Alternative Lives in Experimental Narratives

Research Axes:

1. The Boundaries of Being 
Investigates cultural portrayals of spatio-temporal other worlds, utopias, catastrophes, and the manipulation and distortion of reality. 

2. Fantastic Body Transformations 
Investigates the shifting visions of the infinitely enhanceable body up to that of the homo uniformis, with particular relevance to sociological, anthropological and medical questions regarding both the potential and actual practices of body transformations (cosmetics, fashion, anti-ageing procedures, organ transplants, plastic surgery, biotechnology). 

3. Theory of the Fantastic 
Investigates fantastic genres in various forms of media in a historical context: both the functions and effects of the fantastic, genre shifts and the interaction of fantastic and non-fantastic features. 

4. Fantastic Literature as a Means of Communication 
Investigates the ways in which the unknown and non-existent are conveyed, and the forms and effects of communication in individual genres. E.g. the fantastic as a valve for taboos: what are the strategies employed by science fiction in creating warning scenarios in terms of genetic engineering? Or, alternatively, how does propaganda feature? How is the horror in Gothic novels generated? How are hallucinations and madness conveyed? – How do these interlink with patterns of communication in non-literary contexts? 

5. The Fantastic and Society 
Investigates the relationship between fantastic phenomena and strategies on the one hand, and between historic and sociological developments on the other. E.g. war and the fantastic, identities and communities, histories and futures, communicative strategies and media conveyance, and uses of the fantastic in cultural infrastructures such as museums and museum-type venues.