurich) will give talks on the topic at hand and respond to issues raised in the ensuing discussions.

Flyer_Ida_Lupino (PDF, 744 KB)

Conference: What is an Image in Medieval and Early Modern England? 9-11 September

MedImage MedImage

This is the 5th Biennial Conference of the Swiss Association Medieval and Early Modern English Studies. It seeks to probe the function and status of images – visual as well as textual –in the two periods, and to put pressure on the commonplace that images were problematized as a consequence of the iconoclastic Reformation. Confirmed key-note speakers include Brian Cummings (York), Andrew Morrall (Bard Graduate Center, NY), Alexandra Walsham (Cambridge), and Nicolette Zeeman (Cambridge).

For more information go to conference website:


Workshop: Shoshana Felman & Eyal Peretz, 12 & 14 October


Shoshana Felman (Emory) will be present for two workshops in October. The first talk will discuss psychoanalysis and gender studies today with special regard to her conversation with Barbara Johnson. Both Felman and Johnson are key figures in bridging deconstruction and gender theory and have largely shaped our understanding of psychoanalysis in connection with literature having borne and placed special attention on rigorous psychoanalytic readings of texts. Felman, a long-time friend of Barbara Johnson and editor of The Barbara Johnson Reader, will center her first talk on on Barbara Johnson's A Life with Mary Shelley with a particular focus on "Afterword" as well as an excerpt from The Barbara Johnson Reader - "Barbara's Signature". This event will take place on October 12th. There will be an additional lecture by Shoshana Felman on October 14th focusing on censorship and Oscar Wilde - "Writers on Trial:  The Case of Oscar Wilde” - alongside a complementary talk by Eyal Peretz (Indiana) on "On the Origin of Film and the Resurrection of the People: D.W. Griffith's Intolerance". Doctoral students are encouraged to profit from this unique opportunity.

Flyer_Felman_Peretz (PDF, 145 KB)


Workshop: "Debt", Richard Dienst & Mladen Dolar, 4-5 November


This workshop will examine issues of debt from different theoretical perspectives. Prominent scholars including Richard Dienst (Rutgers) and Mladen Dolar (Ljubljana) and will give talks and respond to questions raised in the ensuing discussions.


Conference: Shifting Grounds - Literature, Culture and Spatial Phenomenologies, 25-27 Nov


This international conference responds to the recent return of phenomenological perspectives in literary and cultural criticism, and in the field of spatiality in particular. It aims to probe how a focus on sensory impressions and "the perspective of experience" (Tuan) can enhance our understanding of literary and cultural spaces. More


Conference “Images of Identity”: Doctoral Workshop with Chris Morash (Dublin) and Kath Woodward (Milton Keynes), January 30-31, 2015


This two-day symposium aims to explore the constitution of personal, national and cultural identities at the intersection of the verbal and the visual. It will focus on the multiple relations between identities, words and images, addressing issues such as visual culture, transmediality, iconicity, and the materialities of words and images. The keynote speakers are Chris Morash (Dublin) and Kath Woodward (Milton Keynes).

“U.S. Image Culture and Continental Philosophy”: Block Seminar with Ivo Ritzer (Bayreuth), February 20-21 and February 27-28, 2015


This seminar examines the mutual influence and constant exchange between European/Continental Philosophy and American cinema. It looks at the European analyses of, as well as responses to, movies from various genres, and in its discussion draws on the work of Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Rancière, Slavoj Žižek and Alain Badiou.

Research Colloquium, 4 May 2015, 17:30


Doctoral students in English Literature will have the opportunity to introduce themselves and to give an update on their research projects at this colloquium. In addition, future workshops and projects will be discussed. The colloquium is taking place in PET-4 (Plattenstr. 47, Zurich)

Flyer: Research Colloquium (PDF, 79 KB)

“The Wire, Seriality, Media and Global Politics”: Workshop on Television and Seriality, May 15-17, 2015


This workshop will discuss the portrayal of the African American urban underclass in the television series The Wire. It will identify analogies between the show and Bombay cinema, and investigate the limits of such a cultural cross-mapping.

Flyer: The Wire, Seriality, Media and Global Politics (PDF, 9916 KB)

Guest Lecture and Individual Meetings with Doctoral Students: Sue Vice (Sheffield), May 18, 2015, 17:30


Sue Vice will give a talk about the Holocaust as it has been represented in recent British fiction−as a conflict between the different myths of winning the war and failing to prevent genocide. The lecture is taking place in PLH-1-102 (Plattenstr.47, Zurich)
Prof. Vice will also be meeting doctoral students working in the field of memory and trauma on an individual basis.

Poster: Sue Vice (PDF, 780 KB)


“All is Fair in Love and War”: Workshop on Troilus and Cressida, May 28-30, 2015


In this workshop, participants will do a close reading of Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida. Prominent scholars will give talks on the play and respond to issues raised in the ensuing discussions.

Flyer: All Is Fair in Love and War (PDF, 1471 KB)

Advanced Research Colloquium, Mailly, October 15-18, 2015


Doctoral students and literature professors will meet for three and a half days at the Château de Mailly (France) to present their research projects, discuss primary and theoretical texts, and talk about future projects. The colloquium will also be open to a restricted number of advanced MA students who are interested in doing a PhD in English literature in Zurich.

ARC Mailly Programme 2015 (PDF, 1279 KB)

"Archaeologies of Indebtedness": Workshop on Debt and Indebtedness with Richard Dienst (Rutgers), November 06-07, 2015


As a result of the current financial crisis, issues of debt have gained renewed urgency in critical thought. This workshop explores the social, political and moral bonds created by debt in examples drawn from literature and the media.

Flyer: Debt Workshop (PDF, 230 KB)

Conference on Cold War Cultures, December 10-12, 2015


This conference will focus on Cold War cultures, war and media, and on representations of history on the screen. Speakers include Robert Burgoyne (St Andrews), Alan Nadel (Kentucky), Holger Pötzsch (Norway), and Elisabeth Bronfen (Zurich).

Flyer_Cold_War_Cultures (PDF, 447 KB)


British Culture and Eccentricity

Doctoral Workshop with Hanspeter Künzler, January 17-18, 2014

The pre-eminence of British artists in pop music history is in no small part due to the fact that British society has always cherished and respected eccentric views and habits. This workshop will examine the role of eccentricity in the shaping of British attitudes - especially gender attitudes - throughout the ages. Amongst many others, we will analyse the connections between Victorian gentlemen and Vivian Stanshall (aka Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band); Edith Sitwell and Quentin Crisp; William Blake and Mick Jagger; Thomas de Quincey and Anna Kavan. The list is endless...

The Cinema of Raoul Walsh: Doctoral Workshop with Tom Conley (Harvard), February 14-15, 2014

In this two-day workshop, Tom Conley will present material from his planned book on the cinema of Raoul Walsh. A special focus will be laid on the ways Walsh's films negotiate and map war, trauma and the night through the genres of film noir, the war film and the western.

Doctoral Workshop on Seriality, April 11-12, 2014

In this interdisciplinary workshop, scholars working in American and German studies will discuss questions of seriality by examining recent American television series in relation to the German Tatort. The workshop will be taught by Christiane Frey (New York), Rembert Hueser (Minnepolis) and David Martyn (St. Paul)

Utopias, Travels and Insularity: Doctoral Workshop with Jean-Michel Racault (La Réunion), May 8-10, 2014

Jean-Michel Racault is Prof. emeritus at the University of La Réunion. He will teach a three-day bilingual workshop on utopias, travels and insularity in European literatures of the classical age. The workshop is co-hosted by the English and the French Departments.

Narratography Across Media: Doctoral Workshop with Garrett Stewart (Iowa), May 30-31, 2014

Garrett Stewart is Professor of English Literature at the University of Iowa. He will teach a two-day workshop combining discussions of mycrostilistics and the philosophy of language with an attention to the thematics and optics of surveillance. Texts to be discussed will range from the novels of Charles Dickens to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

2nd Workshop in Literary Research: Critical Practice (Summer School), June 16-18, 2014

This second summer school addresses doctoral candidates in literary studies from the university of Zurich and other Swiss universities. Please send your application and a one-page abstract including a short biographical note to by 28 February.

Discursive Possession of Western Literature by African Thought: Doctoral Workshop with Wendy Belcher (Princeton), September 26-27, 2014

This workshop will examine the African influences on Western literature. The focus will be on the African contexts of the works of Samuel Johnson (such as Rasselas), but the workshop will also address issues such as the African influence in the works of Herman Melville, writers from the American South and Romanticism.

Opening Event Doctoral Program, October 1, 2014

Join us for information about the doctoral program, current projects and upcoming events. All currently enrolled PhD students and interested Liz/MA students are cordially invited.An apéro will be offered.

Workshop on Practical Matters with Allen Reddick, Barbara Straumann and Christina Ljungberg, October 21, 2014

In this three-hour evening workshop, doctoral candidates will receive valuable information and inputs on issues like publishing, conference papers and abstract writing. The workshop will be co-taught by Allen Reddick, Barbara Straumann and Christina Ljungberg. Time: 6-9 pm. Place: English Department, Plattenstr. 47, PLH-102.

Comedy, Mimesis and Avarice: Doctoral Workshop with Mladen Dolar (Ljubljana), November 7-8, 2014

Mladen Dolar is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana. He will present material from his current research projects, combining reflections on comedy, mimesis, materiality and avarice. The workshop will bring together figures of misers in authors such as Plautus and Dickens and the libidinal economy of capitalism.

Doctoral Workshop on Life Writing, December 5-6, 2014

Recent years have seen an engagement with life writing reminiscent of the modernist period. This workshop will be on life writing and modernism, and on the way in which present-day auto/biography’s experimentation with form and fiction harks back to that of modernism. The workshop will be taught by Prof. Laura Marcus (Oxford), Prof. Lisbeth Larsson (Gothenburg) and Dr. David James (London).


Travelling Narratives: Modernity and the Spatial Imaginary

International Symposium, November 29 - December 1, 2013

Cultures have always been in contact with as well as imagined spaces other than their own. Ever since the age of discovery, however, the relations, links and ruptures between different spaces have played an increasingly significant role in the cultural imaginary, taking on new urgency in today’s world of ever increasing mobility and global networks.
This three-day symposium hosted by the English Department at the University of Zurich will focus on spaces in relation, addressing the importance of issues such as borders and crossings, utopia, travel and exile in the sphere of cultural production. It aims to explore ways in which spaces are represented and textually produced, as well as how boundaries between different spaces are traversed.
The conference is primarily aimed at scholars working in the field of literary and cultural studies. However, as we believe issues of spatiality can be fruitfully examined in an interdisciplinary framework we invite contributions from different segments of the academic community.

Theorising The Wire: Crime, Culture, Seriality

Doctoral Workshop with Prof. Griselda Pollock (Leeds), Prof. Elisabeth Paefgen (Berlin) and Daniel Eschkötter (Weimar), November 1-2, 2013

The groundbreaking US-American television drama series The Wire (2002-2008) has received wide critical attention. This workshop will invite scholars from Germany and England who will discuss The Wire and the role of contemporary television series as both a new art form and a continuation of the seriality of 19th century moral imagination and the multiperspectival narratives of 20th century modernism.

Advanced Resesarch Colloquium in Mailly (F)

October 18-20, 2013

Doctoral students and literature professors will meet for two and a half days at the Château de Mailly (F) to present their research projects, discuss primary and theoretical texts, and talk about future projects. The colloquium will also be open to a restricted number of advanced MA students who are interested in doing a PhD in English literature in Zurich.


Doctoral Workshop with Prof. Mandy Merck (London) and Prof. Susanne Scholz (Frankfurt), June 7-8, 2013

Point of departure for this workshop on queenship is a discussion of the cultural survival of Elizabeth I, in regard particularly to her portraits and self-­‐‑performances. At issue is what Mieke Bal has called doing history preposterously, which is to say looking at a set of representations through the lens of their subsequent recyclings. This touches on the manner in which Shakespeare’s plays obliquely represent his sovereign as well as the literary and cinematic texts that have revisited and reconceived her, splicing together historical re-­‐‑imagination with contemporary concerns. In this two-­‐‑day workshop, a set of prominent scholars will present papers on the issue of queenship so as to open up discussions on what is at stake in the gendering of sovereignty. While not limited to England’s Virgin Queen, the cases presented will help us seek out both historical specificity as well as explore the interface between political power and mediality.

Television As an Art Form: A Private Journey

Doctoral Workshop with filmmaker Hagai Levi (Tel Aviv), May 24-25, 2013

Hagai Levi is a well-known Israeli film and television director who is best known for his television drama Be Tipul, for which he won an Israeli Film Academy Award as Best Director. Hagai Levi’s workshop will revolve around the thesis that television series are the art form of the 21st century. During the workshop, he will also present material from his new series.

Doctoral Workshop with Prof. Heike Paul (Erlangen-Nürnberg), April 18-19, 2013

This workshop will address the foundational mythology of the US as an imagined community. We will briefly review the history of American studies as a discipline and its peculiar investment in a particular set of ‘myths and symbols’ as defining ‘America’ and explaining (and legitimizing) ‘American exceptionalism’. These core myths/symbols have been emplotted in narratives, visualized and memorialized in iconic ways, and engrained in civil religious cultural practices and rituals. On the basis of a discursive rather than normative definition of myth, we will explore the relationship between myth, public memory, history, and ideology. The power of myths derives from a seemingly paradoxical structure that involves both, longevity and change, continuity and variation. Its tacit dimension is part of its power to perform and to do its cultural work, so to speak. Whereas my talk on the previous evening focuses on the founding fathers (and their recent comeback), the seminar will be addressing another case study: the American West, the agrarian myth, and the role of the frontier in a (trans)national imaginary by discussing a range of materials ranging from Frederick Jackson Turner’s frontier-thesis to the recent TVseries Deadwood.

Mark Strand

Poetry Reading and Guest Lecture, March 21, 2013


Return of the Body: Körperlichkeit, Film und Neue Medien

Guest lecture with Dr. Ivo Ritzer (Mainz), December 6, 2012

Radical Hope

Doctoral Workshop with Prof. Jonathan Lear, November 8, 2012

The Ethics and Politics of Reviewing, or Reviewing Is Dead—Should We Care?

Doctoral Workshop with Prof. Linda Hutcheon, May 10–12, 2012

In our electronic age, in which everyone and anyone can become a reviewer online, we’ve witnessed a democratic urge to dethrone “taste orthodoxies” by seemingly eliminating the need or desire for professional or expert reviewers. This course will examine the consequences—ethical, economic and political—of this move for the institution of reviewing and its cultural functions.

Collection, Recollection, and Romantic Reading

Doctoral Workshop with Prof. Deidre Lynch, April 19–20, 2012

Early nineteenth-century literary culture in Britain depended to a remarkable extent on practices of excerpting, clipping, and pasting, and redrafting, recontextualizing, and recycling: practices that would now seem alien to literate individuals’ standard definitions of the act of reading, except that recently our interactions with the reading materials of the Internet have made them newly familiar.  This workshop will consider some of the cultural frictions engendered by these practices.  It will consider anthologies, past and present (including custom-made poetry scrapbooks from the early nineteenth century); anxieties aroused by the practices of extracting on which anthologizing depends (is the practice an act of devotion or fidelity, or does the anthologist make something new in the act of detaching verse from its originary context?); the Romantic lyric poem as souvenir, collectible, and token of remembrance; the birth of the genre of the biblio-autobiography (shaped by book-memories and only infrequently by text-memories).

March 12-13: Workshop with Prof. Robert Pippin (Chicago)

Robert Pippin is Evelyn Stefansson Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought, the Department of Philosophy, and the College at the University of Chicago. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche, as well as on film and modern visual arts. In this workshop he will lecture on Hegel and the Philosophy of Visual Modernism as well as on Skepticism in Nicholas Ray's In a Lonely Place. The latter talk is complemented with a seminar discussion on Robert Pippin's forthcoming book on Philosophy and Film Noir, which gives participants the opportunity to engage in a discussion with this eminent philosopher and critic.


Lecture Series 2011

The series incorporates lectures organized by the “English and American Literary Studies” program and the peer-mentoring program “Genius for Hire”.

September 27: Dame Gillian Beer (Cambridge): "The Backbone Shiver": Darwin and the Arts
18:30, Room PLH 102
English Department, Plattenstr. 47, 8032 Zürich

October 28: Felicity Nussbaum (UCLA): Oriental Drama and Tragic Muse Mary Anne Yates.
Organized by the peer-mentoring program “Genius for Hire”. 
For more information visit

November 21: Christina Wald (Augsburg): Communion and Cannibalism in Thomas Lodge's A Margarite of America (1596)
18:30, Room PLH 102
English Department, Plattenstr. 47, 8032 Zürich

December 5: Bernd Herzogenrath (Frankfurt): Matter and Memory: Bill Morrison's Decasia
18:30, Room PLH 102
English Department, Plattenstr. 47, 8032 Zürich

December 12: Alan Richardson (Boston College)
Organized by the peer-mentoring program “Genius for Hire”. 
For more information visit

December 19: Anne Whitehead (Newcastle) Prosopagnosia, or the Problem of Reading Faces: Refiguring Empathy in Ian McEwan's Saturday
18:30, Room PLH 102
English Department, Plattenstr. 47, 8032 Zürich

October 22-23: Workshop with David McKitterick (Cambridge)

What is the future of the book? (And what about its past?)

Professor David McKitterick (Cambridge), the prolific author of classic, groundbreaking studies of the book such as "Print, Manuscript and the Search for Order, 1450-1830" and editor of the multi-volume "Cambridge History of the Book in Britain" will give a workshop on "Exploring Some Current Bibliographical Issues" on October 22-23 at the English Department. This is a unique opportunity for discussion with the perhaps premier student of the creation, distribution, collection and importance of books across history in the English-speaking world. The workshop is open to everyone interested.

Preparatory texts and complete syllabus will are made available on OLAT.

Search for "David McKitterick“ or use the following link:

September 24-25: Workshop with Mladen Dolar on Literature and Modernity

Mladen Dolar, eminent cultural theorist, philosopher and expert in psychoanalytical theory is Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Among many essays and articles he is the author of a number of books, including (with Slavoj Zizek) Opera’s Second Death and more recently the highly discussed A Voice and Nothing More – a radically new, philosophically grounded theory of the voice as the lever of thought, as well as one of the paramount embodiments of the psychoanalytic object.

In his workshop at the English Department Dr. Dolar will take a look at modern literature’s paradoxical task of putting experiences into words which escape language. Through a combination of theoretical approach and close readings of texts by Kafka and Beckett we will disentangle how the modern experience of negativity, of the lack and the absurd is conveyed through modern literature.

September 5: Prof. Dr. Jeffrey N. Cox (University of Colorado, Boulder)

Organized by the peer-mentoring program “Genius for Hire”.
For more information visit the “Genius for Hire”-Homepage

July 20: J. Hillis Miller at the English Department

Under the title "Should We Read Literature Now, and, If So, How? : Text; Action; Space; Emotion in Conrad's Nostromo", one of the world’s most prominent literary critics, Professor J. Hillis Miller from the University of California, Irvine will be giving a lecture at the English Department on Wednesday, July 20, at 15:00 in room PLH 102.

The Violence of Aesthetics — the Aesthetics of Violence

Doctoral Workshop, June 17-19, 2011

Joint doctoral workshop (University of Zürich-CUSO) organized by Profs. Elisabeth Bronfen (UZH) and Margaret Tudeau-Clayton (UNINE). English Seminar, Plattenstrasse 47. 
This workshop offers the unique opportunity to hear, meet and discuss with distinguished scholars (John Drakakis, Andreas Höfele, Garret Stewart and Bran Nicol).