Prof. Dr. Florian Sedlmeier


Assistant Professor

Lansstr. 7-9
Room Raum 303c
14195 Berlin

Office hours

Wednesday 4:00 - 5:00 pm



Curriculum Vitae

September 2015-January 2016
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of English, Brandeis University

Since April 2015
Assistant Professor of North American Literature, JFKI

March 2015
successful evaluation

April 2012-March 2015
Assistant Professor of North American Literature, JFKI

Postdoc, Department of English and American Studies, Paris-Lodron-Universität Salzburg

Dr. phil. in American Culture and Literature, Paris-Lodron-Universität Salzburg.
Title of Dissertation: Rereading Literary Form: Transpositions, Paratexts, and Postethnic Literature around 2000 (Advisory Board: Prof. Dr. Ralph J. Poole, Prof. Dr. Peter Schneck, Prof. Dr. Gabriele M. Schwab)

Doctoral Assistant, Department of English and American Studies, Paris-Lodron-Universität Salzburg (Chair: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ralph J. Poole)

Research Associate, Department of Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine, USA (Advisor: Prof. Dr. Gabriele M. Schwab)

Doctoral Fellow at the DFG-Graduiertenkolleg "Die Figur des Dritten," Universität Konstanz

Magister Artium in American Studies, German Studies, and Sociology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München


Fellowships and Awards

June 2014
Conference Grant, German Research Foundation (DFG), for the conference “Forms and Practices of Narrating”, John F. Kennedy Institute, FU Berlin, June 5-7, 2014. (with Laura Bieger)

Annual Fulbright Prize for the best dissertation in American Studies in Austria

September 2010
Federal Assistance Award, Embassy of the United States of America in Vienna, participation at the SSASAA Conference "To Honor Emory Elliott: American Literary History in a New Key," Salzburg Global Seminar

June-July 2009
Research Grant, Faculty of Cultural and Social Sciences, Universität Salzburg, participation at the 33rd Session of the School of Criticism and Theory, Cornell University (funded by the Faculty of Cultural and Social Sciences, Universität Salzburg)

April 2006-August 2008
Dissertation Fellowship, German Research Association (DFG), Graduiertenkolleg "Die Figur des Dritten," Universität Konstanz.

March-April 2006
Library Grant, John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Free University Berlin

 Teaching summer term 2016

    • 32200 Seminar (BA)
      Introduction to Literary Studies II
      Do 10:00-12:00
      203 Seminarraum (Lansstr. 7 / 9)
    • 32216 MA Colloquium Literature/Culture
      Fr 12:00-14:00
      203 Seminarraum (Lansstr. 7 / 9)
    • 32217 Enlightenment Trajectories: Continuities and Ruptures (MA, with Christian Lammert)
      Do 18:00-20:00
      319 Seminarraum (Lansstr. 7 / 9)

Theses under supervision


Engwer, Sabine. Writing the African American Nation: Notions of Folk, Volk, and Nation in the Literature of the Nadir.

M.A. Theses (completed)

Ciufoletti, Teresa: The Authorial Persona and the Ethics of Listening in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five.

Gabriel, Florian: Barbary Captivity, Abolitionism and the Public Sphere in the Early Republic.

Muth, Xenia: The Short Story Cycle in North American Literature: The New Genre and Its Narrative Structures of Identity in Margaret Atwood’s Moral Disorder.

Nötling, Florian: Decoloniality and Arab American Literature: Epistemic Disobedience on Mohja Kahf's The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf.

Sharma, Anke: Intertextuality in David Foster Wallace’s “Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way” and John Barth’s “Lost in the Funhouse.”

Soxberger, Josef Michael: “Why does the perfect rational, in its own time, often sound like mumbo-jumbo?” Tracing Ishmael Reed’s Agenda in Flight to Canada.

Current Research Project

The Conditions of the Field Imagination: Realism and William Dean Howells

Against the backdrop of a renewed interest in the institutional conditions of contemporary literature, my book project positions the closing decades of the nineteenth century as the moment when the nexus between literature and institution first surfaces as a concern in the U.S. I identify the emergence of a field imagination and I argue that it centers on the shifting signifier “realism” and the signature “William Dean Howells.” Reading three formats of criticism (interview, editorial, review), the first part of the project explores the conditions of this field imagination, as it constitutes itself from within an accelerated and diversified industrial print capitalism that necessitates its imagination in the first place. Looking at three literary genres (novel, one-act play as farce, novella), the second part examines the consequences of reading for a field imagination; it redefines the poetics of Howells’s realism as a self-archiving one, which manifests itself in the iteration of characters across the confines of individual works. While the first part offers an analysis of the sociology of literature, or the social and institutional dimensions of literary production, the second part probes the conditions of a literary sociology, or the literary dimension of the social.

See here for a more detailed description.


The Postethnic Literary: Reading Paratexts and Transpositions around 2000, Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, 2014.

With Clemens Peck. Kriminalliteratur und Wissensgeschichte.  Bielefeld: transcript, 2015.

With Eric Erbacher and Nicole Maruo-Schröder. Rereading the Machine in the Garden: Nature and Technology in American Culture. Frankfurt and New York: Campus. 2014.

With Ralph Poole and Susanne Wegener. Hard Bodies. Berlin et al.: LIT, 2011.


Articles and Chapters

“Ralph Ellison, Literary History, and the Picaresque.” In: Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman (Hg.), African American Literature in Transition: The 1950s. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. (commissioned)

 “On the Conditions of the Field Imagination: Realism and William Dean Howells.” In: Frank Kelleter und Alexander Starre (Hg.), Projecting American Studies: Essays on Theory, Method, and Practice. Heidelberg: Winter, 2016/17. (accepted)

 “Kunst als allegorische Geheimsprache und die Poetik der seriellen Sequenz in Don DeLillos Falling Man.” In: Uta Degner und Martina Wörgötter (Hg.), Literarische Geheim- und Privatsprachen. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2016. (in print)

“Die Allegorie in der postkolonialen Literatur und Literaturtheorie.” In: Ulla Haselstein (Hg.). Allegorie. DFG Symposion 2014. Berlin und Boston: de Gruyter, 2016. 528-556. 

“Eindeutigkeit und Ähnlichkeit, Bruch und Kontinuität: Mark Twains Pudd’nhead Wilson.“ In: Clemens Peck und Florian Sedlmeier (Hg.). Kriminalliteratur und Wissensgeschichte: Genres – Medien – Techniken. Bielefeld: transcript, 2015. 79-112.

“Einleitung: Kriminalliteratur und Wissensgeschichte.“ (mit Clemens Peck) In: Clemens Peck und Florian Sedlmeier (Hg.). Kriminalliteratur und Wissensgeschichte: Genres – Medien – Techniken. Bielefeld: transcript, 2015. 7-27.

"Zu den Bedingungen einer Poetik des Vorläufigen: Theatralität und Absorption, Bedeutung und Praesenz in Gertrude Steins 'Plays'." Zur Ästhetik des Vorläufigen. Skizze – Entwurf – Probe. Hg. Thomas Hochradner. Heidelberg: Winter, 2014. 131-149.

"Introduction: Rereading The Machine in the Garden" (mit Eric Erbacher und Nicole Maruo-Schröder). In: Eric Erbacher, Nicole Maruo-Schröder und Florian Sedlmeier (Hg.). Rereading the Machine in the Garden: Nature and Technology in American Culture. Frankfurt/M. und New York: Campus, 2014. 7-41.

"Against Totality: Reading for Intermedial Constellations." Journal of Literary Theory 7.1-2 (2013): 64-85.

"The Cool Touch of Things: Libertarian Economics, Complex Simplicity, and the Emergence of the Tactile Erotic." Is It Cause It's Cool? Affective Encounters with American Culture. Ed. Astrid M. Fellner, Susanne Hamscha, Klaus Heissenberger, Jennifer Moos. Wien: LIT Verlag, 2013. 273-293.

"Cover und Transparenz: Die US-Fernsehserie Glee." Coverstrategien in der Popularmusik nach 1960. Hg. Joachim Brügge. Freiburg i. Br.: Rombach, 2013. 229-243.

"Problems of Historicizing and Practices of Reading: Ralph Ellison's Three Days Before the Shooting..." Revisiting the Sixties. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on America's Longest Decade. Ed. Laura Bieger and Christian Lammert. Frankfurt/M. and New York: Campus, 2013. 217-236.

"(Re-)Staging Venice: William Dean Howells's Intermedial Flânerie." PhiN: Philologie im Netz Supplement 5 (2012): 101-127.

"Rereading Literary Form: Paratexts, Transpositions, and Postethnic Literature around 2000." Journal of Literary Theory 6.1 (2012): 213-233.

"Hollywood Hard Bodies: The Cinema of Kathryn Bigelow and the Alliance of Neoconservatism and Neoliberalism." Hard Bodies. Ed. Ralph Poole, Florian Sedlmeier, Susanne Wegener. Berlin et al.: LIT, 2011. 139-173. (with Susanne Wegener)

"Hybridität und Dritter Raum im Kontext von Inter-Disziplinarität und postkolonialer Theoriebildung." PhiN: Philologie im Netz 55 (2011): 40-51.