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The English Literature section at Potsdam University covers a wide chronological and topical range in both teaching and research. Courses offered range from the Renaissance to the present, from major canonical works to popular culture. A leitmotif is the focus on the social life of ‘the literary’, that is, on the particular ways in which literature contributes to the articulation, consolidation and/or destabilisation of social meaning. This includes special attention to the emergence, institutionalisation and modification of literary forms, genres and modes of writing as well as a heightened awareness of the interaction and competition between literature and other fields of medial production.
The literature of the British Isles requires to be addressed in its transnational and transcultural dimension: Despite its traditional self-identification as national, British literature from the Early Modern period onwards develops as a complex interplay of multiple impulses and resources from all over the colonial and postcolonial space of Empire.