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Fabian Eggers

PhD Candidate

Lansstraße 5-9
14195 Berlin

Research Interests

  • Anglophone Literature during and after “the postmodern experiment”
  • Immaterial dimensions of the contemporary condition: ‘Emotional’ / ‘Cognitive’ / ‘Affective’ Capitalism
  • History of rationalization
  • Affect Studies & History of Emotions
  • Critical Theory
  • Psychoanalysis & Marxist Theory

Relevant Academic Experience

04/2019 chair and speaker at the conference “Posthuman Economies: Literary and Cultural Imaginations of the Postindustrial Human” at the University of Basel. Presentation on “The Emotional Economy underlying David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King.”


Spring Academy” of the Center for American Studies at Heidelberg University
04/2018 Spring School” at the Collaborative Research Center „Affective Societies“ at FU Berlin. Theme: „The Power of Immersion: Performance, Affect, Politics.“


10/2018 - 2022 PhD Student at Graduate School of North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin
10/2014 - 11/2017

Freie Universität Berlin, John-F.-Kennedy-Institute, Master of Arts in North American Studies (Literature and Culture).

Thesis on David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King and its links to Eva Illouz’s concept of “Emotional Capitalism”.

08/2015 - 05/2016 Indiana University (Bloomington), Direct Exchange/DAAD
10/2010 - 10/2014 Freie Universität Berlin

Bachelor of Arts in German and English Philology as well as North American Studies (Literature and History)

Thesis on the discourse surrounding the “neuro-novel” and a German–language equivalent in Thomas Melle’s Sickster.

09/2012 - 01/2013 Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

ERASMUS Exchange

Winter 2020/21

Lecturer, Bachelor Course: Aesthetics of Intimacy in Recent American Fiction, Literature, John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin

The Aesthetics of Intimacy in Contemporary American Literature (Dissertationprojekt)

Dissertation in Literatur

Mentoring Team:
First supervisor: Prof. Dr. James Dorson
Second supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ulla Haselstein
Third supervisor: Prof. Dr. Sabine Schültin

My dissertation project focuses on a recent shift in American literature: Signified through an increased focus on (and trust in) inter-subjective communication, numerous literary texts by authors such as Jennifer Egan, Tao Lin, and David Foster Wallace engage with questions of subjecthood, interiority and (un)reliable communication. This regained interest in language’s connecting abilities, revealed in what I propose to call their texts’ “aesthetics of intimacy”, stands in clear contrast to the playful and ironic challenge of human subjectivity—and, indeed, of language’s representational capacity in general—in canonical works of postmodern literature. Furthermore, I argue, it resonates with today’s shifting communicative standards in private and professional contexts.

Scholars propose various labels to categorize these texts and debate whether they should be thought of in terms of, for example, posthumanism or a contemporary form of ‘revised’ humanism. Conversely, I suggest extending this discussion through a reading that highlights the texts’ embeddedness in the social, cultural and political forces of contemporary capitalism. Given the links between the communicative emphasis of the concerned texts and the demands of emotional self-management in a period shaped by neoliberal paradigms of perpetual self-rationalization, I argue that sincerity and similar affective constellations performed in and by these texts should not be accepted as ahistorical sentiments. Instead, I analyze them as forms of “emotional labor” (Hochschild) against the backdrop of the interdisciplinary turn to affect (e.g. Berlant, Ngai), reader-response criticism (Iser’s Rezeptionsästhetik respectively), the genealogy of emotional norms and practices (Stearns), and sociological insights into today’s processes of (affective) subjectification (Sennett, Illouz).


2018 Book Review: “Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South, by Talitha L. LeFlouria.” The Black Scholar, vol. 48, no. 2, 2018, pp. 69-72.
2017 Book Review: “A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life, by Allyson Hobbs.” The Black Scholar, vol. 47, no. 2, 2017, pp. 73-76.