ZIS-Funded "The Postfeminist Culture Industry" Workshop

The Postfeminist Culture Industry: Cross-cultural Visibility, Global Markets and Political Currents

22nd – 23rd September 2022, Online / FTSK, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Campus Germersheim


This two-day workshop wants to make an intervention into the field of postfeminist studies. Its main aim is to consider fresh ways to examine how a postfeminist agenda corresponded with and shaped the global marketplace, and also how postfeminism has become a commodity in itself that is both mainstream and counterpoint.

Interested parties are welcome to join us for our online opening session,

The Women's Lit  Research & Teaching  Roundtable, Thursday 22nd September 2022, 17:30 - 18:45 on Big Blue Button (Please note that this session will be recorded!)

in which we will try to map out current minor landscapes and possible future directions for women's literature through sharing from our recent research and teaching.

The session will spend approximately 40-45 minutes on roundtable presentations & questions and another 30 minutes on open discussion.


The workshop builds on the successful cooperation of five international scholars addressing the position of chick lit on the global market. Initiated and coordinated in 2020 by Sandra Folie (University of Vienna; soon: Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena) and Angela Kölling (FTSK, University of Mainz), the group successfully presented their research in form of a panel, ‘Chick lit(s) as world literature(s) – minor reputation and major circulation, transitions and transformations’, at the WORLD LITERATURE AND THE MINOR: FIGURATION, CIRCULATION, TRANSLATION, UNIVERISTY OF LEUVEN, 6 – 7 MAY 2021 [https://www.arts.kuleuven.be/world-literature-and-the-minor-figuration-circulation-translation/world-literature-and-the-minor-figuration-circulation-translation].

Amy Burge is a Senior Lecturer / Associate Professor in Popular Fiction in the Department of English Literature at the University of Birmingham. Her work focuses on popular genres, in particular romance, with a focus on intersectional readings and approaches. She is currently working on three related projects. The first is an AHRC-funded Research Network on Muslim Women’s Popular Fiction (2021-2023) which focuses on writing by women deemed 'popular' rather than 'literary', the initiative engages with under-studied popular and genre texts (including romance, chick lit, comics, graphic novels, detective fiction, Young Adult, fantasy, autobiography, memoir, and science fiction) from a range of established critical disciplinary perspectives and across languages. The second project, partly funded by the Gobierno de España and University of the Balearic Islands, explores the connections between migration, intimacy, and popular fiction (2022-24). The final project, ‘British popular romance in the UK and the Commonwealth’ (2022-2027) seeks to change the way that readers, publishers, and academics think about the history of popular romance in the UK, Australia and New Zealand and to build capacity and support the development of popular romance scholars in the future.


Sandra Folie is a prospective post-doc researcher at the Department of German Literary Studies at the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena. From October 2023, she will be teaching there and working on her second book (Habilitation) on literary blackfacing and critical whiteness in German literature. Previously, she was an assistant professor (Universitätsassistentin) at the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Vienna (2019-2022). Her research and teaching interests encompass gender and feminist theory, postcolonial theory, critical race studies, critical whiteness studies, women’s writing, world literatures, and Wikipedia. She is currently involved in the following projects:

  • a research project on literary blackfacing and critical whiteness in German literature. On a theoretical level, I am interested in the connection between critical whiteness studies and imagology/image studies (a subfield of comp lit that deals with cultural/national stereotypes and images in texts). A first article entitled “Between Literary Blackface and Critical Whiteness. European Meta-Images in Hans Paasche’s Lukanga Mukara (1912/13) and Hermann Hesse’s The European (1918) will appear in October in CompLit: Journal of European Literature, Arts and Society.
  • a research project on Black Europe. She gave papers on the neomodern slave narratives On Black Sisters’ Street by Chika Unigwe and Joy, a feature film by Sudabeh Mortezai, and is particularly interested in fiction about contemporary modes of human trafficking and slavery (esp. sex trafficking), which has remained a marginal subcategory of migration literature. She is currently collaborating with Gianna Zocco (ZfL Berlin) on a special issue of CompLit: Journal of European Literature, Arts and Society on “Sketches of Black Europe. Imagining Europe/ans in African and African Diasporic Narratives” (to be published in October 2023).
  • A special interest that is not directly linked to an ongoing project is Wikipedia (esp. in connection with the gender gap/bias and with literary studies). She published on Wikipedia, gave workshops, and taught some seminars in which students worked on biographies of women/non-binary people or Wikipedia articles on literary texts.

Heike and Sandra about setting frames: “How far back in time do you go and do you need a different framing for contemporary works?”


Angela Kölling is professor for Anglophone Studies at the Faculty of Translation Studies, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz/Germersheim (FTSK). Her research and teaching focuses on Oceania and New Zealand, and Translation as catalysts for societal transformation. Past projects include: creative non-fiction as littérature engage (Literature on the Loose 2012), New Zealand literature as WorldLit (“NZ@Frankfurt”), Visibility and translation (Imaginations 2020). Most recently, she embarked on a comparative investigation of narratives describing "(women) living in the woods" (for example, Delia Owen's Where the Crawdads Sing, William Nicholson’s Nell and their adaptation into film). She also investigates how western conceptualisations of the culture industry and globalised market might hinder “Indigeneity” (is the retelling of Samoan Myths into Swedish a continued marginalisation?). Also, zooming in on teaching, she aims to contribute to the critical discourse about inclusion, diversity and gender by revealing how Pacific Island concepts of gender might supplement current educational approaches in Germany.


Heike Mißler is a senior lecturer in the English Department at Saarland University. Her research and teaching interests encompass gender and queer theory, feminist theory, critical race studies, critical whiteness studies, British cultural studies, contemporary British novels, popular romance studies, chick lit, popular culture studies, TV and film Studies, and posthumanism. She is currently involved in the following projects:

  • a research and community project on local antiabortion and anti-gender protests and their connections to the right-wing scene in Saarland, organised by pro familia Saarbrücken and funded by the federal programme “Live Democracy!”. She presented the results of her research at the 11th European Feminist Research Conference in Milan in June 2022.
  • a research project on posthumanism in literature. She gave a paper on Samanta Schweblin’s Little Eyes at the conference “Posthuman Encounters: Desires, Fears, and the Uncanny” in Saarbrücken in May 2022.
  • A research project on transnational feminism in chick lit. She gave a paper on “Transnational Feminism in the Chick-Lit Genre: Ayisha Malik’s Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged (2015) and Candice Carty Williams’s Queenie (2019)” at the Border Renaissance conference organised by the UniGR-Center for Border Studies in Saarbrücken in February 2022.
  • A book project on the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on television and film (Watching Covid: The Pandemic on Screen), which she is co-editing with two colleagues.

"What is the relationship between your work about women’s popular fiction and medical research and the medical humanities?"

"How does postfeminism connect with posthumanism (as opposed to medical humanities) for you? Does posthumanism influence your work in any way?"



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