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Disorders and Synchronizations - Newspapers, Sunday Supplements, and the Temporalities of Modern Mass Culture, 1890 to 1920

The sub-project of the project "Contingency & Contraction" examines the ways in which mass-addressed print media from the four decades around the turn to the 20th century participated in a practical organization of readers' free time and recreational activities. In particular, the project zooms in on the role of newspapers and considers the interplay of their contents  and characteristic medial aspects (such as publication schedules, page format and layout, practices of serialization) to interrogate how the periodical media of industrial modernity intervened in the everyday lives of consumers. In doing so, the project starts from the assumption that the period's Taylorist reorganization of the factory and the scientific management of work were accompanied by a mass-cultural management of consumers' leisure time that proceeded through the temporal routines of the modern mass media. In the case of periodical print media, this project involved not only the daily rhythm of newspapers and the divergent schedules of other (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) publications, but also formats such as the Sunday supplement, whose colorful and cultured contents symbolically demarcated the free time of the weekend as distinct from the pressures of the workweek. By featuring a regularly recurring mix of contents that ranged from comics to long essays, to practical advice, to entertainment for children, Sunday supplements invited the adoption of ritualized reception practices that produced larger (regional and national) communities of readers. Beyond their productivity for such processes of "collective serialization" (Denson/Sudmann), however, the diverse contents of periodical media like the Sunday supplement  also participated in a modern broadening of consumption choices, diversification of lifestyles, and other modes of cultural and social distinction. In inviting a number of different reading practices--such as quick browsing, deliberative contemplation, or attentive re-reading--the same contents furthermore  established their own distinct temporalities and thereby complicated the synchronization effects of periodical print media.

Engaging with these aspects of mass-cultural synchronization and desynchronization, the sub-project uses the study of  newspaper supplements and their carrier media as a prism through which the larger routines and mechanisms of an emergent culture-industrial constellation of industrial modernity become accessible.


"Superhero Blockbusters: Seriality, Politics of Engagement, and the Spirit of 21st-Century Popular Culture” 


My dissertation examines the wave of superhero blockbuster movies released in the twenty-year period between 1998 and 2018 and inquires how the specific aesthetic practice of this type of film—i.e. their investment in complex modes of serial and transmedial storytelling, their strategic courting of fan audiences and their structurally conservative thematic preoccupations, as well as their presentation of state-of-the-art visual spectacle—becomes productive for the current prominence and popularity of the genre. Centrally, it argues that superhero blockbusters films are emblematic for popular culture in the age of cognitive capitalism. Superhero blockbusters, in other words, are prime examples of a type of commercial popular culture that seeks to engage audiences over longer periods of time, attempts to exploit the ‘free labor’ of culturally productive media fans for promotional gain, and generally encourages public debate about its products. To make this case, the dissertation tracks the evolution of the genre’s storytelling strategies through the decades, examines how online marketing and PR campaigns for films like Logan, Deadpool, and Suicide Squad align themselves with the respective films’ aesthetics, and considers the cinematic populism of superhero blockbusters like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, its sequel Civil War or V for Vendetta. Finally, it suggests that the politics of these films cannot be disconnected from the ways in which they engage their viewers—and that contemporary superhero blockbuster cinema touts the values of “participatory culture” in order to capitalize on the culturally, socially, and textually productive work of other actors.


  • amerikanische Populärkultur der Gegenwart
  • Visual Culture
  • Populäre Serialität Serialität
  • Film- und Fernsehwissenschaften
  • Marxistische Theorie & Kritische Theorie der Frankfurter Schule
  • Medienwissenschaften
  • Verschwörungstheorien


Oktober 2013 - März 2018
Promotionsstipendium, Vollzeit, Graduiertenschule für Nordamerikastudien (GSNAS), Freie Universität Berlin (vorzeitig beendet am 31.12.2017)

September – Oktober 2015
Kurzzeitstipendium, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), Forschungsreise zur Archivrecherche an der Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA


Dezember 2012 - Mai 2013
6-monatiges Stipendium zur Ausarbeitung eines Promotionsexposés, Graduiertenakademie der Leibniz Universität Hannover

Studienbeitragsstipendium, Freundeskreis der Leibniz Universität Hannover

Erasmus-Stipendium für einen Auslandsaufenthalt an der University of the West of England, Bristol, Vereinigtes Königreich

Konferenz- und Workshoporganisation

“Trust Issues: Community, Contingency, and Security in North America.” Konferenz der Graduiertenschule für Nordamerikastudien. Veranstaltet mit Talel Ben Jemia, Mathias Großklaus, Nikolas Kessels, Siofra McSherry, Katharina Metz, Koen Potgieter, Sophie Spieler und Min Kyung Yoo. Keynote-Vorträge von Susan Castillo (King's College London) und Martin Hartmann (Universität Luzern). John F. Kennedy Institut, Freie Universität Berlin. 9.-10. Mai 2014.

"Imagining Media Change.” Internationales Symposium (mit vorbereitenden Filmscreenings und Reading Group Sessions). Organisiert mit Ilka Brasch, Svenja Fehlhaber, Shane Denson, und Florian Groß. Veranstaltung im Rahmen der Initiative für Interdisziplinäre Medienforschung, Leibniz Universität Hannover. Keynote speakers: Jussi Parikka und Wanda Strauven. American Studies, Leibniz Universität Hannover. 13 Juni 2013.

“M: Movies, Machines, Modernity.” Filmreihe, veranstaltet mit Shane Denson und Ilka Brasch. Veranstaltung im Rahmen der Initiative für Interdisziplinäre Medienforschung, Leibniz Universität Hannover. November 2012 - Januar 2013.

Einwöchige Vortragreihe mit Prof. Mark B. N. Hansen (Duke University), organisiert mit Shane Denson. Gefördert durch das Fulbright Senior Specialist Program. Weitere Sponsoren: Gastwissenschaftlerprogramm der Philosophischen Fakultät, American Studies / Englisches Seminar. Veranstaltung im Rahmen der Initiative für Interdisziplinäre Medienforschung. 2. - 6. Juli 2012.

“Chaos Cinema?” Filmreihe, veranstaltet mit Shane Denson und Florian Groß. Veranstaltung im Rahmen der Initiative für Interdisziplinäre Medienforschung, Leibniz Universität Hannover. April-Juli 2012.

Zweitägiger Workshop zum Thema "The Contemporary Novel." Mit Ruth Mayer und Ilka Brasch. Workshop mit den Autoren Wolfram Fleischhauer und Gina Mayer, Hannover, Juli 2010.