Literary Critic, PhD Student


University of Luxemburg

Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education
Route de Diekirch
L-7220 Walferdange
Research Unit: IPSE
Office: Campus Walferdange, Bât. III, 0.09
E-Mail: johanna.gelberg[at]

Johanna Maria Gelberg



Since 09/2012

PhD Student at University of Luxemburg; Stipendary of the FNR, AFR-PhD Grant


Research Assistant and Assistant Lecturer at the Research Unit „inStudies“ at Ruhr-University Bochum


Research Assistant at the department for “Neugermanistik II, Ästhetik und literarische Medien” at Ruhr-University Bochum, Assistant Lecturer at Ruhr-University Bochum


Studies of German language and literatury studies, English Studies at Ruhr-University Bochum. Degrees: B.A.(2006) und M.A. (2010)

Publications and Lectures

26.-28. September 2011 Participation in the international Symposium „Pseudoübersetzungen: Imaginationen anderssprachiger Originale“ at University Innsbruck; Lecture held: „Arno Schmidts Gelehrtenrepublik. Fiktive Übersetzung und reale Abrechnung“

07. February 2011 Lecture at the Research Colloquiua of the Ruhr-University Research School, Title: „Thematik und Poetik der Grenze in der deutschen Literatur seit 1945“

22.-23. October 2010 Participation in Workshop „Laboratorium Mensch“ held by the Research Training Group of the FSU Jena; Lecture held: „Arno Schmidts Berechnungen. Gehirnvorgänge und Bewusstseinstatsachen in der Literatur“

Doctoral Thesis

The PhD project focuses on borders as aesthetic figurations of political structures and arrangements. The broad political impact of borders is without doubt: The particular inner German border, especially the Berlin Wall, was the demarcation fo two German states – and clearly drew the frontline of the Cold War.

Still, there is something beyond the line: as international borders research reveals, borders tend to be Janus-faced. The epistemic complexity – and cultural fascination – of borders lies in their twofold potential to separate as well as to unite. Complexity and fascination are artistically transformed into literature. The interdependency of the aesthetic and the political sphere is to be analyzed in border literature.

European border literature and especially the German literature of the time of separation will be focused on. Of special interest are questions on the political and poetic potential of borders. How does the border as literary motif relate to political and social questions of separation and unification? How are difference and neighborhood created? The research on these aspects is integrated into the ATTRACT-project “Ästhetische Figurationen des Politischen” at the University of Luxemburg, that decidedly investigates the cultural interrelation between political and aesthetic contexts.

The interdependence of the political and the aesthetic sphere of cultural discourses can ideally be investigated by a close look at borders. Any act of drawing a geographical line is the constitution of a political entity. And drawing this line also means a challenge in cultural terms: cultural identity is questioned – and defin