PD Dr. Dorothee Birke

From October 2018: Guest professor at the English Department, University of Innsbruck

Contact Details




Institut für Anglistik

Universität Innsbruck

Innrain 52d

6020 Innsbruck - Austria


Academic Education

Study of English and German Literature at the University of Freiburg and Trinity College, Dublin. PhD in English literature at the University of Giessen in 2008. Habilitation and venia legendi (“English Philology”) at Freiburg University, 2014.


Positions Held

  • Guest Professor at the English Department, Innsbruck University (from Oct 2018)
  • Fellow/Associate professor at the Aarhus Institute for Advanced Studies (Oct 2015-Sept 2018)
  • Visiting Professor at the English Department, Freiburg University (Oct 2014-Sept 2015)
  • Visiting Professor at the English Department, Giessen University  (April 2014-Sept 2014)
  • Fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (April 2008-March 2014)
  • Manager, International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Giessen University (Oct 2005-Oct 2007)
  • Assistant professor, English Department, Giessen University (Feb 2003-Sept 2006)


Awards, Grants and Fellowships

  • Helene Richter Prize awarded by the German Association for the Study of English (2015, for the book Writing the Reader)
  • Marie Curie COFUND fellowship, Aarhus Institute for Advanced Studies (2015-2018)
  • Research fellowship Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (2008-2014)
  • James Phelan Award for the best article in Narrative 2013 (for "Paratext in Digitized Narrative: Mapping the Field", written jointly with Birte Christ)
  • Grant for "Training Pogramme for University Didactics" from the "Development Fund for the Improvement of Academic Teaching" at the University of Giessen, together with Stella Butter and Monika Sproll (2005 and 2006; total sum: 38.000€)
  • Scholarship DAAD-"Anglistenprogramm" ("Programme for British Studies") for a year at Trinity College Dublin


Research Interests

  • History of the Novel (especially 18th century and 20/21st century)
  • Reading and Book Culture
  • Literature in the Digital Age
  • Narrative Theory
  • Reception Studies
  • Memory Studie
  • Political Drama





Writing the Reader: Constructions of a Cultural Practice in the English Novel, Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter 2016. (peer-reviewed)

Author and Narrator: Transdisciplinary Contributions to a Narratological Debate, ed. with Tilmann Köppe, Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter 2016. (peer-reviewed)

Paratext and Digitized Narrative (cluster of essays, ed. with Birte Christ), Narrative 2013.21.1. (peer-reviewed)

Realisms in Contemporary Culture, ed. with Stella Butter, Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter 2013.

Counterfactual Thinking - Counterfactual Writing, ed. with Michael Butter and Tilmann Köppe, Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter 2011. (peer-reviewed)

Memory’s Fragile Power: Crises of Memory, Identity and Narrative in Contemporary British Novels, Trier: WVT 2008.


Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

"The World is Not Enough: Lists as Encounters with the ‘Real’ in the Eighteenth-Century Novel", Style 2016.50.3, 296-308.

"Challenging the Divide? Stephen King and the Problem of 'Popular Culture'". The Journal of Popular Culture, 2014.3.47, 520-536. (peer-reviewed)

"Paratext and Digitized Narrative: Mapping the Field". Narrative 2013.21.1, 65-87 (with Birte Christ, peer-reviewed)

"Direction and Diversion: Chapter Titles in Three Mid-Century English Novels by Sarah Fielding, Henry Fielding, and Charlotte Lennox". Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 2012.41, 211-232. (peer-reviewed)


Articles and Chapters in Collections

"Economies of Space: The Value of Home in Contemporary British Theatre". In Anne-Julia Zwierlein et al.(Hgg.), Proceedings Anglistentag 2017, Trier: WVT, 2018. 159-167.

"Multimodal You: Playing with Direct Address in Contemporary Narrative Television". In Jan Alber, Greta Olson (eds.): How to Do Things with Narrative: Cognitive and Diachronic Perspectives, Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter, 2018, 141-155 (with Robyn Warhol, peer-reviewed).

"Fictions of Personal Memory: The Precarious Character of Remembering and Identity in Kazuo Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans (2000), Penelope Lively’s The Photograph (2003) and Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending (2011)". In Vera Nünning, Ansgar Nünning (eds.): The English Novel in the 21st Century: Cultural Concerns – Literary Developments – Model Interpretations, Trier: WVT, 2018, 201-216.

"The 'Underclass' Talks Back: Poverty and Homelessness in Nadia Fall’s Home". In Kerstin Frank, Caroline Lusin (eds.), Finance, Terror, and Science on Stage: Current Public Concerns in 21st-Century British Drama, Tübingen: Narr, 2017, 125-141.

"Authorial Narration Reconsidered: Betsy Thoughtless, Charlotte Summers and the Problem of Authority in the Mid-Eighteenth-Century Novel". In Aino Mäkikalli, Liisa Steinby (eds.), Narrative Concepts in the Study of Eighteenth-Century Literature, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press 2017, 161-176. (peer-reviewed)

"Un/Making Homes in Anglophone Cultures". In Christoph Ehland, Ilka Mindt, Merle Tönnies (eds.): Proceedings des Deutschen Anglistentages 2015, Trier: WVT, 2016, 31-36 (with Stella Butter).

"Doris Lessing's Alfred and Emily and the Ethics of Narrated Memory". In Hermann Blume, Christoph Leitgeb, Michael Rössner (eds.): Narrated Communities, Narrated Realities: Narrative as Cognitive Processing and Cultural Practice. Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi 2015, 141-151.

"The Politics of 'Realism': Analyzing Discourses on Contemporary Literature and TV". In Monika Fludernik/Benjamin Kohlmann (eds.), Proceedings des Deutschen Anglistentages 2011, Trier: WVT 2012, 385-396. (with Stella Butter)



Imaginative Geographies of Home: Ambivalent Mobility in 21st Century Literature and Culture, hg. mit Stella Butter, special issue Literary Geographies (in preparation)

"(Play)Houses of Horror: Addressing the Anxieties of the Housing Crisis", Journal of Contemporary Drama in English (under review)

"@booklove: How Reading Culture is Adapted on the Internet." Komparatistik Online. (with Johannes Fehrle, forthcoming)

"Der Leser als Adressat". In Alexander Honold, Rolf Parr (eds.): Handbuch Lesen, Grundthemen der Literaturwissenschaft, Band 4, Berlin/New York: de Gruyter (forthcoming).

"Is Fictionality in the Eye of the Beholder?" In Monika Fludernik, Marie-Laure Ryan (eds.): Handbook Narrative Factuality, Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter (forthcoming).

"Doris Lessing." In Claudia Olk, Susanne Zepp (Hgg.): Nobelpreisträgerinnen. 14 Schriftstellerinnen im Porträt. Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter (forthcoming)


Teaching Experience

I have taught a broad range of courses in English literary and cultural studies, including BA and MA seminars as well as lectures. (For a list of course titles, please see the full CV).

A CV with a full publication list can be downloaded here.


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