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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | bologna.lab | Projects | Berlin Perspectives | Courses | Summer Semester 2015 | Popliteratur. Autorschaft – Textverfahren – Institutionen

Popliteratur. Autorschaft – Textverfahren – Institutionen

Taught by Katharina Kreuzpaintner

Wednesday, 10:00 - 12:00, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7, Room 0323-26

Course taught in English and German

Language requirements: English B2, German B1


Course Description

The seminar will focus on German Pop Literature. Since the 1990s this phenomenon gained more
and more interest in newspapers and journals and eventually also in academic debates. In these
years, some of the most influential texts counted as Pop Literature were written (e.g. by Christian
Kracht, Rainald Goetz, Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre). Yet the first debates about German Pop
Literature (which was highly influenced by US-American Beat Literature from the 1950s and
1960s) began much earlier. An important starting point was Leslie Fiedler’s essay Cross the border
– close the gap! (1969) which criticized the dominance of bourgeois high culture and promoted to
focus on popular culture instead. In order to catch up with the debates about postmodernity and
popular culture, the seminar will begin with the discussion of Fiedler’s essay. In a second step, it
will provide an overview of the historical development of German Pop Literature. Since texts
labeled ’Pop Literature’ seem highly heterogeneous (at least at first sight) common themes and
concepts will be discussed in order to find out how this kind of literature works and what it actually
deals with.
According to Eckhard Schumacher, Pop Literature can be understood as ‘Writing of
Contemporaneity.‘ What this exactly means will be discussed considering different ‘pop‘-writing
techniques and practices (Cutting, Archive of Contemporaneity, Descriptions of events or of
neoliberal transformations of capitalism), which stand very much in the tradition of the avant-garde.
As contemporaneity is also always shaped by certain topographies places that are important for Pop
Literature in the 1990s (West Germany, Berlin) will be discussed.
Although Pop Literature tries to distance itself from former literary concepts, its actual relation to
literary traditions is highly ambivalent. Thus, the figure of the male author is not disbanded but –
also due to requirements of the literary market – rather strengthened. Considering this, the seminar
will show, on the one hand, how pop-authors position themselves in public. On the other hand, texts
will be discussed that question traditional gender relations and/or develop strategies to undermine


  • Hecken, Thomas: Pop. Geschichte eines Konzepts 1955-2009, Bielefeld 2009. 
  • Hermand, Jost: Pop international. Eine kritische Analyse, Frankfurt a. M, 1971. 
  • Stahl, Enno: Diskurspogo. Über Literatur und Gesellschaft, Berlin 2013, 123-186.